“An artist is not paid for his labour, but for his ideas”

Tell us about your art style, which is called as Pseudorealism. 

Pseudoreal is a term taken from mathematics, but were first used in the context of art by American Film critics to describe such films where something constructed artificially had the effect of reality. Those were days when lot of experimentation in film making was going on. Today it is no longer possible to distinguish a film shot on real ground from something constructed in a studio. In a way the whole world as we get to see it through the 24-7 media, is Pseudorealistic.
But to me, it is simply a style – a style which allows one to use offbeat colours to create works that still retain the freshness and recognizability of a regular realistic art.

Pic Courtesy : Devajyoti Ray

Pic Courtesy : Devajyoti Ray

Have you undertaken any formal training for your artwork? How important you feel it is?

None at all. Though informal trainings, I had plenty. And nothing I guess teaches you better than on-job learnings. When one goes to school to learn something, he/she has to learn everything that the school curriculum has. Without practical application, most of the stuff is forgotten soon. That is why most organisations, companies insist on a period of on-job training, before an employee is fully inducted into the system.
For me everything had been learnt on the job. And the learning continues – from practising artisans, artists, writers, singers, and so on and so forth. It is a never-ending journey.

Have you always been doing the same kind of work, or has it changed over the time? Where all have you exhibited your paintings?

Pseudorealism is quite recent. Ten years now. I had initially started as a water colourist. Then Balraj Panesar, taught me collage making. That was many years ago. Sometime later, I had started making portraits. One which particularly got the attention was of Che Guevara. It was titled “Transmigration of Soul”. I had made many impressionist works.
You can see one of them in my website here
I have started this new style much later but have stuck on to it for the past ten years. It has brought me a lot of appreciation, much beyond my expectation.
I have travelled very little but galleries and art fairs from all over the world often call for my paintings for shows. And since they are calling quite often, I assume that my works have some demand abroad.

Pic Courtesy : Devajyoti Ray

Pic Courtesy : Devajyoti Ray

Generally, how much time does it take to complete a painting?

About three days to a month, depending on size and complexity.

Among various artists, who have been your most important influences?

Many. It is not possible to correctly answer this question. I have studied western renaissance art as also Indian traditional art forms and all these inspired me at various points of time. While Picasso and Van Gogh had once been my favourites, I have also loved the art of Zainul Abedin- a Bangladesh artist much forgotten today, or Ganesh Paine. And to be frank there are many many more.

Pic Courtesy : Devajyoti Ray

Pic Courtesy : Devajyoti Ray

In your opinion, how much has art education evolved in India? What challenges does it face today?

A very important question. There exists in actuality, very little in the form of art education in India. The art schools and colleges that exist in India, often teach nothing beyond painting and sculpting and may be some of the new media.

In the west there is an integration of art schools with regular schools. An art student gets to learn other subjects as well- economics, politics, science. An artist cannot live in a cocoon surrounded by art alone. An artist is a regular human being living in the larger society and reflecting upon it as well.

Unfortunately Indian art colleges are generally isolated islands, where students make art and discuss only art. They do not get the scope to interact academically with students from other fields. Neither do art colleges call teachers from other areas to address the art students. It is a very sad state of affairs.

Pic Courtesy : Devajyoti Ray

Pic Courtesy : Devajyoti Ray

What kind of opportunities you feel are available for an artist in today’s world?

Opportunities are immense. Artists are required in advertisements, films, television and many more areas. Artists can also team up with architects, designers, interior decorators. Art Galleries, auction houses, museums also hire artists.

But if the opportunities are expanding, so are the challenges. Like most other fields, this area too is changing very fast. Skill updation is therefore, a must, to survive in this field.

There is a trend of artists moving into the digital field of graphics and animation. What do you have to say about it?

The digital field of graphics and animation is a very exciting field. Highly creative and challenging. Many artists are indeed moving in that direction. But it may not be all rosy. The industry as I understand, is very demanding and so one should venture in the direction only if one has the passion for it.

Where would one go, should be decided by one’s temperament, socio-economic needs, and skills.

Pic Courtesy : Devajyoti Ray

Pic Courtesy : Devajyoti Ray

What message do you have in mind for the aspiring artists?

In the past, art used to be for the bohemian. It never promised you a stable income. Today things are changing and you may get a stable job as an artist. Nonetheless, compared to other fields, here you mostly work on projects and every time a new project comes up, you have to be creative. In fact you have to be creative all the time.
An artist is not paid for his labour, but for his ideas.
And hence one can survive in this field only with one thing – passion. That is the key word.