Archives for category: Painting

In the room the women come and go,

Talking of Michaelangelo. 

― T.S. Eliot

The sight of ‘Artists’, grossly overweight, in designer clothes, attending art shows, sipping cocktails… talking in gibberish English, everyday of the year!

Sometimes I do miss that sight?!!

Who are these people crowding the art scene? They don’t smell of turpentine or linseed oil… their hands are clean and perfumed… Not the kind which has prepared clay or has ever picked up the chisel and hammer to sculpt…

Once upon a time an artist had a face, one could recognise― a face and a body evolved and tempered by his work. Now these bunch of sissies look they have come straight from the hairdresser to attend an Indian wedding!!

So who are these jokers?

These are actually members of a club!! A club meant only for the phonies, fakes and the pretentious… going around in disguise of artists, curators, art gallery owners, art critics, art connoisseurs, celebrities, pretentious buyers and collectors… they corner most part of the pie.. from government aids in form of scholarships, to getting lucrative art projects and large commission based works viz. murals, designing pavilions in trade shows, state sponsored art projects, art books etc. to shows around the world and getting gallery bookings (in public galleries) without waiting in the queue etc. They are visible on page 3 of daily newspapers or on TV, and they are regularly invited to attain art shows…

This leaves the rest, the ones who had talent, went to art college with real interest in art and have been working in their respective fields sincerely, to struggle on…

Art and artists have their share of problems… from non-artist pretending to be artist, hogging the lime light and the real talent getting sidelined; gallery owners duping young upcoming artists and art-critics writing praises for a bottle of whisky.. we have faced it all.. and continue to..

These self-appointed artists are so well-connected and entrenched in the society that they can easily get gallery bookings, get the media to advertise and most importantly influence the potential buyers into buying works from their curated shows.. and in return pocket a cut from the sale!! Some of these curators seeing the immense sale from art shows these days in India have now started to paint!! It is not difficult.. splash ‘the-quick-drying-acrylic-paint’ on large canvases.. get them framed well.. title the show with a bombastic name, write an incomprehensible account of the works on the catalogue.. hold mammoth a show..and you are a celebrity painter with everyone singing praises of your work and talent!! You have sold all your works at an exuberant price!! And next year the Government will take notice of ‘your talent’ and may buy some of your works for their Museums or Government offices etc. or send you to some foreign land for an art show!! You will heard telling all and sundry that you are ‘an unique combination of being the first certified art curator of India and an artist’!!

I think the Internet has finally given ‘us’ a chance, a voice and a means to showcase our works and survive without selling our soul. We must utilize this medium and fight back… for we have nothing to lose but everything to gain by exposing these bunch of phonies, fakes and the pretentious.

Art can also be a medium of protest for just causes… Cartoons: Art of Protest… ideally who else, but an artist can do that well?!!  And artists can lead the society to a better life.. art can show the mirror image of the society we live in…

The cartoon has been reproduced here with the kind permission of © Manoj Kureel


We, the artist community face problems like any other.. Artists are part of the society and their participation in it is vital.. And in the present socio-economic condition of the world one shouldn’t be only attending art openings wearing designer wear and sipping wine!!


Logbook of an Unknown Artist

 Art of Animesh Roy

 

Still Life with Vase, Baigun & LemonsOil on Linen52×442012

For Sale

Still life with Apples and Oranges

Oil on Linen

65X50 cm

May 2012

For Sale

 

 

 

Still Life with Blue Vase, Apples & Lemons

Oil on Linen

62×52 cm approx.

(Painted edge to edge of the canvas)

2012

For Sale

 

Still Life with Oranges-IIOil on Linen68×58 cm approx.(Painted edge to edge of the canvas/Sides painted etc.)

May 2012

For Sale

 

Still Life with Blue Vase & Oranges23.2×23.2 Inches58x58cm approx.Oil on Linen

28 June 2012

For Sale

Untitled

 

40x40cm

Oil on Linen

26-27 June 2012

For Sale



 
Old OaksOil on Linen32 x 32 cmJuly-Aug 2012

For Sale

Old Oaks-II

Oil on Linen
32 x 31 cm

July-Aug 2012

For Sale

Blossoming Almond Trees39x30cmOil on LinenMay 2012

For Sale

Zaniemysl Lake-IIOil on Linen18x18cm7.1x 7.1 inches

2012

For Sale

 

