Friday 14 September 2012

Frankly, I have no inspiration from painter community. I do not follow any of them.

United Fair provided a very good opportunity for me to meet and speak to artist from various genres. Moreover, it was a delight to meet artist Raj More, who is a visual story-teller of my own city Mumbai.
Hailing from a small town, Raj is settled here and now became a voice of Mumbai. 

I spoke to him about his works. His confidence, faith and meticulous observation of the city is astonishing astounding. For him it is not only a commercial city with heritage buildings, vast Arabian sea and a city of historical importance; but it is a city which nurtures glamour and glitz along with poverty and dirt; super cool attitude with fast pace of daily life which can be clearly observed on its always energetic streets. He has a unique style of painting the city.  It is not just a ‘cityscape’; capturing the greatness of the city through presence of man- made structures; but it is a personified city with its distinctive traits, represented with people and their environment in this city. Following views of Raj More makes his approach clear and also presents Mumbai’s new dimension to us:

JK: : Hi Raj, There are many painter working on theme of Mumbai city; what appeals you to work on it?
R.M:  I came to Mumbai around 15 years back. I saw many artists painting this city but it seemed all the same, as they painted main places of attraction like Gateway of India, monuments and city roads with varied people trodding on it. It was a physical presentation of Mumbai. I did not want to involve in such art. It is a well known fact that Mumbai has a lot of socio-political drama and it is the commercial city. It was necessary to tell the story of the development of this city; the character that it has imbibed, the people- their struggle and status that adorns the city with riches and rags at the same time; displaying the duality. Maharashtra became independent after 1960 movement. At that time it was basically Kamgaranchi Mumbai (Worker’s Mumbai- the worker were basically employees of Mills which are now locked up forever) who lost their jobs after mills were closed down. The new means of survival, independent identity and self dependence had to be explored, which gradually made it so powerful as to be commercial city. From then onwards folks from all walks of life and other states come here to settle their lives as well. So I reflect their aspirations, dreams and how they survive and it is the core of Mumbai which I paint. I reflect upon the environment in which I live. There are different levels of societies surrounding me,  I develop its character through people and always have a message in every painting. Till now I have had three exhibitions on this concept; first ‘Salam Bombay’ was about people’s struggles and establishments.  Second exhibition was based on logistics named ‘Lifeline 786’. The public transport is an inseparable part of commoners and the rush of transport network. Third exhibition was ‘Metrospection’ which dealt with Bollywood, rehabilitation, Mumbai as a dream city, Dharavi, elite areas and so on.  The intricate and subtle veins of classes and masses and its intertwine, that put life in Mumbai is appealing me. 

JK: Did you ever have apprehension of comparison?
R.M: No, my paintings have never been compared, because they are completely different from others. They are figurative and every painting has a message. They have a language and having expression or language in painting is very important for mute communication between observer and the painting. As I have stated earlier, my paintings are not ‘cityscapes’ but Mumbai’s society- impoverished and elites as well as; you can say they are like two sides of the same coin. 

JK: Agreed, but what about competition? You cannot deny it.
R.M.: I have competition; but with self. I cannot paint if I think of competing with other artists. My contemporaries like Jitesh Kallat, Sudhir Patwardhan and others work on the same theme but I never think of competition with them, I have a warm friendly attitude towards them. I appreciate creation and condemn competition. Competition in Art is based on Art Market. If you deliberate on this point, you will find that after recession of 2008, many promising and upcoming artists stopped working, because they feared getting less or no price for their creation. Famed artists had few rays of hope. But I personally feel that painting is not related to market ups and downs. I feel artist should continue painting. And stop judging the work in comparison with others or the market status; Art should have its own space. So, no completion for me, I just keep on creating. 

JK:  Have you modified your work over the years?
R.M.: There has been considerable difference between the initial stages and now. I did my first show in 1999. It was based on rural setting, important places in native place. Even though I did it, I was not completely satisfied with it because it was just a landscape. I was praised for my landscape works but I was resolute not to work on landscape for longer period. So I stopped and then environment in which I stayed in Mumbai, grabbed my attention and I felt like telling its story and since then started personifying it.  After that exhibition till date I am working on Mumbai theme. I capture the present times and environment around me; it’s the present time and it is important to present breathing or live city. 

JK: Which points do you consider important to develop your concept?
R.M.: For me, painting is like a film. I give a 3-dimensional effect to every image. Composition is also very important and powerful in framing the work; it forms the base of good painting. I learnt this in photography study. It makes my painting accurate. There is a movement – if you see the bull, the crow, local train, rickshaw or truck in  my paintings they appear to be moving.    

