Friday, May 2, 2014

An Interview With Shirish Deshpande

Hello Friends

It's been long since I posted 'Meet An Artist'. Today I am going to post an interview of an Amazing person, down-to-earth artist, Shirish Deshpande, who rules the art scenario with his beautiful ball point works and adds color to life with his acrylics and oils. A well-known artist from Belgaum who hasn't lost his roots even a bit. His works are a breath of fresh air and continues to amaze does he maintains that feel! His lines and shapes appear complex, it reveals something deeper and this interview is an unraveling that he does into his life and art.

HnS: First of all, extremely glad that you agreed to do this interview…

Give us some background about yourself.

SD: I am born and based in Belgaum, Karnataka, India. I did my training in art in Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalay in Pune, Maharashtra, India from 1974-79. My mother also was an artist and she used to paint portraits in oils. She also experimented a lot with Batik art and published book about learning Batik.

HnS: How did this artistic journey begin? What/who was your inspiration?

SD: I feel that art – drawing and painting came to me naturally. I used to watch my mom paint since my childhood and I would ask her to give me her material to paint. She used to teach fabric painting to a number of women when Camlin had recently introduced Crylin colors way back in 1968. I still remember, I bought my first set of 12 crayons for 25 paise while I was in the fourth standard class in 1968 with my savings. Through the school days, I was always engaged in art related activities. It was my responsibility to draw the map of India on the floor of our classroom on the 15th of August every year for the Independence day celebrations. Even though later when I studied applied art, I used to paint landscapes in oils and water colors.

Neighbourhood -18x18 inches - Ballpoint pen

HnS:  How has your place and/or culture helped your art?

SD: Belgaum, my home town is famous for brewing a lot of artistic talents from painting, music, literature etc. Arists like Late K.B.Kulkarni, John Fernandes, Ravi Paranjape, Maruti Patil are from Belgaum. My contemporaries like Balu Sadalge, Somanand Gadakari, Sachin Upadhye are also from my home town and I take a lot of inspiration from them. Belgaum is a quiet place to stay and its pleasant weather is helpful for a creative mind.

Krishna - 24x24 inches - Acrylics

HnS:  I see you work with pens (apart from oils and acrylics)!!! That’s unique (…and my favourites have been those when I think of your work). How did that happen?

SD: I am often asked this question about how did I start with the ballpoint pens. In fact even I do not know how that occurred to me. But I can say that when I started thinking of becoming a full time fine art painter, initially I started with oil paints and then also tried acrylics. But somehow I was not satisfied with my work. And one day I just started a drawing with my pen named Flair-Sunny which was a ballpoint pen having four colored refills -red, green, blue and black in one pen. It was a 12x12 inch artwork and I finished it one and a half day later. I was very happy with what came out. I showed it to my mom, wife and sons and all liked it very much. Then I did one more, and one more and again one more and then there was no stopping......!

Bloom - 30x30 inches - Acrylics

HnS: Is it like working with paints or is it any different? Is there any advantages/disadvantages working with pens?

SD: No, it is completely different than working with paints. There are some advantages, like it is a completely dry process. No messing with water or turpentine. No washing of palette or brushes. I can start or stop my work anytime. No need to wait until the paint dries. But all this comes with a great deal of disadvantages as well. To name a few.... you can't make any mistake because the ink can't be erased once a line is drawn. Then, we cannot make a shade of color on a palette and then apply it. All we have is a limited number of colored refills (about 12 in all). We have to draw directly on the paper and repeat with various colors to achieve a desired shade of color. I use a variety of strokes of lines to get the results.

Still Life 1 - 24x24 inches- Ballpoint pens

HnS:  What are the kinds of pens do you use?

SD: I use BALL POINT PENS. I have in my collection a number of different makes of ballpoint pens from all over the world. I use ballpoint pens, because they have oil based inks and they are pressure sensitive, just like pencils, by this I mean they let me draw a lighter or darker line by varying pressure.
HnS: The pen art seems complex...How long does it take to complete a pen art?

SD: Yes, there are many challenges in using the ballpoint pens. We cannot make any correction if we go wrong. The ink cannot be erased. So I have to visualize my subject very well and be confident when drawing. Secondly, there are very less colors available. The colors cannot be mixed on a pallette like with water colors or oil paints. So I create a range of colors by drawing overlapping lines on the paper with various color pens. I am in the process of writing a book about my techniques for those who are interested in learning this medium and it will be published in another year or so. Initially it took me several days for one drawing to complete. I was working on a landscape of size 24x24 inches for almost 25 days, 4 to 5 hours a day....!! But with practice the same size of work can be finished in about 4 to 5 days now...

Still Life 2 - 12x12 inches - Ballpoint pens

HnS:  Lately I have seen that you moved to some amazing abstract art. What has drawn you towards it?

