With my South Indian roots when I think of 'Sculptures' very first thought that comes to my mind are the amazing granite stone sculptures of Mahabalipuram, near Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Pallava kings ruled Mahabalipuram (also called Mamallapuram), the capital of Pallava dynasty from 3rd century to 9th century CE. Pallav style of Shilp Shatra (Art and Science of Sculpture making), which prevailed during Pallav dynasty and came to life in Mahabalipuram during Pallava king Narasimhavarman I in the 7th century AD. My love towards Pallav style stone sculptures is what helped me discover the existence of this brand almost 7 years ago and since the time I have known it, this continued to be one of my favorites.
At RangKatha my motto is to share inspirations of various forms. In my very first effort to showcase a brand I have picked this brand which is very close to my heart because of how its continuing to nurture ART, ART forms and ARTISANS in its own pious ways.
This is a story of not just this brand but is also a story of its creator, a self made entrepreneur who is nurturing this brand with his immense passion and love for this amazing art form.
So presenting to you story of Lotus Sculpture and the mind & soul behind it - Kyle Tortora.
Kyle is not just the master mind behind Lotus Sculpture but is a living force who has driven it to where it is today. Lotus sculpture based in USA, travels around the world gathering different types of Hindu and Buddhist statues from artists in India, Thailand , Bangladesh , Bali and Kambodia. Mostly these are stone, wood, brass and bronze statues.
When I contacted Kyle little hesitantly(because RangKatha is fairly new) asking permission to cover this story, he was not only kind enough to allow me to do so but also provided willing perspectives on all my questions related to birth of Lotus Sculpture.
From Bali and Kambodia lava stone statues of Lord Ganesh and Buddha, Bronze Hindu statues from Bangladesh, Brass and Stone Buddha from Thailand and Hindu statues made of Granite stone, Marble, Brass, Bronze and Wood are obtained from India. Lotus Sculpture has successfully shown a different market space for these amazing art forms.
When asked about how he feels about working for and towards Lotus Sculpture, Religion major from college says that there is nothing else he wants to do and there is no place else he wanted to be than where he is now with Lotus Sculpture.
Lord Nataraja's Statue (Carved in wood). Who would not want this amazing piece of art in their classical dance studio.
Lotus Sculpture is almost single man army, who find artists, travels to meet artists, hand picks each and every statue and markets them.
These artists have become his family and so is Kyle part of their family to these artisans.
Kyle says - "Sometimes I feel like I have a double life. I have my life in the USA consisting of my family and friends. Then I have my life in Asia filled with a different group of family and friends. Most of the artists I work with are similar in age to me and thus I have grown as they have grown. As each has married and had children I have been there to see them as babies and watch them grow up. This connection to my artists and their families only grows with each trip I take. I am so thankful for having these special relationships half way around the world. They are my 2nd family and I wouldn’t have it any other way."
Bronze Statues are made using "Lost Wax Method" Lost wax casting emerged in China, Egypt and Greece, but was significant during the Chola Dynasty, which ruled southern India from the 9th to 13th Century. The Cholas adhered to Hinduism and created massive temples and bronze statues to worship their gods. The techniques of this delicate and time-consuming casting process have been passed down from family artisans for generations. The Indian and Bengali lost-wax artisans of today are direct descendants from the Chola and Pala Empires.
A lost-wax sculpture is appreciated, not only for its beauty, but for the many hours of labor and craftsmanship that is put into each masterpiece. Each statue is distinct and holds a story of creation and history that is unparalleled. As art forms continue to evolve with technology, the “lost wax method” carries on an unrivaled and divine tradition.
Goddess Saraswati not only shows breathtaking beauty of this art form but also the unmatched craftsmanship of these artisans.
Now, do you have any doubt in your minds as to why Lotus Sculpture is close to my heart. It is because of the Model Lotus sculpture has adopted, working directly with these artists - unsung heroes of Shilp Shatra, by eliminating middle men, travelling to their home, working with them in their studios and giving this amazing art form a never before seen, completely new and different market space.
Its a win-win situation for all - As Lotus sculpture is growing with the amount of goodwill it earns in terms of smiles it brings to the faces of happy customers who are able to get these statues of rich heritage, unmatched history and culture into their homes but also smiles to these little know rural artisans. They get the credit they deserve in the form of accolade and monetary recognition and artists who barely were able to have their ends meet - now have better lives with their own studios, craftsmen working for them, able to afford new homes, their kids going to better schools.
In our busy self centered lives, how many time do we take a break , look back and see if we have made someone smile, how many times you know for sure that someone will remember us for making their days brighter. I bet Kyle does...making someone smile... making someone's day brighter.. not just to us with his brand, but also to those rural artisans whose labor and art we adorn in our houses and gardens, cherish, embrace and enjoy and not just that, in this whole process Lotus Sculpture is keeping precious heritage of art and science of sculpture making alive by giving this art form an global market.
The brand value and goodwill Lotus sculpture is earning as a result of these smiles is absolutely PRICELESS!
By now, You all are probably interested to knowing more about the man behind this brand , see what inspired Kyle to start Lotus sculpture and what drives him forward everyday. In our part II of this feature, RangKatha comes BACK, with Kyle's exclusive interview, his HOME TOUR!!!! and corners of homes of happy customers whose houses and gardens are basking with these beautiful art pieces. So do come BACK!!!
Lotus Sculpture is an online gallery, with a showroom, located at 1834 Ord Way in Oceanside, CA.
Lotus Sculpture can also be followed on facebook
Images Credit: Lotus Sculpture
Namaste & GoodBye until I meet you next time..