Zaniemysl Lake16.5 x16.5cmOil on Canvas2012

For Sale

 

Blossming Wild Cheery Trees Oil on Linen35x31cm approx.April 2012

For Sale

 

 

 

IrisesOil on Linen24x24cm9.4×9.4 inches

2012

For Sale

 

 

Lotus Oil on Canvas29×28 Inches74cm x 71cm

Oct 2009

For Sale



Blossming Wild Cheery Trees-II Oil on Linen35x31cm approx.April 2012

For Sale

 

Blossoming Wild Cherry Trees-V75x35cm approx.
Oil on Linen
April 2012
For Sale



Little Pond, next to River Warta 54x50cmOil on Linen2012

For Sale

 

House with Yellow Roof and Line of Trees on Farmland 68 x 68 cmOil On LinenApril 2012

For Sale

Tuscan Landscape Oil on Linen65 x 60 cm22-23 March 2012

For Sale

 

Olive Garden-II Oil on Linen21 x 21 cm2011-12

For Sale

 

Water and Land-II 100x81cm39.4×31.9 inchesOil on Linen

Jan-Feb2012

For Sale

 

Early Morning Mist Over the Lake 100x81cm 39.4×31.9 inches Oil on Linen

Jan-Feb2012

For Sale

 

 

 

 

Himalaya 100x81cm39.4×31.9 inchesOil on Linen

Jan-Feb2012

For Sale

Water and Land 100x81cm39.4×31.9 inchesOil on Linen

Jan-Feb2012

For Sale

 

Old Farmhouse with Path 23x18cm approx. Oil on Linen 10 June 2011Painted on Location For Sale

 

Reflection-1 50x40cm Oil on LinenSept 2008

For Sale

 

 

Blossoming Acacia-3 Oil on Linen62×60 cm aprox23 May 2011

Painted on Location

For Sale

 

Awaiting-II, Oil on Canvas 73×60 cm /28.7×23.6 inches Nov. 2010Painted on Location For Sale
‘Awaiting-2’ is one of the nudes from a series that i have been working on for over a year now…

 

Poppy and Vetch Fields, Oil on Linen 70cm x 40cm 2007 SOLD
Yellow Roses /Roses, Poznan, Poland Oil on Linen 30cm x 30cm / 11.8×11.8 inchesMay 2007 For Sale
Blue Sky – Poppy Fields, Oil on Linen 33cm x 24cm Year: 2007 Poznan Poland Painted on Location For Sale

 

Birch Trees and Summer Flowers,  Oil on Linen 41cm x 33cm 2007Painted on Location For Sale

 

 

 

Landscape, Oil on Linen 40cmx40cm/15.7″x15.7″ February 2009 For SaleFor SalePainted with knife—like most of my works. A thick impasto, almost like a relief sculpture. This one has very broad and clear strokes. I don’t like to rework on my oils.. most are done very spontaneously without too much rubbing or layers.

 

Snowscape-2, Oil on Linen 40X50cm 2 January 2009Poznan, Poland Painted on Location For Sale
Autumn-2, Oil on Linen 40x40cm, Year: 2008Poznan, Poland Painted on Location For Sale
Reflection, Autumn70x 70 cm27.6×27.6 InchesOil on Linen
4 Nov 2011

Painted on Location

For Sale

 

Reflection, Autumn70x 70 cm 27.6×27.6 Inches, Oil on Linen4 Nov 2011

Painted on Location

For Sale

 

Autumn, Oil on Linen 41x33cm October 2008Poznan, PolandPainted on Location

For Sale

White Birches  Oil on Linen 30cm x 30cm 2007 SOLD
Poppies and Old House oil on canvas 50cm x 40cm SOLD
Irises and Farm House Oil on Linen 33cm x 24cm 2007 For Sale Painted sitting at my friend Gosia’s farm. Summer 2007. Poznan, Poland.
Irises-II Oil on Linen 30cm x 30cm Poznan, Poland 2007 Painted on LocationFor Sale

 

Waterscape-II 74X71cm Oil on Canvas SOLD

 

Kalina Flowers (viburnum flowers) and A Window Oil on Linen 59X47cm June 2010 Painted on LocationFor Sale
Alone In Bed-2 Oil on Linen 24x30cm 20 Feb 2010Poznan, Poland For Sale

 


You can buy my paintings online  

Just contact me

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

animesu@gmail.com 

 

 

 
 
 

or

 

 
 

call me

 

 
 

0048608619555

 

 

 

 
 

and tell me your selection. 