SD: This is a wonderful question. To answer this I have to tell you a little background. Last year I started having back pain. The reason may have been bad posture, standing for a long time for making my ballpoint pen drawings or may be lifting of heavy weight of parcels of paintings during travelling and my exhibitions. It worsened when I visited Delhi in December 2013 for the Annual AIFACS exhibition. After I came back, I had to take complete bed rest and some pain killer treatment. I came to know that there is no permanent cure with medicines. Luckily my doctor cousin told me about a healing program by another doctor which is based on Yoga and meditation. I started these exercises and meditation. It requires us to focus our attention on the pain by going deep inside us to the area where we feel the actual pain and soon I started having some visualizations filled with huge energy. I felt that there is so much going on inside our body that the urge to look outside for inspiration became meaningless for me. This made me paint a few canvases just in my imagination. When the back pain reduced and when I restarted my work, my very first work was an abstract of the new style. After that I have painted about ten in all. I do not plan or draw anything in the beginning. I do not use a palette. I am inspired by a certain color and I put it directly on the canvas. I use large size brush, a special plastic tool with a zigzag edge that I made, a roller to spread the color. When I paint, I am just a third person watching it  happen. I enjoy the process of creation. As of now, I feel that I have just found something amazing and I feel an urgency to explore it further.

Holi - 36x36 inches - Acrylics

HnS:  Which is your preferred medium of work?

SD: I have explored the possibilities of ballpoint pen in various styles of artworks, like portraits, landscapes, creative compositions, abstract, still life etc. I love that medium. I have also done all these with acrylics as well. I have also used oil colors to make some cityscapes and landscapes. All three of these mediums are my favourites....!

Morning at CST - 30x40 inches - Oil

HnS:  Who is your favourite artist? What is the lesson that you have learnt from your role model?

SD: There are many artists, both Indian and foreign who are my favourite and it will not be possible to name just one of them. I have taken inspiration about drawing, painting techniques, neatness, composition, color schemes, presentation etc from various artists. I am also inspired by the energetic actions of sport, be it cricket, football, tennis.

Eloquence - 30x40 inches - Acrylics

HnS:  What is your thought on attending workshops and camps and do some live art? (Of course, it does help one to evolve…apart from that). What is your contribution to it?

SD: In visual art, what we see is finally the completed work of art. We cannot see the underlying layers of initial work and that is why we cannot know how it was made. We can see the process of creation and understand it only when we see an artist at work. This can happen only at demonstrations, workshops or art camps. For an artist, the time stops when he or she is actually painting. The people watching the creation have to have patience. I have done ballpoint pen demonstrations, and at the end of the one hour session, everyone is spellbound. They get so much of motivation to do something. It is a wonderful experience for me too....!

Schema - 36x36 inches - Acrylics

HnS:  You recently were a part of the Jaipur Arts Festival…how did that happen and what was your experience? If you had to point out one thing that was best about it…what would that be?

SD: I had sent an invitation for my show to the Secretary of the Jaipur Art Festival and I received their invitation in reciprocation. It was an out of “normal world” experience for me in Jaipur. There were about 200 artists from 22 Indian states and about 45 foreign artists from 25 different countries. We all together created about 500+ world class paintings in just 3-4 days. An artist from Chile was so much impressed with my painting and my homemade tool that I used in my painting, that he gifted me some of his tools that he brought from Chile. I got to know a great many artists. The one thing I would like to mention here is that the festival was extremely well organized and along with that the great hospitality of the Diggi family created such an atmosphere that it was filled with such a creative energy all those days.

HnS:  ‘Old Delhi Streets’ is a beautiful series with a charm of the old world…would you like share your experience about it?

SD: Making of the “Old Delhi streets” was a wonderful experience for me right from the beginning. I had seen a bit of Old Delhi streets long back and I was very much impressed with the cycle rickshaws and the overhead electric wires. Then in March 2013, while I was in Delhi for a group show at Lalit Kala Academy, I took some time off on a Sunday morning to roam the old Delhi streets, walking as well as a ride in the cycle rickshaw. I took a lot of photos and tried to take in the whole of the atmosphere as much as possible. Drank road side tea while watching the foggy morning light seeping through the spaces between buildings onto the road and the people. From those hundreds of photos I chose about ten to make the series. Then using the photos I have tried the best of my ability to recreate the atmosphere that I experienced while on the street. It was a revisit to the Old Delhi streets again for me while painting on the canvas.

A Street in Delhi - 14x20 inches - Ballpoint pens

HnS:  There’s a freshness about your work…it’s like a cozy spring morning…How do you bring about/maintain that kind of freshness?

SD: A lot of art lovers have mentioned this to me. I feel that an artists work reflects his thoughts and personality. I am a person who has no hangover of the past happenings. I do have a very positive attitude. I am always in awe about the whole of the universe around me. Any good act by others motivates and makes me happy and fresh. I think  this reflects in my paintings. Over the years, I have studied how to use color, sometimes going against the rules, to make impressive compositions that will impact the viewer in a positive way. And also, by not sticking to any particular subject there is no limit for me to explore the possibilities. I feel I cannot put this whole thing in proper words. It is easier for me to paint than to write about it.

