Rangaswami Sarangan was born in 1929 in Thanjavur. In 1952, he obtained a Diploma in Fine Arts and Commercial Arts from Madras Art School.
Sarangan started holding solo exhibitions from 1963. Apart from Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Hyderabad, he also organized art exhibitions in Bradford, San Francisco etc.
He received the IFAX Award in 1964 and 1971 and the Academy of Fine Arts Calcutta Award in 1968.
He also participated in the Smithsonian Printmaking Workshop, New Delhi, organized by the United States Information Service. He has also been a member of Society of Painters of South India and Progressive Painters Association Madras.
Sarangan creates various decorative shapes by making holes in the metal sheet and adds colors at various places. Usually birds, peacocks and temples have been his favorite subjects.
He has made full use of the figurative ability of his technique in depicting the symbols of Vaishnav religion like conch, chakra and lotus.
Earlier he used to work on canvas but now he uses aluminum sheet and glass and applies color and marble powder on it.
He has painted Vaishnav Tilak with enough variety. There is a rhythmic use of lines in his figures. Sometimes he also creates beautiful effects like manik-kuttim (mosaic) with colors and colored marble powder. The same method is used in all his paintings.
Sarangan’s paintings appear to be of a simple folk style, but in reality they are modern collage paintings; they allow the religious Vaishnav symbols and figurative intentions to remain embossed on the surface with the colors taken out like a wick from a tube. Some fill the flat surfaces with color and also use lines for demarcation.
He makes his paintings nothing more than figurative panels. His art is important because of the uniqueness of the technique and the use of Vaishnav symbols.