JK: What boosts your confidence?
R.M: That, I should like my own painting as a viewer. Involvement in it and development of the concept and completing it as I contemplated is very important for me. If it is done, I feel self confident and I work with more zest and zeal. Also people’s appreciation boosts my confidence. 

J.K.: How is your work process?
R.M.: Intensity to put my ideas makes me go. It is a continuous process. I used acrylic colors which dry instantly, so I have to be quick, perfect in applying strokes and dapples. Acrylic perfectly matches my psyche. When I work, it is a one man army and it is essential for me to complete the painting in one sitting.

J.K.: Have you ever had Vada pav (Indian burger); utterly Mumbai’s snack for public and snack cum food for poor?
R.M: Vada pav and Misal! No soul in Mumbai or just a visitor would miss these tasty, cheap and fulfilling snacks. Vada pav is one of the identities of Mumbai city; the city where no one remains hungry. And the specialty is that it tastes good only when eaten at roadside stalls. Now-a-days posh malls are coming up and they have food joints where Vada is sold in attractive packing at higher rate but it does not match the taste of roadside preparation. This snack adds to the beauty of Mumbai.

JK: Which personalities have inspired you?
R M: Frankly, I have no inspiration from painter community. I do not follow any of them. I have learnt from my own experiences and work. I never felt the need getting inspiration from others. Yes I am impressed by Van Gogh, Picasso, but they are not inspirations for me. IN India Hussain was a role model for me and let me clear it that I admire Hussain for his initiative to popularize Art among the people and also to make Indian Art known on the international platform. He had his energy and truthfulness in his actions.
I am inspired by film makers. I like seriousness and concentration that goes into film making. My favourites include Kurosawa, Guru Dutt, Mani Ratnam and even the upcoming Directors who genuinely make film. I try to give the effect of movement. My paintings are films. I like cinema with message be it any genre, but I don’t like humorous films without any useful content.

JK: Any new film you watched recently?
RM: Recently I watched ‘Stanley ka Dabba’ which is a small budget film, the camera was not high-end camera, and still the effect is good. You would find lot of Bollywood impact on my paintings. 
How many days do you work on one painting?
It takes almost one month for one painting. I start right from visiting the location, observation, research, sometimes capturing the scenes in camera, then I decide upon the composition and lastly take up the tools (I usually work using knife) and start painting with acrylic continuously till it is completed.     
JK: What are your future plans?
I intend to do installations and films.

JK: That Great! Wish you all the best for all your future plans and this show.
R.M: Thank you. 

Raj’s energy level is like Mumbai city’s energy level; non-stop always high. As he was leaving I could see that he was thinking of a mission that was on his schedule list and he was so restless that he did not wait for lift and rushed down the stairs….Raj and Mumbai always on their toes….

 Note : As told to Pankaja JK, Freelancer art writer, Critic some time, mostly she write on blog only, bez we  want save trees...

Monday 10 September 2012

Latest Interview of Tathi Premchand -United Art Fair, Digital works with recent art movement- JK

Art has come a long way from being just a matter of passion and entered a commercial avenue with global exposure. United Art Fair includes established and upcoming talents who paint, sculpt and create installations. There are nearly more than 550 artists selected from all over the world to showcase their work.

Annurag Sharma
, Director of UAF is successful in providing opportunity to discover the value and diversity of art. Annurag Sharma promotes a wonderful interaction between artists and patrons providing superb experience to both, the art-lover and creator.

Tathi Premchand  compete painter, digital artist still on high note in Mumbai art, who work in different mediums other than in typical traditional style of using colors on canvas. It always interests me to watch work in group show rather than individual shows, so even this Fair is going to be a fascinating one. I had the opportunity to visit Tathi Premchand  artist in their studios and see the process of their creation and how the final outcome takes place through their creative process. Following paragraphs are addressed to their works with illumination on them in their own words.

Tathi Premchand on his Digital Art. He is chatty, cheerful and always brimming with eagerness to know and tell about anything novel that he comes across. His enthusiasm to probe and explore innovative techniques can be felt through his talks and his communication via social networking sites. His belief in progressive and innovative art can be seen throughout his journey of growing as a painter. Some of his latest works are the perfect examples of his penchant for technological advancement in field of painting art. He now works on Digital Art. His work seems quiet rebellious and society concerned. His sensitivity towards society makes his work more appreciable and considerate. I guess he finds romanticism in simple joys and sorrows of people. To know more about Tathi’s work I asked him a few questions to which he readily answered with firm determination.