Good Morning - 14x20 inches - Ballpoint pens

HnS:  What are your other passions/likes/hobbies?
SD: I like cooking, watching and learning about the sky, stars, universe. Listening to music, Cricket, Football.

HnS:  Your words of inspiration to the artists out there.

SD: Over the years I have come to some conclusions. My statement – Simplify, Improvise and then just do it. You can apply it to most life situations. Give everyone around you the space they require to grow. It also helps us grow independently. Never be satisfied with what you have already done. Otherwise it will lock you in time and block you out for any new ideas. Always try to break the boundaries you have reached so far. Become fearless in trying out and applying new techniques. Read as much as you can. It expands our understanding. Use social media to your advantage. Be prepared to welcome all kinds of comments once you show your work to others. There are all kinds of people, some may like some may not like your work. But believe in yourself, be honest, do not ever copy other artists work and style. With lot of hard work, you will receive a lot of praise and love from the art lovers around the world. Don't consider that all your work will get sold. But whatever you create is going to be a great asset to the world.

Morning Mist - 10x14 inches - Ballpoint pens

HnS:  Where can my readers reach you?

SD: They can reach me through email or message me on facebook or call me at suitable time on 09448137724. I also use WhatsApp.....

Urban Jungle - 10x14 inches - Ballpoint pens 

HnS:  Lastly, if ever I have a studio and I invite you to honour us with a workshop, would you be kind enough to accept it? (I know...I am trying to take your word in public so that you won't go back on it :) )

SD: Yes I will. I have already had a few workshops and taught this art of using the ballpoint pens to quite a number of people.

 Thank you for taking time and replying with so much zest and in detail. You are indeed one dedicated person.It has been an absolute pleasure Shirishji...getting to know you and your art better. Wishing you the very Best on behalf of all my readers and Hues n Shades :)

Linking it to PPF...
PS: All these artworks are copyright images of Shirish Deshpande. Please do not reproduce it in any form without written consent from the artist. Details of contact given above. Thanks!


Unknown said...

Waah, a very nice interview and SD is too cool and humble :) Glad to know about him and also glad to have stopped by your blog!

~S(t)ri Writes

Joy Murray said...

Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful artist. I love the texture and mood of the ink pen paintings. He has a great eye and an engaging style. Thanks for sharing!

Netty said...

Lots of beautiful work, a feast for the eyes. Thank you for sharing.
Happy PPF, Annette x

Linda Kunsman said...

amazing artist-great interview and stunning art-wow!!

Valerie-Jael said...

SD is a fantastic artist, thanks for introducing us to him and his enormous talent! Greetings from Germany, Valerie

Faye said...

What an amazing talent!!! I loved seeing how the ballpoint pens paintings turned out. All the artist's works are exceptionally good. Thanks for sharing.

My name is Erika. said...

What an interesting interview with Shirish Deshpande. His work is beautiful.I really like his more abstract ones. So glad you shared these.

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

Amazing! I LOVE the realism of Shirish's ballpoint pen work, which has a similarity to pointillism work. Blessings!

AnnD said...

WOW! He is so incredibly talented! I love the range in his work. That oil cityscape just about knocked me out of my chair! He seems like the very loveliest of human beings, too.

Great post!

Unknown said...

Gorgeous work! Great interview, thanks for sharing Shirish Deshpande with us :)

Happy Paint Party Friday!

Studio Kaufmann said...

What a fascinating interview with Shirish. I don't think I have ever seen such an interesting and delicate effect made with ballpoint pens. Happy PPF

Arti said...

All I have is one word - WOW! Thanks for introducing a wonderful and rooted artist, Deepa!

AmitAag said...

Great art!
The ballpoint works are truly amazing!
Hope to enjoy more of Shirish through your blog in future:)
Thank you Deepa:)

denthe said...

Beautiful! thanks for sharing. It's amazing what he can do with ballpoint pens...

DVArtist said...

OOoohhhh SD is a wonderful artist with skill and talent that runs a full course. His art is amazing and so diverse. Thank you for introducing him.

Saru Singhal said...

Hats off to him. Amazing work.

A Sunny Yellow Window said...

Amazing work, especially the ones with ballpoint pens! He sure is a versatile artist

Bikram said...

Now what can one say to all these beautiful pics.. I mean I cant find a word that can do justice ..

it is beautiful work and thanks to you .. for introducting such a personality to us all


pauline said...

Deepa, what a FABULOUSLY talented and versatile artist you've introduced! omg...those ball point pieces are incredible. He has very kind eyes in the photo. :-) I had lots of catching up to do here on your blog, and i was so happy to read about your art show (it's all square!) How exciting and what a beautiful set up. See...this is what i love so much about on-line communities. I would have most likely NEVER seen or heard of this wonderful artist, had you not shared him with us. And someone SO good must be seen by all. Thank you Deepa...wishing you a great week! xx

Joy Alderson said...

Hi Shirish. I’m in the UK and have most of your books. I love the books so inspiring. I’ve gone back to pen and ink in black and prior to reading your interview I had thought about using colour technical ink pens. Think your biro work is incredible.
Best wishes
Joy Alderson