 

 I provide Free Shipping Worldwide!!

 

 

+

 My Etsy & DaWanda Shop is finally opened!!

Now you can directly buy my works… right from the artist’s studio!!

Free Shipping Worldwide by EMS*!!

 *EMS is an international postal Express Mail Service, for documents and merchandise, offered by postal operators of the Universal Postal Union (UPU).

 http://www.etsy.com/shop/AnimeshRoy

 http://en.dawanda.com/shop/Animesh-Roy

You can view my works here..

http://www.artists.de/animeshroy.html

http://www.animeshroy.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/animeshroy/http://facebook.com/animeshroy

 You can read my blogs here..

http://royanimesh.blogspot.com/

https://animeshroydotorg.wordpress.com/


MF Husain died today… but for some he was never there…

Many years back MF Husain, was seen uncomfortably moving around our Art College¹ office courtyard… And our ‘art professors’ were seen peeping through their ‘office’ windows… it was our break time. I was sitting on the grassy lawns of our campus with some of my friends. It looked so uncomfortably stupid… here was this Art College in the heart of nation’s capital, and in here had come an iconic artist…( I don’t know the reason why). And no one was brave enough to go upto him, talk to him etc. During our lunch break all of us would be setting on the lawns, on the courtyard steps or in the canteen. We all watched this iconic artist strolling around uncomfortably… not knowing what to do.. maybe he was waiting for his appointment with some one..or he may had come to meet the principal or something…

Photo courtesy of © Pankaj Sharma

As I watched this lanky man amble around.. and all eyes watching him in awe… I decided with my friends to go over to him and invite him to sit with us on the lawns.. I went upto him, and he agreed and came and sat with our group of about 4 friends!! I still remember the peeping art professors turning red!!

By the way our art teachers made sure never to invite any of the ‘real artists’ from the outside world, ever to interact with the students for fear of their stature getting more dwarfed than from their already pygmy sizes!!

We all sat down and treated him as one of our friends.. he had no airs and spoke as one of us.. we asked if he would have tea and he readily agreed!! I ran towards our canteen… and reaching the counter hollered:

“Kamal (he was our canteen owner and chef!! who could rustle up lovely tea, samosa, bread pakora, rice, dal, kardhi…) make tea… 5 cups! Jaldi!!” and Kamal with a dour face replied:

“No milk!!”

 I shouted “Kamal we have MF Husain.. please!!”

 Kamal hearing this got equally excited and enthusiastically replied:

 “No problem!! We’ll make black tea.. Husain Saab loves black tea!!”

 So we rushed back with our black tea and had tea with MF Husain!!

 Of course I become more unpopular with my college staff… and had to struggle through my stay there for 4 long years²…

******************************************************************************************************

*MF Husain died today (9 June 2011)?! 

But for some he was never there.. so the heading of my essay reads — ‘MF Husain Is Dead… Today?!!’ (2011-06-09) This blog was written when I heard the news of Husain’s death last summer. Indian Art Collectors (a well know art website) was kind enough to publish it then. The extraordinarily beautiful portrait of MF Husain was taken by Pankaj Sharma, also an alumni of Delhi Art College. He has kindly agreed to let me publish it here.

¹Delhi Art College, New Delhi, India

 ²1986-90


Wheat Harvest, Early Summer Noida Villages, India Oil on Canvas, 38.5cm x 38.5cm, April 2008. SOLD

Some paintings do have a story… this one sure does have one…

It was my first of series of paintings I did in the plein air just before the wheat harvest.. in fields along Yumuna river in Noida (UP).

I went in with my painting equipments etal in the late afternoon …as the April sun can be very strong early on.. I found the wheat just the right colour.. whitish yellow, ripen..and the plant golden yellow.

Finding a spot i went about starting my work… working in oils is always messy and complicated… and doing it outdoors can be sometimes tormenting!! I was quite happy this painting came out well… some don’t and then there is a struggle to make it well..and I hate that moment..when the painting is not getting the right look!! Thus immersed in work, trying to finish the painting, when i noticed a small girl standing close to my elbow… and she blurted out a startled “Hello!!” I realised on the road next to the fields was a big black car and next to it her parents… all ogling at me…

Crowds, passerby coming up and asking questions is part of plein air adventure.. unless it’s the police..or the military..which can be sometimes messy!!

