That '70s Bombay
Bengaluru-based cartoonist and illustrator Paul Fernandes is all set to open aPaulogy, a 700-square-feet cartoon gallery in Mumbai, on December 14 at Worli, exhibiting watercolor prints of vintage Bombay
Paul Fernandes considers himself lucky for having discovered his interest in cartooning early in life.
Bawa Nu Bliss
It happened as a student, when he was punished for making a funny drawing of his Hindi teacher.
“I’ve been drawing and painting ever since then and I’ve enjoyed the journey so much that I have no wish to reach the destination in a hurry...I work very hard to lead a laid-back life in Bengaluru,” chuckles the 58-year-old cartoonist and illustrator.
After his schooling at the St. Joseph’s Boys School, Bengaluru, he studied at the Faculty of Fine Art, MS University, Baroda.
An illustrated work, titled Master tailor
He went on to create a prolific oeuvre of creative and commercial art and also worked in advertising for over 25 years, including at the Mumbai-based agency Trikaya (now referred to as Grey Advertising).
A cutout depicting the ubiquitous BEST bus of Mumbai
In 2012, Fernandes opened aPaulogy, a gallery of curious memories tucked away in a quiet corner of Bengaluru’s Clarke Road. It housed 70 drawings of the city depicting how it looked in the 1970s.
Artist Paul Fernandes at aPaulogy posing with two of his creations. Pics/Sameer Markande
“It takes people back to a legendary period, to mellower, laid-back times. These drawings started when our family home with 40 fruit trees came down to make way for modern apartments,” he reminisces.
An illustrated work by Paul Fernandes, titled Wallah art
Now, Fernandes is setting up the aPaulogy gallery in Mumbai on December 14. It will showcase 100 watercolour prints covering four cities as well as art merchandise inspired by his memories of time spent in Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore and Bengaluru.
“The art merchandise highlights amusing incidents set against realistic backgrounds of vanishing landscapes and showcases a slice of life in the city,” he shares.
The prints evoke a spirit of nostalgia and aim to tickle your funny bone. The light-hearted images depict the city in an idyllic light and are filled with landmarks ranging from schools and colleges, to churches and theatres, bars and restaurants, tree-lined avenues and monkey-topped bungalows. This gallery will be owned and managed by Kanchan and Shyam Ganatra.
Quiz the illustrator on why he chose to open a gallery in the city and he explains, “I spent four glorious, impressionable years living and working in South Bombay during the late ‘70s. Its heritage structures, with the constant buzz of a vibrant street life around them were inspiration enough to do a lot of drawing in Mumbai over the years. Other collections of similar drawings in Goa, Mangalore and Bengaluru come together in this new gallery to provide happy, simple recollections of these places.”
On offer at the gallery will be magnets, mugs, playing cards, notebooks, bookmarks, coasters, posters, water prints and laptop bags. There is a furniture line as well which offers coffee tables and chairs.
Fernandes mentions that he is inspired to make images of cities due to the constant changes they undergo: “I can’t think of other cities across the world that have changed in such a whirlwind fashion as some in India. Travelling across our cities is like visiting an ever-changing cartoon exhibition that invites people to view it, talk, write, draw and paint it. It invites criticism.” He says that while our cities surge ahead, the ever-growing populations dragged in their wake offer much food for humour.
The need to conserve reflects through Fernandes’ artworks. He observes how many roads were originally designed for walkers, cyclists, horse-drawn carts and only the occasional car or bus: “So, while they will always morph with time and change, it would be good to see basic needs like good footpaths and safe bicycle lanes restored to what they used to be a few years ago. And to see our heritage of trees and the green cover protected.”
Opens December 14
At Mohatta Bhavan, near Geeta Cinema, Dr E Moses Road, Worli.
Log on to www.facebook.com/aPaulogyGallery
Cost Rs 200 to Rs 12,000
Products at aPaulogy
(Above and below)There will be a limited range of furniture on offer including coffee tables; other products on display include sling bags, notebooks, coffee mugs and laptop bags
Sketches from Bengaluru
“The next generation is pleasantly surprised and a bit shocked to learn of the way their laid-back ancestors lived. I am fascinated by the words, ‘Do you remember...!’. They have a way of being spoken when people are relaxed and not in a mad rush. They are the precursor to a witty story, a quirky memory or some wildly amusing anecdote. These words are what aPaulogy has begun to mean to me.”