For young Advait, his fanciful world of galaxies, dragons and everything vivid is very much real. He channelizes this fantastic imagination through the canvas in colours and combinations that are well beyond his years. The word “prodigal” fits his passion in true sense, which flourishes by the day with utmost sincerity.

Advait lives with his parents, software engineer Amit Kolarkar and commercial artist Shruti Kolarkar, and his elder sister Swara in the suburbs of Pune, India. The walls of their house bear Advait’s creative flair that comes out in promising shapes. His fascination with art began when he was merely three months old. He would keenly gaze at black objects—wardrobes and curtains — an observation that soon turned into demand. His first few paintings are poems in motion of black strokes. Consequently, he took a fascination to art and would spend hours with his sister as she drew on papers.

In one particular instance, when he was eight-months-old, his mother gave him food colours to play. Since he was in a phase where he would want to ingest every object, Shruti thought that food colours are a safer bet. And her idea worked, for what he created on the floor from kitchen colours seemed like an effective mould; as if his imagination was coming down in verses.

Soon, his penchant for playing with colours took serious proportions. When observant Advait started talking, forming sentences, colours made for an important section of his vocabulary. The amazing two-year-old could tell them apart from the shade. He points out the difference between Naples Yellow and Cadmium Yellow. For instance, he understands how Burnt Sienna is different from Raw Sienna. Also, seasons seepedinto his colouring sense; the universal need for warmth in winters was put on canvas through ebullient orange and sprightly yellows and the need for breeze in summers was reflected in cooler colours.

As days ticked by, his paintings gathered a momentum. There was now noticeable rhythm that was characterized by specific demands for colours and subsequently developed a taste for metallic ones. When he could mediate his thoughts in words, he expressed before brushing the paper. And so, there were dragons, galaxies, birds, flowers, sea creatures, dinosaurs and so on etched on to larger canvases. What remained unaffected was his sincerity to the art. He still does not get up before he is satisfied with the shape the painting has taken. It can take him two hours or even just 10 minutes to finish his art, which is never let unfinished. He knows where to draw the line. When the colours have taken generous shapes corresponding to his imagination, Advait stops content and happy.

Advait’s hobby caught people’s fancy when Shruti casually showed his pieces to the Art2Day gallery, a popular gallery in Pune. The curator wanted to have a glance at not just the work, but the whole process. His son, who visited Advait marvelled at the wonder and said he would observe the child for half a year, to see if his penchant for art continues. It did.

The talented boy developed etiquette. Moreover, his style evolved. He started placing objects on the canvas and painted around them. The passion for colours evolved too. By spreading the colour on his body first before pouring it on the canvas, he gauges the tone and texture and then begins organizing them. His vivid use of colours — the bold splatter and dreamy framework — is a form of action painting or what could be called as gestural abstraction. Mostly, they are a reflection of his actions, his keen streak of arranging and shaping things affects the way he spreads the colours on canvas. Advait can take random blocks and arrange them to match the pace of his thoughts. In all its abstraction, his penchant for organizing things flows on to the canvas. So, at times, he can make a bird and let colours merge into a shape or can make an object by trying to put things in a symmetry. He has a vivid perspective that is slowly taking a form — a clash of geometry and free-flowing ideas.

Advait’s first exhibition received overwhelming acclaim. It was inaugurated by Ravi Pandit, the co-founder and chairman of KPIT Technologies, who has the young lad’s three paintings in his collection. Soon, there were other fans who admired his collection. A collector, who saw the youngster’s generous creative perspective, came all the way to Kolarkar’s Pune home to collect a painting. She wanted to see Advait’s creative workspace — his work station, inventory — that gave her an exciting peek into his imagination.

Several other artists heaped praises at the young artwork, with most of it deeming it to be a natural departure from traditionalism that is imbued with originality. Its kaleidoscopic nature where one sees imagination collide with reality was termed as a “phantasmagoria” of paints — an effective use of colours that would have been risky otherwise.

The press wouldn’t stop gushing about his wildly imaginative art either. Pune Mirror called him a “wonder kid”, whose first stroke at exhibition enchanted one and all. The Times of India said that the “prodigy lives and loves colours”. AspirerS magazine filmed his first event in great detail.

One wonders what the source is of the young gun’s intense fantasy world that drips into colours on paper. With a penchant for reading books and instinctively memorizing its contents, Advait can tell dinosaurs apart, be it Ceratopsians or the ones that lived in sea. Astronomy is another hobby he has indulged in. At a young age, he knows what the universe basically looks like — moons, nebulas, comets and planets — cloud his imagination and source his artistic energies. Reading has got him far and has developed an inherent sense of recognition. He can identify different musical instruments, along with his dinosaurs and even insects (be it the miniscule difference between hercules and rhinoceros beetle). These facets are a part of his creative process and are piecing an abstract picture that the child’s mind can process as a whole.

With raging success at the tender age, one could say that Advait’s journey has just begun. What remains to be seen is how this prodigal art flourishes in the time to come.

Fresh Strokes