When I smiled at them, they all trooped in and the usual conversation started…

“Wow! lovely!! you just did that…? We saw you when going towards our farmhouse an hour back… you paint so fast, do you sell? etc etc”.

They went away promising to come over to my studio and buying… (which of course they never did!!)

By the time I cleaned brushes, palette and packed up, it was dark and i dumped all paints, oils, easels into the back seat and only the wet painting in the dickey of the car… the biggest problem of oil is to bring back wet painting home safely… my work is thick impasto..with fresh colours like a relief..a kind of a torte!! and one little touch or it getting softly rubbed will completely spoil it..

I kept the wet canvas on the floor of the car dickey.. which i generally keep empty.

On the way home i stooped by for some tea at my friend’s small tea shop next to the fields.. back home i didn’t want to open the dickey in the dark and bring out the wet canvas and carry it three floors up.. so left it to do so the next day. Rest of my painting gear lies always in the car.

Next day I had some work in the day in Delhi so I left in my car and after finishing my work I drove straight back to the Noida fields… I started a new work as soon as I reached without even taking out the wet one lying in the dickey..so that once done I can lineup the two works and compare and also do the last minute touch ups..

So once done with the second painting i went to my car to open the dickey.. to take out the painting.. and what I saw broke my heart!! In the night i hadn’t realised the existence of an old stupid empty plastic bottle!! which had been using the wet canvas as a dance floor…

So here it was, a finished work had a plastic bottle rolling all over it the whole time i was driving back home and then to Delhi and back…

Many of my works are very spontaneous..and I don’t rub and repaint over and over.. I like the strokes to show… and here all those lovely thick impasto were all smothered!!  It had never happened before..in this scale.. though it does happen.

Anyway with a dogged determination I went about recreating…I don’t like to sit on a work which I have once finished…

At the end though I doubt anybody can make out that this painting had a makeover?!! Can you?

you can view my works here..
http://www.artists.de/animeshroy.html
http://www.animeshroy.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/animeshroy/
http://facebook.com/animeshroy
http://royanimesh.blogspot.com

This is a list* of paintings I have sold so far: 2009-10-11; its a signal to all my well-wishers that am still eating and staying afloat in this prolonged financial mess!!

I am no ‘paint-by-night-sell-by-day-acrylic-on-canvas-artist’!!

I have never hung on (like parasites do) to an art institutionº or go from one Foreign Aid/ Scholarship to another to stay afloat.. I have never tired to get into any art college do my ‘Masters’ and more!!

I didn’t had to create Video Art, installation art etc. to stay in news…

I have kept it simple by the old fashion way, old school style of painting and painting with Oils (mostly) on Linen – the classic time-tested medium of the Masters!! My paintings are simple and the titles are kept as simple as possible… using the the KISS theory: Keep-It-Simple-Stupid!! I know I could have sold more if my paintings were titled say ‘Metamorphosis’¹ and not ‘Yellow Rose in Blue Vase’!!

 I don’t go into the territory of ‘Fantasia Art’ or ‘Naive Art’ (or is it ‘Child Art’?)²

I don’t try to take on the Folk or Tribal³ art and reinvent them!!

 **********************************

ºArt institutions & Art Scholarships

 I went to art college, just after my school years.. I was young and naive then… but realised the first day in there, that I haven’t got anything much to learn here… so once I complete my 4 years I ran as fast as I could!! To start my real learning of art!!

Am of course referring here to the tribe of artists; who after they have finished their basic Bachelor degrees in Art went on do their Masters etc and later latched on to any “foreign Study Aid/Scholarships/Freebies”!! Last I heard, some of them are still at it!! It’s been more than 20 long years that we graduated from our art college (1990).

I had no idea one has to study(?) so much for so long to become an artist!! The fact of the matter is that these institutions/scholarships are of financial benefits and these artists manage to live off them permanently!!

 ¹Metamorphosis

 During my college days there was a junior who had put up his paintings for our yearly college art show.. and titled them as ‘Metamorphosis’.

I knew him as one who didn’t know a word of English and of course had never heard of ‘Kafka’ etc …so when I asked him why and does he know the meaning?

“No, it’s to impress the art collectors!!” was his reply with a sly smile!! A fast learner… now his works sell at astronomical prices!!