Q: What appealed you to plunge into Digital art?
TP: Basically I am always attracted towards innovation. Technology is a perfect area of introducing new methods of working. Computers and software have advantage over manual work. I choose to go Digital as it gives me the desired effect of sorting and placing the images. Very often I click photographs in the local train. Through one of the graphics software, I develop three more images of the same photograph but in three reverse directions – one just 180 degrees upside down, one 90 degree turn to left and the third one is 180 degree reverse of the last one. Most of my artworks are four dimension extensions of a digital photography. Some viewer feel, it look like Mandala, river image, kaleidoscope, and this art form is very old art in India; you can see these  things in Buddhism  and Hindu temples in form of mural art and God's paintings. My Dhobi Ghat series has similar digital artworks with bright colors omnipresent along with pure white color on clothesline, well arranged and left on strings. The gushing water, slogging washer men, heap of dirty and clean clothes together represent a mini image of a society that we live in.This unusual place of muse speaks volumes about society itself, right from ancient times to modern day. Briefly, washer men for dirty linings…anyone to cleanse the soul? This placid place with bustling activities and philosophical values be with us forever.

Q: What is the subject line of your Digital creation?
TP: I do not define boundaries of subject line. All my traditional style of work in paints and pastels on canvas and the latest Digital art are based on my observation of daily life of people around me. I stay in Mumbai which is a perfect place to find street dwellers as well as mansion owners. I try to portray them in my work exposing the critical part of it and the role it plays in forming the society. For example a street child enjoying showers from the cracked water pipeline or a public laundry at Mahalakshmi or perished textile mills and high rises right in front of these mills, the textile mills which were important earning source of commoners in Mumbai, these and such topics are subjects of my Digital Art.

Q: Your work sensitizes the topic and seems to be a thoughtful process and I personally feel that they would represent the history of our times after a century.
TP: It is fine that you feel so. But I create because I am sensitive towards societal issues. I like to paint social issues and make a critical statement through my work. But it is not always a seriousness that I capture but lighter moments too. With times, lifestyle, infrastructure of the society and more over behavior and outlook have changed, I try to showcase that change- either good or bad or say, two sides of the same coin.

Q Sketchbook or Facebook? Do you use one? What type.
TP: Yes, I use both facebook and Sketchbooknow-a- days I sketch a lot, but all digitally. I am learning to draw on paper similar images in rotated angle.

Q: Why do you vote for blog for displaying you work?

TP: Blogs are advanced medium of communication. Social networking sites give me large exposure to art lovers and art buyers all over the world. Analysis done by people in the form of comments and reviews inspire me. I do not have limitation of displaying my work. I can upload any and every kind of work that I want world to see. I have nearly more than twelve blogs and all my life's creations are online. Day or night any one who love art, be him or her  if from Afghanistan or Chile all are welcome to view them. More then twenty thousand viewers have viewed my blog till date. I am at my leisure without adherence to anyone’s terms and conditions to upload or remove images from my blogs. Gallery is good for exhibition to see live work and interact face to face. But for me, blogging is a good exercise before doing the best show in gallery, so are these social networking sites with their pros and cons, at least at present and the world is changing as one global village- it may tum of good or bad.

Q Do you think there is commercial art and serious art.
No way,if any other then fine artist doing painting in India artist treat like untouchable or criminals, this is stupid art cultural in my country, Tribal Art is pure form art, Tribal painter not inspire by other any artist, but lots Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee you will find India even lots V S Gaitonde in Mumbai,  for me real art is what artist paints, that is art. For me every art is beautiful and meaningful, those artist who think only abstract painting is a serious art, then they should please type name in Google search "Andy Warhol". I want say... In Art there is no development, it always vanishes and new one comes up.

Q Tell me more about up coming show and further plan.
TP: I have my 3 series in limelight for present, they are: Indian Dhobi Ghat, Chip hanger body, India's Koodafication on Moon. These digitals will go to Milan, Cuneo, Dhaka and Aakriti art gallery Kolkata, Future is unpredictable. But surely I will stick to my passion of painting and my visual art. As I like progressive things I might adopt new technology while working on Digital. I like to flow with current to discover new paths and new destinations, I am planning do some work called Public Art near my studio at Bolinj village on Rajawadi sea-side beach.

