Sunday, May 01, 2011

Art As A Career

The Hindu

Monday, Feb 07, 2011

Art offers a wide canvas of jobs

There is a huge potential for artists trained in painting and design creation.
Photo: G. Rajeshwara Chari

Follow the heart:Artists have always been in demand, and with increasing prosperity, they are well paid.
Mohan Seetanur comes from a family of jewellers. However, you can't find him sitting in his shop. He keeps travelling 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 is not only a creatively satisfying, but also hugely remunerative career. “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 jeweller,'' he says. He has been a professional painter for three decades 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 or sculpture, is a career that is both satisfying and rewarding, say professionals. “Artists have always been respected in society. Now, with increasing prosperity, they are being well paid,” Mr. Khanderao said. Legendary artists such as S.M. Pandit were respected around the world.

“The works of artists like him has increased the understanding of the people about art,'' he said. Some of the most successful artists of recent years, including Manjunath Kamath, G.R. Iranna, H.G. Arun Kumar, Yusuf Arakkal and Shashidhar Adapa, have passed out of art schools in Karnataka.

“A career in fine arts is 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. Art has become an integral part of any cultural fest nowadays. Apart from satisfying the creative urge of the common public, these efforts motivate young people to take up art as a career.

Krishna Raichur 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 Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. “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 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 organised in Hampi Utsav, Kadamba Utsav and Bidar Utsav.

The Kannada Sahitya Parishat also organises art exhibitions during the annual Sammelanas. Private initiatives such as 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 train students for a career as art and craft teacher exist. Students who aspire for more should join reputed schools,'' says P.G. Katti, who retired as a craft teacher.

Apart from premier institutions such as Chitrakala Parishat and Ken School of Art of Bangalore, Chamarajendra Audio Visual Academy in Mysore, and Ideal Fine Arts College of Gulbarga, there are several other fine art schools in Karnataka. Bangalore alone has 60 private fine art schools. At the national level, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad; M.S. University, Baroda; Vishwa Bharati in Santiniketan; Delhi College of Fine Arts; and J.J. School of Arts, 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's and postgraduate degrees are offered by Karnatak University, Dharwad, and Bangalore, Mysore, Gulbarga, Kuvempu and Mangalore universities. Tumkur University offers a bachelor's 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. They include 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.

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