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City of Art must get its paint on, says artist Ravi Paranjape

I love Pune because it has a lot to offer me with popular musical festivals like Sawai Gandharva. I have always drawn a lot of inspiration from music: Ravi Paranjape

pune Updated: Aug 03, 2017 14:41 IST
Jui Dharwadkar
Jui Dharwadkar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Artist Ravi Paranjape is an eminent illustrator, painter and writer, with an illustrious carrier spanning over 55 years.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Pune once provided the right cultural atmosphere which I liked when I moved here way back in 1990. Today, it has been 27 years I am staying in this city, which is my home.

I was born in the culturally rich town of Belgaum. I moved to Mumbai after I completed my diploma in drawing and painting in 1957. There I worked as an illustrator for a few years and then shifted to the advertising industry. I remember the first exhibition organised by me was in 1980 at the Jehangir art gallery.

An Art exhibition at Bal Gandharva on occasion of World Environment Day on June 5. The city has always responded vibrantly to art shows. (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

After working in advertising I switched to architectural illustrations. I had my own style of working which was liked by many and hence, I had a lot of work. Even as I was doing architectural illustrations I felt that I wanted to paint more. I was balancing the urge to paint and my work. It was at that time that I decided to come to Pune.

I shifted to Pune in 1990 after spending 32 years in Mumbai. Even when I first came to Pune I had 30 architectural illustration projects which I had to complete, after which I engrossed myself completely in painting. After I came to Pune, within a year, that is in 1991, I organised an exhibition of S M Pandit who was one of the most popular and much sought-after painters of his times. This exhibition received a tremendous response from Puneites who stood in long queues to see the exhibition at the Bal Gandharva art gallery.

Pune as I remember then was a very quiet city. The evenings were perfectly silent which my family and I loved a lot. At that time I always felt that Pune provided the right cultural atmosphere for an artist. Also, I was drawn towards classical music since my childhood and Pune had to lot to offer me with popular musical festivals like Sawai Gandharva. I have always drawn a lot of inspiration from music. Even today at the age of 82 I paint, but have withdrawn from holding commercial exhibitions.

After coming to Pune, apart from painting I also took up writing. So from being an artist I also turned to being a writer and I have enjoyed both these things a lot. I wrote articles in a leading newspaper at that time through which I introduced the readers to all my ‘gurujans’ from the West, as well as the East. Most of the artists that I wrote about were people from pre-World War eras. Later I compiled these articles into a book. I have also written my autobiography and have authored other books as well. My autobiography titled, 'Brush Mileage' received the Bhairuratan Damani Award.

Considering the scenario of art in the city I feel there is a need for more and more people to be introduced to all art forms, which is not happening. Today, even as there is no dearth of talent in Pune, the city is not a very good market as buying paintings is still not on the priority list of people. According to me, the art scene in Pune needs to develop. In the field of art education I feel a lot can be done, but the courses available today lack proper designing of curriculum which is important.

We need a culture which springs from man's inner self. What we need to understand is that we need to link design, order and systems, as without a good design there is no order and both these things together form a system.

First Published: Aug 03, 2017 14:35 IST