Artist Glen Roopchand got personal about his life’s work and explored the influences behind his paintings, during his art talk and exhibition of his old and new work, at On Location art gallery in Woodbrook recently. Guests were enlightened about the artist’s spirituality, which he said has guided him throughout his career. Roopchand also talked about the “vibration”, which has been the dominant force behind his paintings over the years.
“I am one of those artists who understand the creative process. I would leave home at 8 a.m. in the morning and go to the studio and not return until 4 a.m. the following day. This is the sacrifice I have been making. But there are times when an artist questions himself and asks if he is doing enough. I always asked if I was doing enough,” Roopchand said.
The artist expressed his spiritual connection to one of his pieces titled “From Vibration to Mythology”. “I remember visiting the Roman Catholic Church at Mt St Benedict with my father when I was about five years of age and hearing the sounds and vibrations I felt when I entered that church. Since then I have been searching for some meaning of that vibration. ‘From Vibration to Mythology’ was inspired by that very experience and also by David Rudder’s music,” Roopchand said.
He continued, “I have always had the inclination to focus on things that seem strange to me and I have always been attracted to certain colours and rhythmic tones. Because of this I came up with the assumption that life is based on principles and a rhythm which tells us that we are fragments of a cosmic energy and this is the reason why you see certain textures in my work. I paint with the assumption that I am creating an illusion of life itself and life as form and matter. The thing is that along the way I understood scientific concepts like string theory and dark energy and quantum physics and when I probe a little more I realise that all these things influenced my creative process; there is the assumption that art is festive but it is also spiritual. In my work I hope people find that sense of spirituality,” Roopchand said.
He encouraged young artists to find inspiration. He has lived in the US for many years but frequently returns to Trinidad. He said there are no foreign influences in his work. “When I left Trinidad to study in America I was culture-shocked because I left a situation where I worked around a Caribbean culture but when I got to America I found myself searching for some direction and inspiration,” he said.
Roopchand went on, “I wanted to know more about artists who struggled and succeeded in what they wanted to do. It’s not like I made a comprehensive decision to look at his work and paint from it; it inspires me to the extent that sometimes it comes back in my work. Don’t be afraid to find inspiration in the works of other artists,” he said. Artists Andy Jacobs, Carlisle Chang, Pat Chu Foon, Pat Bishop, Ken Crichlow are among Roopchand’s greatest inspirations.
Roopchand also has plans to create a mural of the piece “From Vibration to Mythology” which he plans on gifting to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. The mural will be an extremely large one, approximately 16ft x 15ft, according to Roopchand. “I will continue to pursue exercises like these. I am trying my best to get the assistance I need. My intention is to continue the pursuit of developing myself and my country. Artists are needed in society; as long as I continue to create work the work will take care of itself,” he said. Roopchand’s exhibition of 45 pieces which consist of his old and new works will continue to be on show at On Location Art Gallery, 42 De Verteuil Street, Woodbrook.
Glenn Roopchand has his studio in Montclair, New Jersey. He holds a BFA from Montclair State University. He has exhibited at Rutgers University, the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission in New York, the Landor Gallery in Newark and several other places. Growing up from humble beginnings in Santa Cruz, Roopchand was influenced by Carlisle Chang with whom he worked. He found his way to the muse of art.
Roopchand continues to work diligently exploring and creating artwork from a variety of materials, paint and found objects on a range of textured surfaces. He seeks to create a harmony of form and colour to make representation of his Caribbean heritage. He believes that all living things are of the incarnate feminine principle called nature, which he tries to evoke with pride, dignity and spirituality.