New 3digital series by Tathi Premchand

Q Do you go to watch shows in gallery? Which are your favorite modern and contemporary artists?
TB: N0,mostly I do not go to galleries,,but log them on blog or Facebook online only.
2005 to 2008 mostly my artworks browse and sold  on saffronart gallery online only, so i am very family-er for online mostly and I do not discriminate as modern  and contemporary; For me all are equal. My favorite artists are  Manjit Bawa, Rameshwar Broota, Raghu Roy, Vivek Vilasini and my self.

Q Do you watch movies,which is you favorite movie and why ?
TP:Yes, Gangs of Wasseypur 1-2, way of thinking, its a truth; real life in India. It is the first time in India to give larger view of reality in movie.

Q Delhi or Mumbai?  
TP: I am first an Indian, world is a studio, all cities are like my home.

Q Last Question, which is favorite new upcoming
and promising artist, any message to new upcoming art student.
TP: Hmm upcoming Devan Bane and promising artist R B Holle,
Message to new upcoming art student, Please do not try to find any Guru, look in the mirror you are your own guide. Guru kills you...

Q Thanks for sharing your views, will again visit your blog soon.
TP: Always welcome, I am a blog;  every day something new, you can visit even now. Thanks. 

As told to Pankaja JK, Freelancer art writer, Critic some time, mostly she write on blog only, I want save tree.....14/8/2012

Sunday 9 September 2012

Oh Letters! You pose straight and stern....

Oh Letters! You pose straight and stern,

Gracefully twist and turn, 

You seem to sing and dance …

Be contemplative and in trance  

Amazing is your persona that charms me 

And make me think of you at every blink…

(Artist Sugo)
Above lines summarize the art of artist SUGO, as he is commonly known in art circle. For him Calligraphy is a captivating Art for several reasons, the common factor of calligraphy all over the world is that, of giving meaning, feeling and expression to letters. Letters are wonder invention…they form words, sentences and we think in words, we contemplate in silence…but again silence have  thoughts and thoughts are in letters (words and sentences). SUGO’s latest exhibition named Knyatavya (easy to understand), portraying Devanagri script and Hindu motifs or mantras. These eye catching series’ clearly presents his inclination towards spirituality and deliberation on munificence of Hinduism. 
Most calligraphers spread message of the particular culture, love and peace through their calligraphy.  Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, East Asia, Asia et al. has a common thread of message of humanity and moving away from destruction and violence. SUGO has signified this by having a dialogue through Indian Devanagri language and motifs, thus trying to make Indian (Hindu) Calligraphy a global phenomenon.  He makes the world aware of profound impact of motifs like ‘Aum’, ‘Swastik’ and ‘Rhim- rham on body and soul. He not only deliberates on sound but visually creates a meditative aura by using colors proposing mysticism and feeling of self awakening

 Along with the spiritual communion in ‘Mantra’ series, in the series named ‘Akshara’ SUGO reveals the beauty of Devanagri script. The letters seem personified, have body language and have momentum and they twist and turn gracefully. If they are contemplated with closed eyes it seems to have rhythm; music, poetic appeal. Some letters seem to swiftly float, feel light as feathers. This might be the reflection of SUGO’s mind, of breaking away from practical existence and moving away from stress and burden into tranquility. He has symbolically linked letters with every minute element that creator Lord Brahma (In Hinduism Lord Brahma is said to be the creator of this universe) amalgamated together to create this universe.  Nature or universe is made of animate and inanimate objects; varying from micro to macro sizes and shapes and united they create a beautiful universe. Likewise, the letters in his paintings are the part of larger forms like, words and sentences. When letters are united in smaller groups they make a word; and word gives meaning to thoughts and so in the process language is born.   is like presenting the theory of evolution through letters.  

I was convinced about SUGO’s dedication to his art by his response to the question of ‘readymade calligraphy’ being made easily available on computer. When questioned about easy access to calligraphic fonts and saving time and efforts of creating it manually for various occasions, he confidently replied that it is a fact that technology has advanced and computer has made things easy and enables access to most difficult art, like Calligraphy; but for him calligraphy is not just writing artistically, but it is a matter of profound dedication and purity of thoughts that go into creation of each and every letter. He opines that Calligraphy will always have secured place in Art, despite of technological progress. 

I think his subject is unique because ‘Hinduism’ is confined to India; it can be called Indian religion. SUGO tries to introduce it to the world. It is not only about spirituality but has the power to balance and compose our mind and body. It reveals the mysteries of this Universe of how, why and who created it. It is a great pleasure to watch these paintings live and get enlightened. 
As reviewed by Pankaja JK. Art writer.

