Journalist turned painter and writer Prakash Joshi
I caught up with an old friend and fellow journalist Prakash Bal Joshi after nearly a quarter century. He was visiting Naperville in his avatar as a rapidly rising painter. The thing with Prakash is that he always looked like a painter. It is just as well that his creative preoccupations have now caught up with his looks.
In a piece that wrote about him on this blog on January 15, 2011, this is what I said:
Prakash Bal Joshi always had a ruminant face. Sitting in the press gallery of Maharashtra’s state assembly, watching the political theater play out below in the well of the house, Prakash would look bemused in a troubled sort of way. In retrospect I think he was more troubled by the lack of aesthetics in the way the legislators behaved than why they did so. I think he was looking at the scene as a painter and trying to make an artistic sense out of it.
That was in the 1980s when he was easily among the best political journalists in Bombay. Not that some twenty years later he has become any less of a political observer; it is just that he has emerged more as a quietly captivating painter and designer.
“My only interest now is all things creative. They give me energy. They liberate me,” Prakash tells me. You can see both energy and a sense of liberation on his face and his demeanor. Like his paintings and artworks Prakash betrays no sense of hurry. It was that lack of hurry that took him to Kailash and Man Sarovar in June last year where at 20,000 plus feet in the Himalayas, unable to sleep, he woke up at 3 a.m. and photographed a stunning moon.
Among the more interesting things that Prakash and I talked about were details such as the physical longevity of his canvasses. He makes a point that is particularly relevant for young artists who want to sell globally. “Serious art collectors are very particular about details such as the quality of canvas and that of the paints that one uses. They acquire works with the idea that they would physically last at least a century and half,” he says.
“My canvases come from Europe which are now available in Mumbai. I have to pay great attention to the quality of paints to ensure that they do not begin to crack or chip,” he says.
Serious painters also need some basic knowledge of chemistry in order to know what might happen to colors over a period of time.
Another point that Prakash makes is about how he has had to reorient his thinking from being an artist doing his art for the sake of it to someone who has to be conscious of the market and marketing. “Many painters will tell you that painting is perhaps 20 percent of the work. The rest is marketing and creating a buzz,” he says.
He says he is not comfortable doing that but during the past ten years or so he has learned to leverage the worldwide web to make his presence felt within the art circuit. “But I still make sure that I retain my complete freedom and not let anyone else tell me what to do,” he says.
I am fortunate that Prakash has agreed to show my own digital artworks to his network of professionals. “Why should you make the mistakes that I made?” is his logic. That is gracious.
Deepblue by Prakash Joshi
Oil On Canvas
Dimensions : 36 x 24 inches