The Sunshine in August

Art is a language, a means of communication. And what I like about August Kunnapu's paintings is that they talk to me. His painting style is unique. You can spot August's paintings a mile off in the same way you can instantly recognise a work by Henri Rousseau or Amedeo Modigliani or Mathias Kauage or Chaim Soutine. And I think what he also has in common with those artists is that one feels they can trust him.

His subject matter has an honesty about it and a lovely simplicity about it. John Lennon once said he saw his songs as being like postcards. Each song, he said, was his way of telling people how he felt that morning or that afternoon. In a way August's paintings are like his postcards to the world. Some people will say making work about pets or favourite sport stars is simplistic but I think it's good to keep things simple. As a famous detective once observed: "When you get complicated you get sad. And when you get sad, your luck goes".

I was born in England, I've lived in London all my life and I know a great deal of painters, but I don't know anyone like August. I love August's painting of Tadao Ando and I can't think of a single London artist who would make a work like it. Or indeed a series of paintings based on their favourite architects. I seem to remember that the starting point of that project was that the house August grew up in was being knocked down by builders. It's hard to explain but again, August's whole way of thinking is very un-London. I don't think many artist's in London have a knowledge of beauty in the way August does. What I'm saying is of course only an opinion but I believe that a lot of London artists, including some very famous ones, could learn a lot from August.

I recently came across a quote by the American artist Jasper Johns that I agree with completely: "I think that most art which begins to make a statement fails to make a statement because the methods used are too schematic or too artificial. I think what one wants from painting is a sense of life. The final suggestion or statement, has not to be a deliberate statement but a helpless statement. It has to be what you can't avoid saying not what you set out to stay." Maybe this is why, as I wrote in the beginning, that I believe in August. He makes works that need to be made. And like a lot of the best songs, films, books and paintings that we all enjoy, his offerings are an inarticulate speech from the heart.

Harry Pye