Tagged cube of Metro- by Pankaja JK

(Young artist Umakant Tawde)
Umakant Tawde moved to Mumbai city for professional development, now he lives and works in Mumbai. He commutes between South Mumbai (which is a commercial centre in Mumbai with many corporate offices located there and also have elite societies along with middle-class and poor ones) and western suburbs. This gives him the opportunity to observe the busy life of Mumbai, meet people of varied personalities and face the incidents and events. These experiences are captured I his latest series of paintings and thoroughly deals with magic spell of Mumbai created by mix culture, harmony between different class, caste and level of people. Its patience peace, love, care, unity and resilience in any and every circumstance; will to survive and face the struggle for living boldly. The series is the visual presentation of his personal experiences of Mumbai. His technique of oils on canvas symbolizes the amalgamation between contemporary city dwelling and traditional structure. One of his paintings, which has a folk woman artist with black and white images of shanties in background, is a deeper insight into the worse condition of living adopted by a villager due to dislocation. 

His earlier works reflected spirituality and serenity, as he painted images of Lord Buddha. I think his transition from that kind of work to painting trials and turbulences of urban life is a deliberate attempt to show how a common man would deal patiently face the trials of life without living the world in search of peace.  He shows how people adopt and practice meditation and concentration even in hustle-bustle of busy life. In the ‘Balancing Act’, a woman walking on the rope tied high with the help of bamboo balances herself smartly with a wrinkle of tension on her face. Her calmness and serenity is the example of practical application of concentration and she does this to earn livelihood; to meet her survival need. Umakant reflects by using darker hues on lighter background highlighting every gesture of the woman. 
(working on new series by Umakant Tawde)
 ‘Optimism’ is omnipresent throughout the series, in every image of toiling person. This attitude is found in people from lower strata of professional order, with no great achievements and adventures associated with them and dark future.  But their spirit of patience, efforts to be self dependent and hard working zeal is no less compared to great achievers. He shows that no matter what social status or background people come from, Mumbai city is always ready to welcome and shelter their hopes and dreams. 

Hunger is the base of every action. It makes one dance to its tune and every decision is aimed at fulfilling it. So there is desperate search for food or means of earning to buy food leading to dislocation due to poverty, unemployment and blank future l; of living life even in most awful condition and great struggle. Hunger is clearly indicated in painting of tiffinbox (painting is itself named as ‘’Hunger’) which represents food and the condition of people in search of food can be contemplated through every image in the series. 

Mumbai has blend of cultures and interestingly some of the fast vanishing folk art is still nurtured and admired in this city. Like many others folk artist from rural area migrate here to  obtain opportunity to earn; if not through modern means, then at least by displaying their talent and art and it is very interesting that modern Mumbai cherishes these talents in right spirit.  Paintings like ‘Tradition v/s trade-intension’ and ‘Balancing Act’, shows how the folk art of singing and sports is admired and still find its existence in Mumbai. In ‘Balancing Act’, a lady walking on a rope tide high with the help of bamboos.  This is a profession of people belonging to ‘Acrobat’ community. A poor flute seller boy, who plays a mesmerizing tune and the flute seller’s tune, has magical effect on people and it provides happiness to tired and restless busy souls of Mumbai. So it is not necessary to buy spare time and huge amount for pleasure and entertainment and buy concert tickets; if one wished, one tends to find it on the roads of Mumbai. These talented souls have to struggle hard to exist, but their struggle becomes bearable in Mumbai city where we do have people giving them attention. This caring nature is a virtuous side of Mumbai which is one aspect captured in this series; inspires him to paint.

(working on new series by Umakant Tawde)
Artist meticulously scans ‘Struggle’ and observes that, not only human beings, but even animals cannot escape Struggle. Even they have to work hard for bread and butter. Over all, life is all about facing the problems, risks and poverty with bravery and patience.  According to Umakant life has become ‘Circus’ where everyone has to participate in risk taking act for food, cloth and shelter. The simple images in artworks present the larger idea. I personally infer these artworks with animal images as symbolic and guess that here artist intends to compare human life to that of animals. Human beings slog like animals, life is like a circus full of risk and apprehension. One has to be very confident in every difficult circumstance to face it boldly. This is the result of poverty, and lack of future in villages that people are pulled towards city.-

 Pankaja JK