“I always knew that art is my calling. I didn’t like working in an office, sitting in one place,” says Purnendu Mandal, who started his tryst with art more than a decade back. In his early days, he explored traditional language of landscapes and street scenes of cities, mainly Kolkata. Now, he has mastered the art of painting a city life with abstraction, which he always found inspiring. His approach to painting is to always find positive aspects of life.
Society has always struggled with disappointment of joy, but hope always comes by to the rescue. Purnendu Mandal tries to find joy and spread it through his paintings.
Global Fashion Street got a chance to interview him during his exhibition in the capital. Following is a Q&A session with the artist:
Your paintings seem to have a strong connection to rains. Is it so?
I have always been fascinated with the rain. The reflection of everything after the rains intrigues me. The reflection in the paintings makes the paintings even more engaging and beautiful. I also like to play with the color and moods. How a city will look like in blue or yellow! Most of my paintings are of Kolkata. I try to bring out the heritage of Kolkata. I like those little details like rickshaw puller, trams which were there in the olden days.
How do you start your paintings?
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When I was doing my course in painting, out of four years, two years we had to work in the field. All of us had to sketch the cityscapes. I was regularly doing sketches. That helped a great deal in etching the city in my heart and mind.
I do capture photographs to use them as reference, later. The angles and scene help in creating a painting.
It’s important to realize that the photographs serve only as references. Most of the things are mindscapes. I take one thing from one photograph, another thing from some other and put it in one painting.
What colors do you prefer?
These days, I am mostly using acrylic colors. I use colors directly without any medium such as water. I use them directly. Also, I am using a roller, not so much of brushes.
How much time you take to finish one painting?
It all depends on the size of the painting. A medium size painting takes about 7-8 days on an average. It also depends on the mood. There are those days when I don’t paint for 15-20 days.
When and how did you realize that painting is your calling?
I started painting in 7th standard. Till then, I had no idea about painting. In a couple of years I found painting to be my thing. It was 9th standard, when I decided to pursue painting as a career.
The idea of doing a 9-5 job never excited me. I wanted to be free and my own boss. Painting helped me achieve that joy and freedom.
Apart from painting, have you ever tried your hand in anything else?
Yes I have. I was a teacher for four years. I quit my job in 2012 and started painting.
How has painting changed your life?
Painting has given me an opportunity to create my own path. It is responsible for my bread and butter.
Apart from painting, what else do you like?
I like listening to Ghazals. I like Hariprasad Chaurasia ji. Late Jagjit Singh is my favourite. Ghazals take the feeling to a different level. I usually listen to them when I paint.
If you have to give advice to the young budding artist, what would that be?
All I would like to say is, listen to your heart and follow it. It’s tough to follow your dream but if you believe in it, there is nothing that can stop you. Our country has a tendency to put down artists. One has to get past those trivial hurdles.
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