Everything becomes so clear and understandable when one empathizes with the society around. Ashok Hinge displays this nature and has been incessantly working on observing and portraying common man, and his mundane activities and pursuits. His empathy seems to reach the meridian with his latest development of the same concept in a very unique manner. In this series, there is an incredible use of one impressive protagonist – ‘Comma’, the punctuation mark, to represent life in general. Ashok names this series ‘Commascapes’, as these graphic representations have extensive viewpoint of activities in the form of Comma.
Comma is a punctuation mark that indicates a pause between two lines, sentences or even words. This function is applied by Hinge in real-life representation, to indicate that motility of life also pauses when routine is interrupted by the unusual, special or unique activities. In Commascapes, Ashok Hinge metamorphoses in Comma and moves in the society in this disguise, observes and develops activities in the same form (Comma).
The graphics display voluntary and involuntary involvement of every layman in one or the other activity that one engages in, to enhance life. Generally comma is used as a connector and a divider in a sentence. Thus, Hinge uses it as a divider and a connector. The division is shown in the strata of the society, character variations, religions, life-style, professions, emotions etc. Connection between these divisions by virtue, form a society as whole is also clearly indicated in the graphics. So, Comma becomes a supreme symbol of fact of life and facets that are important for complete human existence. Hinge has used it creatively to show the connectivity, clarity, passing of phases and modality. Ashok Hinge’s artworks are exhibited at Cobalt Arts.
What’s your artistic background?
I have an Art Teacher Diploma from Pragatkala Mahavidyalay, Ahmednagar and a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Government School of Art, Aurangabad. Both these cities have a historic background.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
Every artist must have his own style to work in, that style itself gives energy to the artist to grow after each artwork.
What role does the artist have in society?
Artist speaks with society through his art. Art keeps society engaged and healthy.
What art do you most identify with?
I identify mostly with Commascapes’ minimalistic approach in paintings and installations. Another style I identify is Living Lines.
What themes do you pursue?
Since I work with a punctuation mark which is a comma, themes in the paintings are inspired by my observation of surroundings, the books that I read and events happening around me.
What’s your favourite art work?
There is no specific artwork as such, but all old minimalistic artwork definitely catches my eyes.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
This may seem funny to you but creativity can trigger from any incidence.
I was inspired by a couple of words to start my work themed Commascapes which was started almost 16 years ago. First one is ‘Common Man’ by the renowned cartoonist R. K. Laxman Sir. In the Common Man theme I found Comma as the human form; square portion as head and the part below which is a curve as the neck. Second word is Coma; once I was talking with a friend and he said someone has slipped into a Coma. It was then that i decided that a Comma can be connected to human beings and that’s how my Commascapes’ artistic journey started. In my theme Commascapes, comma is not just a human form any more. When a comma is tweaked a little bit, it becomes an animal, or an object and much more.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I have done calligraphy almost two years for a reputed greeting card company, visualization and illustrations for few advertisement agencies. I have also worked as graphic designer for multinational companies.
Visual art keeps me engaged, balanced, stress-free and energized all the time.
What is an artistic outlook on life?
Life is a journey, all of us can have commas (pauses) to enjoy and celebrate the journey that is life.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Whenever people go through my artwork, they come to me and say; we never thought just a small comma can be portrayed like this to tell interesting stories.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
The artistic life is not lonely at all; many people connect with an artist via his art.
What do you like about your work?
A simple thing such as a comma is giving me immense pleasure to work with; I can twist this as I want.
Should art be funded?
Yes, art should be funded.
What role does arts funding have?
If art is funded, many experiments can be done in the field of art, therefore art can grow at so many levels.
What is your dream project?
My dream project is creating installations at a large scale and to come up with an Art Studio for several artists in the lap of nature.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
Gorakshnath Gadh which is located in my hometown, Vambori, Ahmednagar is my most inspirational place. I have my favourite place to sit in this beautiful location, from where; I have seen many changing shades of the gorgeous sun, which can be compared with my own life. This often has a calming effect on me.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best pieces of advice I have been given is to keep working, it’s a long-long journey.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
My goal is to maintain the energy flow to work constantly in other styles too, those which are developed but yet to be exhibited.