Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Art As a Career

Krishna Raichur owns a house and drives a luxury car. He flies to work in other cities and
He has secure investments for the future and spends annual vacation time in Scandinavian countries,

What is more, he works from home. He is not a CXO of an IT company or a member of the board of directors of a MNC. He is a painter.

Mohan Seetanur comes from a family of jewelers. However, you can’t find him sitting in his shop. He keeps traveling around the country visiting villages, historical monuments and jungles and streams and sea shores. Once or twice every year, he switches off his mobile phone and sits down to paint. This process goes on for days and what emerges at the end is not only creatively satisfying, but also hugely remunerative. ``My earnings as a professional painter are comfortable. I am not sure if I would make the same amount of money if I were a jeweler,’’ he says. Mr Seetanur should know. He has been a professional painter for three decades now and has never regretted his decision not to join the family business.

``Art is the most satisfying career. Sadly, most middle class parents don’t dream about their children being professional artists,’’ says Karnataka Chitrakala Academy president J S Khanderao. According to him, there is a huge potential for passionate artists who are well trained in different aspects of painting and design creation. ``There was a feeling that there would be no need for creative artists once computers entered the world of art and design. However, the need for good artists has only increased with the increased use of computers and automation,’’ he said.

Creative art, whether it is painting of sculpture is a career that is both satisfying and rewarding, say professionals. ``Artists have always been respected in the society. But now with increasing prosperity, they are being well paid,’’ Mr Khanderao said. Legendary artists like S M Pandit were respected around the world. ``Work of artists like him has increased the understanding of the people about art,’’ he said. Some of the most successful artists of recent years like Manjunath Kamath, G R Iranna, H G Arun Kumar, Yusuf Arakal, Shashidhar Adapa and others have passed out of art schools in the state,’’ Mr Khanderao said.

``A career in fine arts is the most flexible. You can work when you want and from wherever you want,’’ says artist Mallikarjun Bagodi. After a stint as a faculty member in a University, he has taken up research on the design patterns of medieval buildings in rural Karnataka.

``Art brings recognition. That itself is hugely satisfying, says artist Krishna Raichur who designed the site of the Kalburgi Kampu fest held in Gulbarga recently. ``Art has become an integral part of any cultural fest now -a –days. Earlier, Hampi Utsav or other district festivals featured only music and dance. Now, they are incomplete if they don’t have workshops for artists or exhibitions,’’ he said. According to him, apart from satisfying the creative urge of the common public, these efforts motivate young people to take up art as a career.

Mr Raichur is one of the most successful artists in the state. He runs a studio in Bangalore. He also leads a team that acts as consultants to event managers.

Similar is the case of Gulbarga based sculptor Manayya Badiger. He has created a team of 10 sculptors. They take up projects in various districts and in neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Andhra. ``Each of our boys has a decent lifestyle. They have been trained so well that they now employee apprentices,’’ Manayya said.

There is a need to create awareness in the society that art is a rewarding career and that it is natural for young men and women to aspire to be artists, says Mr Khanderao. Artists’ workshops are routinely organized in Hampi Utsav, Kadamba Utsav and Bidar Utsav. The Kannada Sahitya Parishat also organizes art exhibitions during the annual Sammelanas. Private initiatives like Alva’s Nudisiri and Virasat also provide a platform for artists. The academy plans to conduct art appreciation camps in the districts. Mr Khanderao feels these camps will in turn work towards creating awareness about having art as a career.

Art schools
``Art schools that can train students for a career as an art and craft teacher exist in every district. Students who aspire for more should join other reputed schools,’’ says P G Katti, who retired as a craft teacher.

Apart from premier institutions like Chitrakala Parishat and Ken School of Art of Bangalore, Chamarajendra Audio Visual Academy in Mysore, Ideal Fine Arts College of Gulbarga, there are several other fine art schools in the state. Bangalore alone has 60 private fine art schools. At the national level, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, M S University Baroda, Vishwa Bharati in Shanti Niketan, Delhi college of fine arts and J J School of arts of Mumbai are considered institutions to aspire for.

The Hampi Kannada University has an exclusive fine arts and sculpture college in Badami in Bagalkot district. Spread over the hillocks of the world heritage site of Badami, the college offers an unparalleled ambience.

Bachelor and post graduate degrees are offered by Karnataka University Dharwad, Bangalore, Mysore and Gulbarga Universities, Kuvempu and Mangalore Universities. Tumkur University offers a Bachelor degree in fine arts. A few affiliated colleges of the Karnataka State Women’s University also offer courses in Fine Arts.

Apart from creative art, there are several applied art related fields that require the service of trained artists. Architecture and landscaping, machine design, website creation and content management, animation, films, preservation of paintings and monuments, event management,
museum maintenance, and art archiving. There are several institutions that train students in art and sculpture.

-Rishikesh Bahadur Desai -

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