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1) When the non thinking artist tries to think…

What do I write when I am asked to provide a glimpse into an artist’s mind? I don’t know about what goes on in the minds of other artist’s. My own mind is something that I keep out of my work. I do not want my mind to interfere when I working. My own work has been to giving my fingers freedom to do what they want to and my eye to watch over what my fingers are doing and not interfere with it.

I started painting way back when I was in school. I just painted because it gave me an immense amount of pleasure in just painting. It was like music to the eyes. Today, I have any number of people asking me whether I teach painting. I tell them I don’t teach because I didn’t learn it the way it was supposed to be learnt. I didn’t go to art schools and therefore I don’t have the experience to teach them. To the more insistent, I tell them to waste around fifty sheets of paper and show me the results. I have had only one person come to me with the results. I am glad that he is an established artist today- not because I taught him how to paint, but he did have confidence in himself. Most of the others asked me one question “If we don’t know what to paint and how to do it, how can I produce fifty works?” None of these even continued to paint. Their wanting to paint was a wishy -washy, powerless wish.


2) Shenoy Mam...

I first saw his work as a fourteen year old in my hometown, Udupi. The year was 1968. The occasion was the Paryaya festival and there was an exhibition of kinds in the old government hospital which was empty then. They were the most wonderful and powerful portraits my impressionable mind had ever seen and they made a impact which survives in awe to this day. I asked my Dad who the painter was and he said it was the coffee powder Shanbhag’s son. His full name was Gokuldas Sadanand Shenoy and he had studied in the famous JJ School of art in Bombay. I had read in the local newspaper that he had started an art gallery in town too. It was called Shrungar Art Gallery and he also had a photo studio to make his living. I still remember the titles “My friend”, “My journalist friend”, “Smile of the proud purple”, and the landscapes, “Low tide”, “Slums of Worli” and “Ruins of Barkur”. My exposure to art was only through magazines like The Illustrated weekly Of India, and other magazines like Span, and a Russian magazine called Sputnik. I did not know at that point in time that our paths would cross and I would get to know this man personally. What started was a lifetime’s friendship which I fondly cherish to this day.

3) Serendipity...

Call them coincidences, synchronicities or any other name, they exist and I have had the fortune to recognize them when they happen. The human brain is a huge repository of the collective experiences and with millions of cells connecting to each other even as we are engaged in our activities, the connections to these experiences occur and things like déjà vu are examples of it. As I go on with my daily life, certain thoughts stray into areas when there is a recognition that these events have happened earlier. At first, we tend to dismiss it as mere nothings, not even coincidences. When such coincidences happen more frequently, there are moments of incredulity that this cannot be true, as we are taught to think rationally and in the realms of reason, there isn’t any scope for such events.

4) Change happens.

Change always happens whether one like it or not. Change is grips you when you have just finished a body of work and then asked yourself the question “ What next?”. The question I always dread to ask myself. It is when this question comes up, I am at a loss to answer it. The goal will return after a tenuous and arduous search. The whole period of searching answers for this question is passing through the wheels of torture. All that the artist is faced with are enormous choices and the tyranny that rules them.

5) Dust on butterfly’s wings, Wolf Kahn and the pastel story

My first exposure to pastels was when my friend, Sanjay Bhat dropped in my at my studio and gifted me with a set of pastels. Pastels are quite a rare medium in the country and it is only after the economic liberalization that they made their appearance in the Indian art market.
I started using the pastels gifted and found their brightness really amazing. For a while I painted only on black backgrounds where the colors stood out. What fascinated me that there was no intermediary tool between the fingers and the substrate..





    A Pious Man, I pray
Three times a day,
I recite all the scriptures,
And perform all my
Religious rituals.
tell me
why is it that
the water lily
in my garden attains Nirvana
Just Basking in the Sun ?
In This fleeting moment
of chasing Shadows
do I pass?
Which Shadow
do I hold as mine
own and follow?
Which ones do I
lose on the way ?
Himself whispers
in my ears....
"Shadows, dreams, realities
no difference, no difference".

What sort of loneliness
is this Buddha,
Even the Mosquitos leave
me alone.

I have huffed and puffed
the long winding staircase to
the gates of Nirvana.

Why is the Buddha
Nowhere in sight?

"Until you Actually
put the first step
on the path, the path
Doesn't Appear, Trust
you have a path
ahead and it will
take you where you
want to go".
I see no Nirvana
happening after
fourteen hours of work.
I ask Buddha,
"Am I allowed to sleep?"
Buddha Doesn't Answer
He is fast asleep.
    "Its Going to Rain Buddha!
Look at the sky" I said
Buddha replied
"If you brave the drizzle
you may not have
to face a downpour -
keep walking


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