Shirish Despande

ss1 Inferno Morning-at-CST

Born in Belgaum, educated in G.D. Art (Applied), after  about 27 years of designing for various people he came to the conclusion that he needed an outlet that would help him realize his creative potential in a more satisfying way. Art for him became the most meaningful part of his life and a source of much fun and relaxation. He hopes that his paintings serve as a channel of expression and help the viewer understand his inner conflicts, fears, and tensions as well as his aspirations, hopes, and ideals. Apart from oil and acrylic mediums, he also makes fine artworks using color ball point pens.. He works with a range of subjects. He likes to work in both realistic and abstract styles. He is a popular Ballpoint pen artist and was listed 9th in top 100 ballpoint pen artists of the world in 2010. One of his drawings was chosen for an international calendar by artwanted.com for year 2010. His art has been featured in TV programs on ETV (2011) and Zee TV (2012). One of his ballpoint pen drawings was selected by AIFACS, Delhi for the annual art competition. (2013). He has fans all over the world who like his artworks .His artworks are in collection of various art lovers in India, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada and USA.

What is your perception about art?
    Art for me is food for the soul. It encompasses my whole being, saturates the soul. Art inspires, illuminates, encourages, surprises, excites, provokes, calms, elevates emotionally as well as spiritually and connects soul to soul. On seeing my art, if the viewer experiences even one of these emotions, then we connect soul to soul.

When you make a piece of art , usually there are a set parameters or rules to 
follow , what rules do you follow or what is your perspective on rules and art ?
    As an artist the process of creating the artwork is important to me but I refuse to accept the limitations imposed by rules. I want to work in all styles, mediums and delve through many subjects and then draw conclusions at my own pace. I started to “paint” with the ball point pen. I have found that even a simple ball pen with its fine line has a huge potential in allowing the artist to express his or her thoughts and emotions. It is very challenging to create innumerable tones by combining the limited available colors in ball point pens. I need to draw millions of lines to make my painting come alive!

 I see a shift of work from realistic or figurative to more abstractive aproach towards your art how do you feel or rather what leads it there?
 Standing for a long time with a bad posture while making my ballpoint pen drawings, I  started having severe back pain .In search for a permanent cure without medicines, I came across a healing program based on Yoga and meditation. These exercises and meditation lead to having some visualizations filled with vibrant energy. I felt that there is so much going on inside the body that the urge to look outside for inspiration became meaningless for me. When I restarted my work, my very first work was an abstract of a new style. I did not plan or draw anything to begin with. I did not use a palette. Just inspired by a certain color, and I poured it directly on the canvas. I used large size brushes, a special plastic tool with a zigzag edge that I made, a roller to spread the color. When I painted, I was just a third person watching it happen. I enjoyed 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. I am using acrylic colors for my abstracts.

From ballpoint to acrylics , what are the other mediums you use and what is your favorite medium ?
    I also work with Oil colors. In oils, I love the dry brush technique. It allows me to create expressive textures with so much ease. 

What are the subjects that you use to incorporate your expressions 
in the compositions of your paintings?
    My subject matter deals with landscapes, portraits, abstracts as well as 
stylizations. Light plays a very important role in creating the required 
drama to draw the viewer in to my world. It could be a rustic village home 
or then dancing crops against a dramatic skyline. Towering boulders take
 my breath away. I paint with the motive that I finally achieve the result I 
initially have in my mind.  Simple subject matter, good composition, 
boldness of forms, delicate line work and a little dramatization play a key role in the impact, my art has on the viewer.

I know that unlike other artists, you love to share your knowledge
and opinions about art and art scenario with anyone who is 
interested, what do you feel about other’s take on this ? and what
gives you more satisfaction ?
    Whatever I have done so far in fine art is without any formal 
training. I was trained as an applied artist and you know that the 
skills required for fine art painting are completely different. The 
basic training of drawing, perspective and finishing of course 
comes in handy, but then as I stayed in a very small town, I had nobody to share my thoughts and discuss any doubts. So I bought a lot of books and studied and tried to get answers also through the internet. I also added my own experience of 30 years to it. With this I came to a conclusion that there are no secrets in visual art. Whatever we see in front of our eyes is all that is. The stories behind the creation may be different for each artwork and it has to be so for it to be a unique creation. So I felt strongly that I must share my thoughts about my work openly with others. It may become a source of motivation or inspire someone. I have met many artists who have found their niche. They are fearless of others copying their work. Technique can be learnt with practice but the spontaneity can never be copied. Also if your work is being copied by someone, it is a sign of success of your work. I believe that certain characteristics I am born with is my unique genetic material which nobody can copy. So why not be fearless? I enjoy my work, every stage of it. And when I finish a painting or a drawing the final ecstasy is beyond description in words. The joy is so overwhelming that I cannot stop myself from sharing it with others. I feel so much connected with the whole of the universe and the thought that it has been watching me all the time makes me wonder that there is really no place to hide my feelings. On the other hand I have met many artists who are unwilling to share thoughts about their work. May be they have no language skills to put down their thoughts or they may be worried about being copied.

What are your thoughts on art as an investment?
Art as investment is subjective. I mean to say, it is an option to own art. 
An art lover   buys a painting for his own satisfaction. But an investor buys
is to make a profit from it in the future. Indian buyer is yet to buy his own 
art leave aside art as investment. Like “born” artists, even art lovers are 
also “born” in India. It is because, there is no formal art appreciation, 
aesthetics study in our primary or secondary school education. This 
subject is much needed. But with growing economy I hope that people 
will have spare money and inclination to buy more art.

 What would you like to say to other artists and art lovers out there?
  I have very high regards for all my fellow artists, who put in hours of hard work without thinking about the sales. I wish these efforts are given due recognition and monetary  returns for the artist to survive. Every artist, like anyone else has to pay his or her monthly bills, for the art material, and to make all ends meet, to run the family. How many are lucky enough to have support from his or her spouse? I wish the art lovers realize that the artist needs appreciation of his art but at the end of the day he also needs money to make his dinner.

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