Artist Ramesh Aundhkar’s very first job as a drawing teacher was to be able to bring out creativity amongst children. Other than being a design faculty at Symbiosis Institute of Design, he has worked in many non familiar fields to explore different aspects of his creativity. He also enjoys writing as a form of expression.
What’s your artistic background?
I think I’ve inherited some of my creativity from my father. He was very popular in his village at Rahimatpur, Maharashtra. Everyone in the neighbourhood would always appreciate his drawing skills.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
I believe my own thoughts and style are a part of my integrity. Everything else comes in later. Similarly every artist should be aware of what is integral to their own work.
What role does the artist have in society?
- An artist contributes when you see painted walls with murals or a decorated neighbourhood compound.
- An artist contributes when a person can develop a craft skill and earn their livelihood out of it.
- An artist contributes when you see a place decorated for a festival.
What art do you most identify with?
I’ve had different identities as an artist over the last 30 years. Since then I have rediscovered my identity through the four dimensional drawing style. I have been able to successfully achieve four different expressions through one piece of art by mere rotation.
What themes do you pursue?
I have explored a lot of organic forms through nature and spaces (horoscopes). I have always been fascinated by human expressions and different forms of the human body. This fascination led to my exploration of different figurative themes which depicted my childhood and my village life as well. At this phase in my life, my theme is fluid and my art process drives it.
What’s your favourite artwork?
I have often fallen in love with the different pieces that I’ve created previously. My latest favourite artwork is when I developed a unique style and method of creating a four dimensional drawing. It was even more special and auspicious because I could develop it during Ganesh festival.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
I learnt how to create art from my surroundings. Since my childhood, unknowingly, I have been conscious of re-creating many structures around me through my art. For example: When television was new in India, it was important to have antennas to make them work. These antennas would create different effects visually. Through my artistic vision, I was able to develop a method which replicated the same effect with the use of wax. And as I recall, this was just the beginning of my journey into the field of creativity.
Art came to me very organically. My high school years exposed me to learn that art could be explored as a career path. Even though my father insisted otherwise, my craze for creativity forced me to leave my hometown and led me to paint my journey through my own hands. This self-driven thought to pursue my artistic side led me to enroll for a course at an art Institute after my higher secondary. After consecutively winning the Gold medal and a prestigious fellowship of Sir J.J.school of Art, being an artist was embedded in me for the rest of my life.
What is an artistic outlook on life?
An artistic outlook differs for every artist. It changes as you grow and face different challenges in life. To talk about my artistic outlook on life, I feel like I’ve had some obstacles that have shaped me to be a different artist than who I am today. For example, I am still pursuing my dream of having my own studio for my art. Similarly, I’ve experienced many rewards that have helped me to stay positive. My family and mentors have really supported me and made me the person I am today. My advice to my readers and every artist would be to stay conscious of your surroundings and grab any opportunity that comes your way.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I have three vivid memories where I experienced pure satisfaction and bliss from people who have been very appreciative of my work.
1.Back in 1982, I had one of my exhibitions in the Jahangir Art Gallery where Azim Premji was invited by Rekha Rao (the daughter of K.K Hebbar) for her show. During the show, Mr.Premji was distracted by my paintings and decided to have a look at it closely. I distinctly remember how mesmerized he was and exclaimed that he wanted to see this piece of art in the officers’ training hall. Since then, Mr.Premji has not missed any of my exhibitions and he is my biggest paintings collector with more than twelve masterpieces in his private collection.
2. For another exhibition at Jahangir Art Gallery in 1983, I had a really interesting duo who visited my show. A young doctor had brought his mother from a remote village to show her the beautiful city of Mumbai. His mother seemed to be an art enthusiast from the moment I glanced at her. On speaking with her, I immediately realized that even though she was illiterate, her interpretation about how she perceived my paintings was jaw dropping.
3. During my exhibition at the Taj Art Gallery, I had a visitor from Britain. This English man was extremely keen to own two of my paintings. Realizing that he was short on money, we shared our contacts with each other and he promised he would return to India after two months only to own these paintings. Surprisingly, after two months I was contacted by Samuel and we arranged a setup where he visited India only to fulfill his promise. This was one of the most beautiful gestures I have been rewarded with.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
I consider music to be a form which triggers my expression while I paint or draw. I usually listen to Indian classical music only because it helps me attain peace and further contributes to the rhythms in my art.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
It is an artist’s choice to live a lonely life. Personally, I like to visit galleries, engage in long conversations with different artists around me, and attend screenings of art films and documentaries. Other than that, I do attend fundraising exhibitions where I love to donate my paintings.
What do you dislike about the art world?
I have always experienced that there is a sense of groupism in the art field, particularly. This only leads to negativity and other established artists to suppress new talent. My outlook towards the field of art is slightly different because I subconsciously push young talent and help them to contribute to the ongoing art movement.
What do you dislike about your work?
I have felt differently about a few of my paintings in the past. But if there is something that I dislike about my work, I often work towards improving/changing it. I have a very peculiar reaction when I dislike my creation. My inner aggression tends to destroy the existing piece by overlapping it and creating something completely new.
What do you like about your work?
As a fine artist, I have always been inspired by nature and my surroundings. As a person, I am very observant and conscious of myself and my environment. I find it amusing to see these reflections in my work. I don’t think I force this into my art because it comes very naturally to me.
Should art be funded?
I strongly believe art should be funded. Since the year 2000, hundreds of institutions have funded young talent all over India. This funding has now produced some great artists which have proudly represented India on an international platform. It is the power of funding an artist that has created magic everywhere. I am happy to see artists create paintings and live their dream.
What role does art funding have?
The culture of art can only be grown and made aware of when an institution believes in their students and helps them not only through guidance but financially as well. That’s where funding plays a very important role as it encourages and supports growth of the field of art.
What is your dream project?
My dream project at this stage of my life is to have my own studio where I have the complete freedom to execute large projects based on my discovery of four dimensional drawings. I have been experimenting with introducing colour which enables a viewer to see and experience the painting in four different ways.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Personally, I do not agree with the idea of comparison of artists. My experience of 40 years in this industry has only taught me that it leads to wrong interpretations and sets unrealistic standards for new talent. Every artist is unique in their own way. Having said that, their subjects or styles can align with each other but the thought process often doesn’t. This creates uniqueness. My recent discovery helps me stand out better along with my fellow artists.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
I believe inspiration isn’t restricted to a place or a moment. Listening to music, watching documentaries, theatre have always been a source to expand my knowledge. I don’t think inspiration is associated with a place or time. It is more of taking advantage of an opportunity to increase an exchange of knowledge.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I believe mentorship plays a very important role in our lives. For me, I was blessed to have Prafulla Dahanukar’s constant guidance that helped me look at problems as opportunities. This guidance changed my perspective towards my outlook on life and my zeal to work towards achieving my dreams. Her unwavering support played a crucial part towards organizing my exhibitions. I want to take this opportunity to share another piece of advice with my readers, given to me by Azim Premji. It was to refrain from holding exhibitions in the month of March as most of the industrialists would be busy as it’s the end of the financial year. This would in turn affect the scope of my exhibition.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
I have been demonstrating my art style on different platforms in India and it makes me happy to inspire our younger generation to follow their artistic dreams. I would love to take this demonstration at an international platform and inspire many young artists around the world.
Currently I am trying to understand and plan different ways of demonstrating my artistic discovery in art galleries and institutions. I am really content to have been able to contribute towards the current art movement. I also understand the importance of supporting our fellow artists in the art movement of this period. My long trail of a dream would be to travel around the world and surround myself with the creativity in art galleries and museums to support creativity in any form.