Sixty-five-year-old Ashok Mody, a practicing architect for over 40 years, has been deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi since his childhood. Immense love and admiration for the Father of the Nation coupled with a desire to go beyond the realm of architecture prompted him to start painting nine years ago. His paintings reflect minimalism and graphical representation of his subjects by using bold colours, geometric shapes and vivid strokes.
After conducting his first solo exhibition in 2007, Gandhiji: MyFirst Inspiration, he followed it up with other exhibitions dedicated to the Mahatma along with diverse subjects. His current solo show titled ‘Graphic Expressions’ at Jehangir Art Gallery is an ensemble of his paintings of Gandhiji, Rabindranath Tagore, architectural projects featuring renowned buildings from across the world and common people.
Mody describes it as an exploration of figurative artwork rendered in a highly graphical style. He also uses a glazing technique where thin coats of paint are applied one on top of the other to lend a transparent and layering effect to his paintings.
The sexagenarian says, “This technique also gives a khadi-like texture to the background of my works. Khadi was very dear to Gandhiji.” Quiz him about his obsession with the patriotic leader and he says, “My father was a Gandhian and my entire family was brought up on his philosophy. Paintings on him come naturally to me.” Though Mody has hand painted all his works, he lends them a graphical touch by digitally modifying them. His works almost border on pop art. Mody explains, “I don’t intend doing pop art but I simply like to use bright colours in my works.”
The JJ School of Architecture graduate admits that he never learnt painting but his frequent visits to the adjacent JJ School of Art in his student days helped him to grasp the finer nuances of art. Mody also says that a painting set gifted by his wife and daughter finally helped him take the plunge. While he manages to take time off his busy schedule to follow his passion, he is happy with the way his alternative career has shaped up.
“Now I want to use my vast experience as an architect and paint more buildings,” he signs off.