Saturday 5 April 2014

The Legacy of the Master- Vilas Tonape

There is an anonymous quote that reads, “Art is the highest form of hope”; it propels us into a deeper understanding of creation, beauty and nature. Art gives so much to the human spirit, whether you’re standing before the greatest masterpieces in the world or your own canvas. Being an artist means more than simply expressing oneself; it is a story being told—a story of courage and truth, a story of hope. 
(Vilas Tonape in his studio)
Vilas Tonape is a man of extraordinary depth and expression. His roots go back to India where he first picked up the weapon of mass creation that would ignite a fire—a paintbrush. He has excelled in all he does, receiving his BFA in drawing and painting with distinction, from the Sir J.J. School of Art, University of Bombay and his MFA in painting from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, USA. His work has been exhibited internationally in Bombay, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Ontario; he works in both figurative and non-representational modes.
"Rolando", 2011, Graphite on paper, 22" x 18"

He has competed across the United States and India, winning many awards that showcased his remarkable artistry in the field. Tonape has judged many artexhibitions, worked at several renowned schools and universities, and has conducted workshops and presented discourses at numerous venues. There is a natural magnetic energy surrounding the passion-infused professor. He engages people with professionalism and pride. Countless artists across the world have been under the watchful eye of Vilas Tonape, and have only bettered themselves because of his mentorship.
"Drunk Detective", 2014, Pastel on paper, 25" x 19"
Beyond all the awards, of which there are dozens upon dozens, beyond the numerous recommendations and features in magazines, beyond all of those lines on a resume, there is something that only can be recognized as a deep need to create. This fire in Tonape’s spirit is made evident when he stands before students and artists alike, blowing the dust off of the goldthat they already possess within. If teaching is required, then demonstrating what it is that the students must grasp, is vital. Vilas Tonape not only introduces concepts of the Renaissance and Baroque Masters, he exhibits the techniques before his students’ very eyes. He focuses solely on what his eye sees in human features or folds of cloth, and he lets his hands show his students the way. Poetry unrivaled in beauty and grace emerges on the canvas before Tonape, and with one small gesture or movement the subject jumps off the page. 
"Anna Lisa", 2014, Pastel on paper, 22" x 17"

With only mere words to convey what this man does to his students, I will say that he bestows a gift beyond measure to them—the gift of art. Tonape is a teacher, an educator, and above all, he is an artist. He challenges those around him to dig deeper into themselves. He pushes himself to get better with each pastel and each painting that he does, only accepting the utmost excellence. There are few in this world that are both artist and educator; there are even fewer who grant others the opportunity to discover the magnificent world of a paintbrush or pencil.

                                                Elliana Hillhouse
                                                Trinidad, Colorado, USA
Published : 2014 _ art blogazine