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Tete-a-Tete With Gopal Pardeshi

The Wise Owl quizzes Gopal Pardeshi about his artistic journey.


Gopal Pardeshi, an alumnus of the Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya in Pune, has worked as a background artist designing cartoon animations at Digikor Studio and also as a senior graphic designer at Maximize Learning in Pune. However, his Muse beckoned, and he left to pursue his creative passion full time.


Gopal Pardeshi has held many solo and group exhibitions in prestigious galleries like Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, Kala Academy, Panjim (Goa), Maquinez Palace Art Gallery, Panjim (Goa), Nehru Centre Art Gallery, Mumbai, Ark Art & Frames Pune, Lalit Kala Academy, Delhi. He won the 2nd Prize for his artwork during Mood Indigo in IIT Mumbai and was also awarded the Chandrakant Ovhal award by the Chitari Academy of fine art for outstanding artwork.

Thank you, Mr Pardeshi, for taking time out to talk to The Wise Owl.

Q. Our readers would like to know how and where you started your artistic journey? Was there any person or event that triggered your passion for colours and the art form you pursue?

A. This question takes me back to a childhood memory, which was the start of my artistic journey and opened an amazing word of painting for me. The house I lived in as a child was surrounded by trees and green fields. I used to play around trees and on trees. One day while I was climbing a tree, I fell down and my hand was fractured. I had no school, and no playing activity was possible, so I had two months of time for myself.

My father brought me a drawing book and I spent most of my time drawing the objects around me like dogs, cats, sparrows, doors, windows almost everything that I could view. When I went back to school, I showed that drawing book to my art teacher which she praised generously. She also told my father that I was good at drawing. So, my father enrolled my name in an art class which was conducted by Artist Shri Sachin Nath sir, who inspired me to see art as an artist. Sachin Sir was a portrait artist for the military and had exhibited his work in several solo and group shows in renowned art galleries in India. His teachings inspired me to live my life as an artist and to continuously search and find a new creative dimension of art.

Q. All your paintings depict rural life with objects like wooden doors, windows, earthen lamps, lanterns etc. What was it about a rural village setting that nudged the artist in you?

A. I hail from a family which gave me a cultural upbringing (as most Indian families still do). I lived in a small town which was suburban but still had roots strongly embedded in rural-village tradition.  Like a village, this town had old Wada structure houses with clay tile roofs and domestic animals. Nature was an integral part of this life. However, with globalization, people abandoned that village lifestyle which resulted in abandoning the old houses or Wadas. I noticed the beauty of these Wadas and also how time had carved itself on those dilapidated structures. This is still beautiful to me and this beauty is what I depict in my paintings. 

      

Q. A large chunk of your paintings depict doorways. What does a doorway symbolise to you personally, if I may ask?

A. I don’t see a door or a doorway as a mere object. Those are handmade objects which were also made by an artist (in a way). I look at them as a design, as a work of art. If you look at a huge door made of wood carefully, you will see that there are various design elements in it. A small door named ‘Dindi’ within a huge door. Hinges made of iron on anvil. Somewhere you will notice a horseshoe, symbol of a good omen. In other places you will notice old coins of various metals. A door is decorated, by a family living there, in various styles during festivals. For instance, during Diwali, we will see a lantern, lamps, Rangoli. On Padwa we will see a Gudi. So, a door means a lot of things for me.

Q. Some of your paintings depict the play of light and shade. One of your paintings ‘Untitled’ shows a window with the light streaming inside the room which beautifully captures this play. Could you elaborate on the techniques you use to make this happen.

A. In that painting the challenge for me was to paint sunrays streaming through a window. When we say sunrays, it’s kind of a semi-transparent thing: we can see the background behind rays. So, I used a dry brush technique, where colour is applied as a background and dried completely.

Q. I’m sure our viewers would like to know why you work only in acrylic. Have oils, crayons or watercolours not tempted you?

A. As a student of Art school, it was mandatory for us to try our hand in various mediums. Outdoor painting, sketching was essential part of our study. A majority of my earlier paintings were watercolours as I was painting outdoors where the light doesn’t stay the same. Watercolour is an excellent medium for that. For the past few years, I felt that my subjects and the sizes I needed to paint go well with acrylic. Watercolours of big sizes are delicate and difficult to preserve.

Q. Your paintings do not have any human figures or even animals (except your painting of the Holy Cow). Is that a conscious decision?

A. I depict a lifestyle through objects which are part of human social life. These subjects are, we can say, the main characters depicted in my paintings. If there are some animals or butterflies in my work, it is because the subject of my painting requires them to be there.


Q. The frames used for your paintings meld with the painting and seem to be a part of your art. For instance, your painting ‘Bell’ has a crimson background with a frame in the same colour. Do you paint the frame after completion of your painting?

A. I paint frames of my paintings after completion.

Q. Before I wind up, our readers/viewers would like to know what you are working on now. When do we see your next solo exhibition and where?

A.  I am presently working on scribbles, a lot of colour sketches as part of the unending search of an artist. There are various subjects I wanted to put differently, which is still an ongoing and a conceptual process. I hope art lovers will appreciate that. I am also planning solo art shows in metropolitan cities of India and internationally.        

The Wise Owl wishes Mr Gopal Pardeshi the best in his artistic journey.