This is a very old trick in an artists’ repertoire.. to keep his works and titles as ambiguous as possible.. as display of the artists’ maturity and depth of emotion etc… Once I made a list of names, titles of exhibitions, paintings…and showed it to an English professor… he was of course dumb founded!! It was meaningless, mindless, gibberish rubbish!!! But to art loving Indian collectors it must have made sense.. for they all rushed in to buy them!!

Example of Child or Naive Art

²Have you seen a child’s painting? They are so beautiful and I don’t see any reason for us adults to steal their ideas and paint like them and then sell them to art connoisseur at exuberant prices!! Its not fair to the child!!
 

Thangka, Tanjore, Kalamkari & Madhubani Paintings (l to r)

³Folk, Tribal Art and It’s Reinvention by the ‘Con’ temporary artists!!!

 In the same way why take the forms from ‘Thangka’ art or ‘Kalamkari’? Let them be… they anyway do a much better job of painting a Buddha or a Krishna!! And they are much more reasonably priced than the ones copied by so called ‘contempory artist’!!

These trends can only be explained with a bit of our (Indian) art history.. dating back when Nationalism was in rise during the fag end of nineteenth century 1890s) and beginning of twentieth century (1900-47). Many artist consciously-subconsciously wanted to reject anything which was coming from the West.. Western art etc and so they looked inward, in their backyard.. and to the Oriental art. Artists of that era took folk/traditional art forms and transformed them.. In Bengal this was very prevalent… artists looking for inspiration in Ajanta & Elora, taking forms from Chinese and Japanese art etc. I  don’t need to cite examples here… It was a process of evolution and a kind of protest against the imperialism etc.. but that’s almost a hundred years ago.. today taking the style, motifs from the traditional art form makes no sense… also if one is so inspired by Thankha, Kalmakari, Worli, Madhubani, ..why not do it the right way: go to the real source, learn the techniques and grammar from a let say, a Thangka guru and follow it like all folk/traditional artists/craftsmen do? And create genuine folk forms? No, the contemporary artist after attending 4-5years of art college training (learning mostly Western art, style, techniques etc) would go out and make atrocious copy of folk style and sell it of as contemporary art!! It is cheating. Its so unfair as the folk, tribal artists don’t command astronomical prices or respect like the ‘Con’ temporary artists do!!!
 

*you can view my works here..

 

When I got out of art college (early 1990) I use to sign my paintings in front, lower corner as just ‘Roy’… paintings of that time 1986-92 would have this… then an Art College Professor pointed out “If you want to make a name etc. sign your full name, there are so many Roys around etc!!” I then started using my full signature ie ‘Animesh Roy’… Post 1992-3 works would have my full name in front.

But I grew disillusioned by this urgent need to be recognised by our signature alone… and as I became aware and studied more of our traditions in Indian (and the oriental) art and culture I realised that in our traditional arts our artists do not sign at all… they remain humble, anonymous and would attribute all their skills and talent to Nature or God and their art as an act of devotion etc!! I have been inspired by this concept since then… and have stopped signing my name in front but I do sign (full name) all my paintings at the back/on the reverse side (for the record etc.)

My signature with other details on the reversed side of one of my works.

There are some contemporary artists who do not sign in front..over their painting. But I haven’t met one yet. I am not against it but I see so many paintings spoilt by an ugly signature!! There are some who have used it very aesthetically like Claude Monet.. and some like van Gogh’s are terrible!! Thankfully many of his works don’t have his signatures!! Mine have been more of a protest.. while all rushed in with their ‘style and signature’ to earn name and fame… I wanted only my work to speak up.. and would boast: “In museums they put small plaques along side..  next to every work with all details..and there the art enthusiasts can see!!

I do get very surprised collectors.. who wonder why they don’t see any signatures on my work?! Some walk away, some are very uncomfortable to invest.. on an artist without a name!!

