A trip to the beautiful Bhutan last year inspired artist Prakash Ghadge to create his latest series of work, ‘Silence’. “As soon as I returned from Bhutan, I began drawing monks. That’s when I decided I wanted to do a series on meditation,” he says. The artist, who uses only pens and ink, is exhibiting this series at Jehangir Art Gallery until tomorrow.
“It has been 30 years since I first began working with pen and ink,” Ghadge reveals. There aren’t many other artists known for using the medium, claims Ghadge, and that was one of the driving forces behind his choice of medium. “I attended the JJ School of Arts and earned my diploma in ’77. Everyone else was using colours and canvas, and I wanted to do something different.”
Ghadge says his style which is a deviation from another monochromatic style, line drawings is unique. “No one has done this before, I have developed a style of my own. In comparison, my drawings have tonal value whereas line drawings are linear.
They are flat and one-dimensional, but my pen-and-ink drawings have depth. I have developed a way to show shade and light in my drawings too,” says the artist, who knew he wanted to be an artist even as a young boy. “I was fond of drawing since I was a child. I used to sit with my drawing books all day long,” the Mumbai-based artist reminisces. “Even then I enjoyed giving minute details to my drawings.”
Each minute detail that the artist adds is with the help of a Rotering pen. “There are various sizes of the nibs I use 0.2 onwards. I choose the nib according to the size of the painting. Small drawings require smaller nibs. But sometimes, even while I’m working on a large drawing, especially when it’s a more complicated one, I use smaller nibs to give the more minute details.”
Working in the studio all day long, from 9 am to 9 pm, Ghadge has little time to teach his unique style to others. “But I have managed to teach one or two students and they have held exhibitions, too.” Today, Ghadge has held almost 30 to 40 exhibitions, but he still remembers his first. “The theme for my first exhibition was nature. That was way back in 1979, two years after I passed out of JJ School.” The 57 year-old artist is evidently often inspired by nature — his largest creation yet is 3 x 9 feet landscape drawing which portrays trees.
The drawings on exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery have been created over the last year. Each one took a month and a half. “I have tried to draw meditation. I even attended a meditation course at Igatpuri to learn more about the subject,” says Ghadge, who first makes a preliminary sketch on paper on the spot, then takes a photograph of his subject for later reference.
Ask him about his favourite piece of art from this collection and he responds like someone would about their children. “They’re all my favourites – each drawing in the collection is special.