Animesh Roy is inspired by the furious passion of Van Gogh, the adventure in Robert Louis Stevenson and the grit in Papillon, by Messner (Reinhold) for being alone with the mountains, the irreverence and bohemia of Henry Miller, the rebellious youths in The Wild One, saying “What are you rebelling against? What’ve you got?”, the sublime serenity of Tagore (Rabindranath) and Ray (Satyajit), and the courage and greatness of the Mahatma (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi).

Born in one of the most artistic places in Bengal, Krishnagar, famous for its clay sculptures, Roy has been crisscrossing since a child as his parents had transferable jobs. A sense of adventure was instilled in him as a child through treks in the Himalayas — “Walking down to Saat Taal and getting lost on the way back in the darkness…..”

Inspiration comes from adventure, travel, meeting people, visiting villages, monasteries, temples, churches, mosques, and graveyards. He would not be able to work in the confines of a comfortable city studio. Though many of his works do get physically done in a studio – the germs are born on the road, while travelling, soaking in.

Roy has been a rebel and a traveller and his natural skills are completely untrained. His artistic growth did get stunted from four years of exile in the Delhi College of Art, trying to get a meaningless ‘art degree’. He planned for a ‘break’ like Papillon succeeding with two back to back solo shows just out of art college in 1992, thus earning the ire of the art critics and his art college professors!

Since then Roy has had several solo shows in major Indian cities and in Europe, with wide spread appreciation from the critics and collectors alike.

Roy travelled to Ladakh in 1995 in the comforts of an aircraft and called it – Travels with a Donkey – a R. L. Stevenson travelogue. He did some 100 drawings in and around Leh.

Then around 1997 he went into a hiatus — reading, learning how to drive and travelling furiously whenever his budget would allow — Nepal, Bhutan, America, Sikkim, Garhwal, Himachal, Rajasthan, Kutch, UP, Bengal, Goa, Madras. He stopped painting and exhibiting, cutting himself off from the ‘art world’ but continued quietly to do pen-and-ink drawings of places visited.

From 1996 to 2004 Roy did extensive pen-and-ink drawing of Delhi’s ruins: Mehrauli, Tughlakhabad, Adilabad, Sri, Sultan Ghari, Old Delhi etc., while constantly planning his next trip to Leh by road via Manali a distance of over 3,000 km from Delhi and back.

In 2004 he went back to Ladakh, this time travelling alone in his jeep, battling severe high altitude sickness, driving through some of the world’s highest altitude roads and passes. He paints this time. Early 2006 he visited Banaras and came back to his studio in Delhi to produce some 30 odd paintings in acrylics on canvas mostly inspired by the spring and summer of Delhi and a new found joy in his heart.

Roy is now back to his first love – painting.

In the summer of 2006 Roy went back to the Himalayas…to the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, painting the waterfalls and mountainscapes in acrylics on canvas. By the time monsoon came he was back to the plains, painting the fields in the villages around Delhi. During this time Roy finally switched to oils… a medium till now avoided by him due to the fear that it was not suited to his temperament! Many wise men had advised him against using oils!! But lately Roy was very unhappy with the results of Acrylic paints.. ‘It’s too muddy and there’s no sparkle’. So he started oils. Initially it was difficult to work outdoors with oils but he has adapted and has been working since in oils.

Roy went to Poland in 2007. It was early spring and the earth was coming back to life after a harsh winter… everyday fresh blades of grass and wild flowers would spurt… soon the landscape was flooded with flowering tress, shrubs, herbs… it was difficult to keep pace with ever-changing landscape.. before you could decide and go back to a spot the flowers have gone and was greeted by something new!

He spent about six months in Poland, travelling and painting. By the time he packed his easel and paints, he had finished about sixty odd works during his sojourn. Most of the works were done in the open air, and when the weather would turn too rough for outdoors, he would do some still life indoors.

Why Poland? Heart has its reason which the mind can’t fathom:

“Adventure is not in the guidebook

and beauty is not on the map. Seek and you shall find.” — Elliot Porter

 Roy is currently painting in Europe….trying to complete his art ‘degree’ in the beautiful landscape and museums of Europe!!