Waterscape-7, Oil on Canvas78×74 inches / 198×188 cm Oct. 2009 
you can view my works here..
http://www.artists.de/animeshroy.html
http://www.animeshroy.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/animeshroy/
http://facebook.com/animeshroy
http://royanimesh.blogspot.com

Art Today.. in India

The other day I received an email inviting me to give few of my paintings in a ‘charity exhibition’.. the terms were they mustn’t be more that fifty thousand Indian rupees and I get 50% from sale… I agreed and gave away some of my ‘better works’ priced within the prescribed bracket, for it was a good cause. After a few days I get an email from unknown person claiming to have seen my works on the net and has been very impressed etc… and asking the prices of 2 of my works etc. (Not the works I had given away to the Charity exhibition.) I gave her the prices but never heard of her again; Acting on a hunch I just googled and ‘facebooked” her email ID and found her to be some ‘potter’ (one of those who sell ‘designer pots’ to the elite.. not the humble potter who makes clay pots for our daily use, they are generally not on Facebook or on the net!!)

I was amused as the person wasn’t old enough to look like a serious art collector..

Next day I hear from the ‘Charity people’ that I have priced my works over “my market price”… The ‘Potter’ was their spy/ decoy customer… who had enacted the entrapment!!!

This funny and sad episode truly exposes the decadence and utter ignorance that has set into the consumerist Indian society today…

Let me briefly go into the details for the one who are not aware of murky world of “Indian Art” today:

I have been painting and exhibiting my works since 1990 after my completion of four-year of art college from Delhi College of Art, India. I never really took up any job as I wanted a fairly independent life and never believed a true artist should do a 9 to 5!! And fortunately didn’t have to work in a claustrophobic binding environment… Maybe I was more lucky than the ones who had to sustain their families, and thus went on to join various ‘jobs’ available for art graduates…

Its been 20 odd years now… a life of hardship, struggle and most importantly of joy and fulfilment!! I have exhibited and sold my works around the globe… I still remember the money earned (Rs 1500) form the sale of my first work.. it was in Madras… well that some other day!!

When I had my first solo show in 1992 there were some really good art critics and they were the old school types… especially I remember Krishna Chaitanya, K.L. Kaul.. both dead now.. was fortunate to get very encouraging reviews not mention Keshav Malik. Later the art critics and writing about art and artists turned into a business… for a bottle of whiskey or cash one got a headline with razzle-dazzle reviews in our national dailies!! By late 90s the bosses at the newspapers must had got wind of the this nefarious activity and put an end to publishing reviews altogether… the critics went to town: “its mass commercialisation, the media doesn’t want to waste its precious columns/newsprint on something as insignificant as art…when they can earn a huge amount from advertisement etc!!” The reason must have been both. The once mighty art critics went around writing for artist’s brochures and invitation cards!!

The one thing I have always have been intrigued is how to sell a painting and how to set a price… here I must tell you the story of my ragging:

I was being raged by two very serious, senior, arty types, the first day of my art college…

Two-serious-senior-arty-types: ‘What is art”?

Me-nervous-fresher: ‘Art is the out pouring of our soul…blah, blah, blah..’

Serious-senior-arty-types: ‘Is it like a part of us etc?’

Me nervous-fresher (now falling in the trap): Yes a part of us…

“Like our own blood… like our offspring?”

“Yes, yes…” I replied getting very carried away now..

Their next remark still rings in my ears:

“Then tell me how come we sell our art? Would you sell your son or daughter?!!”

It was a funny comparison but it made sense…

A painting/sculpture is very dear to us..and selling it is a difficult act. Leonardo carried Mona Lisa around for 16 years (it was a commissioned work)… on pretext it wasn’t finished yet!! But then it is also a happy occasion that its accepted and appreciated. I still feel the pang when I finally pack a work off to a buyer.. never to see it again. But I think these emotions are now a thing of the past with the crazy advent of art as a commodity, as an investment… the craze to sell overpowers all other emotions. Agree selling our work is important as its also our only source of livelihood.. here am referring to artists who are refereed to as “full-time”. But that’s how it is and has always been.. since a long-long time.

Something changed as we entered an era of liberalisation et al… suddenly there were loads of buyers, art galleries (these are not to be confused with galleries in the west… these are basically basements owned by rich husbands to lets his bored wives do a bit of arty business!!) and lot more ‘artists’ selling their wares!!! Artists and buyers both were now in a frenzy pace to become hot selling artists and big collectors respectively!! Like this diamond merchant from Bombay who bought some of my paintings sometime back. Within a few months he emailed me to know if my “works are going to go up or has they gone up etc?”!! I told him they don’t go up and down like the stock market and anyway I am no ‘investment’ artist!! He felt betrayed and remorseful!! I don’t expect him to buy my works ever in the future!!

