I was taught that Indian paintings should look Indian. But I battle with ideas, challenging the self which rushes out on to the canvas, to integrate into a sympathetic form." In today's day and age, a career in art has to be as well planned as any other. There are numerous courses offered for an art degree in various institutions. Avers R. B. Bhaskaran, principal of the College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai, "An art student is trained to meet the challenges of society as in any other career. Never has art been so marketable as it is now. Perhaps for the first time, the growing interest of the middle class in 'collectable art' is being matched by the affordability of art pieces. This is surely going to give a fillip to the art market." The man who mouths these words should know the veracity of his statements. After all, Bhaskaran is an established painter.The similarity between Bhaskaran and his paintings hits you in the face at once. Both are rugged, pleasantly rakish and unusually dynamic. In their deep browns and grey-blacks, there is a tribal character to the paintings of Bhaskaran. In the way the faces and other elements are delineated, there is a certain directness. "My paintings will remind you of the elaborate facial makeup done by some African tribes. They are placed in deep shadow with light from a distant source striking one side of the face. They are sensitive and appear rather contemplative," he says. Bhaskaran has also trained in the art of painting frescos at the Bhanasthali Vidyapeeth in Rajasthan. "That is why you find so much of tribal icons and motifs in my work. Tribal art is not only steeped in an ancient culture and civilization, but is also very close to nature. And nature inspires most artists," says Bhaskaran. R B Bhaskaran lives and works out of Chennai.