Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Compliments and Comments

The editors of IQ Magazine wrote to tell me that Prajwal Parajuly, the author of the story that I had illustrated, liked my illustration so much that he had 'pasted it all over Facebook'. I found Prajwal's page and saw what he had written:

The November issue of The Indian Quarterly has an extract from LAND WHERE I FLEE, my novel. One of my favorite characters in the book -- a beedi-smoking badass octogenarian Nepali-Indian grandma from Gangtok -- has been so accurately and amazingly interpreted by the artist that I want to sit down with the fascinating artist for a coffee. Notice the cigarette, the ring stretching the septum and the loose end of her sari covering Chitralekha Neupaney's head -- the uneasy marriage of demurity and brazenness...'

I don't often get appreciation from the authors whose stories I illustrate. More often than not, when the subject is women, it is typically and unimaginatively about suffering and sacrifice where I resort to the asked for formula of bent head and bleak colours. Therefore, it was wonderfully refreshing to read a story extract from Land Where I Flee and illustrate the wily Chitralekha Neupaney with her beedi, ensconced within an atmosphere of intrigue. 
I am waiting to get my hands on the book - Land Where I Flee.


One day, during a Google search, I chanced upon this beautiful image of a princess dancing. The artist who created that image was Clive Hicks-Jenkins, a name I was not familiar with. Some more Google searches revealed that he was a very well-known Welsh artist whose paintings on Google images had me hooked for days. 

Mr. Hicks-Jenkins also keeps an Artlog where he documents his process in creating all the many wonderful things that he does. There is always an erroneous perception that artists simply whip up their work out of thin air. But creating art is work, sheer donkey work and very few artists, caught up in the frenzy of creating, have the patience to document their usually exhausting process. Clive Hicks-Jenkins however does that and watching him build up step by step from basic to marvellous is as riveting as reading an engrossing detective novel.

A few days ago I was surprised to find an email by Mr.Hicks-Jenkins in my inbox. He had actually come over to my blog and looked through my work. Here are some of the nice things that he had to say -

First of all, I LOVE your work. Just wanted you to know that. The images for Current Conservation are beautiful. Direct, elegant, harmonious and vividly conjured.

This gorilla skull is magnificent!
But you do 'tender' beautifully too, as in those gorgeous images of boats on a dark sea.
I don't know what happened to make you disable comments. Something bad perhaps. If that's the case, then I'm so sorry. You should be fielding praise for what you do. I love it. LOVE it. Just sayin'.

Keep up the good work.

When I have Clive Hicks-Jenkins asking what happened to the comments section, I just quietly put it back.

When I read appreciation like this, I think wow and I am reminded how far I've come since the days I landed back on Indian shores with a fresh post-grad from a distant country and to a dubious family. Nobody really knew what illustration was then let alone the possibilities it could open up apart from 'diagrams' for how to sow seeds in a farmer's catalogue or pictures in textbooks for school children. I was desperate for encouragement and appreciation then, but the things we chase with anxiousness always elude us.
Enjoying and improving my drawing however, has resulted in surprising by-products. Suddenly door after door has opened up and I am heaped with praise, not Facebook likes or idiotic numbers, though I get that too, but emails from bloggers, other artists and authors, who take some of their precious time to tell me how much they appreciate my work and that they avidly follow my blog. During such moments these days, I realize that I am happy for a while and I am truly encouraged by such words, but it is also during these moments that I am also very aware of the fact that I am blessed to be given the time, the privilege and the peace of mind to draw. 
Nothing else really matters.


Aarohi Singh said...

I love what the entire blog post says - all of it and so much more is so well deserved by you.

But the clincher for me are your last lines. That says so much more about you and your passion.
- That is why the imagery you create is something that touches so many.
- That is why the art you work and sometimes labour over seems so effortless and powerful.
- It has soul. All of it. And someone somewhere connects to it every time.
- Most of your work that I like actually is like a snapshot in my head - so alive and vibrant - so hard to get out of my head.

I am so very proud to know you and call you my friend.

Karine Swenson said...

First of all, I am glad that the comments are back!

You deserve the praise, because you stick with it, and work hard, and you have grown so much since I first saw your work. (how long ago has that been now?)

"...I am even happier drawing in peace. Nothing else really matters." AMEN, Sister!!!

Great post.

pRiyA said...

Aarohi, thank you for your comments which are always nicely worded and put across with so much thought and sincerity. I value what you have to say because unlike a randomly worded 'cool' or a 'lovely' which are a dime a dozen, you take time and thought to explain why you are saying what you do. That is what matters to me.

pRiyA said...

Karine, thank you. Isn't it wonderful to watch each others progress in this strange virtual world?
I think I first started blogging in 2007 and that is when I stumbled on your blog. You would comment on each one of my posts and they encouraged me so much then. I am glad you wish me well in all these years as I do for you.

ArtPropelled said...

Priya, I'm cheering from way over here! Your work is so expressive, so unique, you deserve plenty recognition.... and so glad your comment box is back. I've enjoyed following the links and re-visiting your illustrations. This one of the beedi-smoking badass octogenarian takes the cake! I'm wondering what she is thinking... or maybe I don't want to know.

pRiyA said...

Thank you Robyn! :-)


Dear PriyA, my english is poor, but I hope you can feel my admiration and affection. Your art and your blog are a source of confrontation and exchange...
Thank you for sharing your photos, your way of working, your doubts, your success....
Looking forward :)
Best wishes

pRiyA said...

Thank you for your lovely comment and your sentiments Cristina. Your English is fine!
I too look forward to another year full of the wonderful things you share on your blog.