Some years back when I was in Delhi I would visit my artist friends’ studios while they are painting. They all painted in a frenzy… and all using Acrylic, the most important invention of all time in the medium of painting! No fuss, no smell (o I love the smell of linseed and turpentine…my wife loves me more because of that..she says!!) drys off as it leaves the brush!! And once in a while these artists would move away from their ‘masterpiece’ and ask: “बिकेगी? Will this sell, Roy?” Not how the work is coming along etc!!

They all goaded me as to why am not exhibiting and that there are so many buyers… and mostly they would laugh at my size… that is the size of my paintings!! I generally paint “small size” accordingly to them… like a 9×6 inches or a 10×12 (20x30cm, 30x 40cm)etc!! The maximum size I would paint was about 20×30 inches or 30″x 40″ (100cm x90cm). Well the arguments was if you paint large sizes you get more money!! That is, a large painting is valued more in the Indian art market than a small 10x12inches!! So all these frenzied mad artists were busy painting humongous sizes like 78x 120inches!! Also during this time I heard the bizarre story that artists in Bombay (the so-called Art capital of India) are now selling their works at ‘square inch rate’… that is each artist has a rate say – Rs 1000 per sq. inch’!! I, of course didn’t believe it till I got this email from the ‘Charity people’ who ‘calculated’ my ‘rate’ by taking a quote of some of my works and then dividing it by the size of the canvas!!! God please help me… (this is coming from a staunch atheist!!)

Yes size can be one of the factors.. but it is not the only factor which can make up the price of a painting!! Size only can affect the physical part of the painting.. like a big size canvas, more paint, more on logistics, may take more time and ‘labour’!!… But these cant makeup the cost-value of the painting… a paintings cost because of its artistic value..it cannot be calculated with the size of the canvas… it makes me sick even to explain all this… this is so fundamental, even a child knows!! So what are those? The quality of the work is first and foremost… and this the artist decides..mostly…we asses our work first and then put a price, also I have had many a discussions with gallery owners or friends and have taken their views too… I judge my works very critically.. why it should be so priced..etc and it’s always the quality of the work.. the workmanship, skill… For artists are all human and we don’t paint, cant paint in the same quality every time.. that’s why we have this concept of a Masterpiece.. meaning a master’s piece.. the best of the best.. and likewise we do produce some bad paintings..trash!! And those, I paint over…reuse, linen/ canvas is expensive!!

An artist can’t possibly paint consistently, our quality, skill, workmanship, etc. keep changing from canvas to canvas.. from one period to another… So lets say a canvas 24×30 inches can’t possibly be exactly as beautiful as the next one.. so how can 2 works with the same size be priced same? Yes its convent for the galleries (Art shops) do price them evenly..but the artist must hold his ground..this his territory. He must decide.

There is also a policy a senior artist must price his work high.. and I don’t get it… there were some who sold all their life works at a very consistent and affordable prices.. even when they were very famous.. I recall an Artist from Bengal who kept her prices very middle class through out her life!!

And now we have most artists (who are senior) trying to command unheard of prices only because they are old..and have been painting for long!!

The tragedy is that many of them try to fix a price according to their years in the circuit…which calculates to such an astronomical figure that they don’t end up selling at all!! Recently one of them committed suicide as he was unable to sell!! I had known him since my art college days… a humble stupid man.. he rose high and for some years was very successful… but then he kept increasing his price..trying to keep up with others of his hierarchy… and a time came there wasn’t any buyer left who could afford him!! He died penniless!!

I am not in their league and I have kept my prices very humble… giving away many of my work free at times.

But my price is my price and i set it…not by size!! by my conviction of what its artistic merit is..

To come back to the ‘Charity Art people’..they told me I would have to bring price down and they gave me a figure!! Of course I had already backed out of the show!! But they were not used to artists standing up to them… they told me most of the “(Indian) art buyers are well-educated and well versed with both trends as well as pricing of the works of the participating artists.” The farce of selling and buy art has come to such that it’s now reduced to just taking a sample off and a simple calculation.. lo and behold you have the pricing of an artists!!! Just the way one shops for curtain/upholstery material, fabric!! My wife when she heard this said: “Tell the ‘Potter spy’ to make large-sized pots… it would definitely fetch her some big money!!!

This is where we have fallen..in a dark damp pit!! Imagine now sculptors selling their wares by kilogrammes!!! Rs 1000 per kg!! Or by volume?

What about writing? Poems? and short story writers? Lev Tolstoy’s War and Peace would make a killing while Hemingway’s Old Man and The Sea would find it tough going!!

When we judge some of the well know works around the world do we do so it by size?

 Les Iris Oil on canvas 71 cm × 93 cm (28 in × 36.625 in) 1889 Sold Price: $105, 000,000!!

What is the size of Mona Lisa? (77 ×53cm), Sunflowers (92.1×73cm) and Irises (71×93cm) by Van Gogh… some of Monet’s Lilies are large.. but his intention were not to get more out of buyers!!

Here lets talk only of living contemporary artists… The pricing farce has reach such ludicrous level that some time you just feel like you are in a mad house!! For example we all are aware there is a price for things attached to famous /infamous people… those who are dead and gone long back… like if I had an umbrella used by Monet, it would get me good money… its knickknacks like these which ‘item collectors’ pay and is often auctioned, quite understandable… they have their charm. But does it make sense in a country like ours where the so labelled ‘famous senior artist’ selling their scribbles, mindless drawings etc. for over cores of Indian rupees?!! This idiotic piece of ‘Pen and Ink’ on paper by Jogen Chowdhury (alive, famous-senior-artist-type) is priced at Rs.1,500,000 / USD $33,333 ?!! Its laughable..and plain stupid that someone will ever may pay such an amount!!

http://www.artflute.com/Products/Monument-To-The-Unknown_19.aspx

I want to end this essay with S.H. Raza, was in news recently for his work went for around $3,486,965 or approximately Rs 16 crore, a record amount and the media has gone mad over this..in fact media person is hoping who will now break this ‘record’ and reach a Rs 20 crore !! à la cricket score!! I am shocked at the vanity of this lady (wife of a business man) who could spent such an amount on a painting which by all account is just a painting.. one hangs on one’s wall to decorate one’s home or office!! I say so because a Raza painting is not going to drive millions to line up outside her house to gaze at it… thus earning her or the Indian government any revenue. It’s not a Van Gogh or a Monet. Some year back I went to Basel (Switzerland) to see Van Gogh’s landscapes.. the exhibition was mounted on such a scale that the entire country was involved. From airlines, trains, buses, hotels… all were geared up for millions of art lovers and tourists who came from all over the world. Last summer I spent a month in and around Florence and saw the queue outside the museum.. people were waiting for over 5 hours to just buy the tickets to get in!! Imagine how much the Italian government earns from its’ collection of Leonardos and Michelangelos.. India and Raza have to wait for some time for that!! In the meantime I wish this buyer could have bought up a ‘museum full’ of works by talented artists from the same amount!! $3,486,965 could easily have bought her as many as 1162 paintings @ rate of  $3000 (approx. Rupees 1,50,000)!!

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/kishore-singh-price-rise/459532/

Anyway now about artist S.H.Raza, alive, famous-senior-artist-type. After spending over 50 years in France when Raza wanted to donate his works etc to the place where he lived the city municipal refused!! Non of his works have been acquired by any of France’s innumerable Museums…He returned to India few years back and I remember had gone to a nondescript art gallery in Haus Khas, New Delhi.. to get my works back.. as I waited patiently.. being told curtly by the gallery manager, “We have customers!!” as some foreign tourist walked in.. and all staff got busy sucking up to them!! Of course I raised hell and shot back, “And an artist is nothing? Is this a shop or an art gallery? Hold your customers at bay and return my works at once!!” In this melee an aspiring journalist who had come to interview the gallery owner came up to me and I took the opportunity to give ‘the interview’!! Told her some hard facts about the state of art we live in!! On one corner of this art shop sat the company parrot making one phone call after the other, à la telemarketing. Parroting the same line over and over:

“We have Raza, we have Raza, world-famous artist, M F Husain’s friend blah-blah -blah etc”

It was pathetic… neither the caller nor the ones he was calling had any idea about the artist!! They must have got hold of his work as the old man was in town!!

Now wheelchair bound and painting in his lonely apartment. Outside a long queue of art galleries, art collectors awaiting to snatch up whatever Raza can paint…The scenario is like on National Geographic TV.. the vultures closing on an old dying majestic elephant!!

you can view my works here..
http://www.artists.de/animeshroy.html
http://www.animeshroy.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/animeshroy/
http://facebook.com/animeshroy
http://royanimesh.blogspot.com