Interview – Aritra Das

Aryaman Chetas Pandey had a conversation with Mumbai based Artist Aritra Das, about his journey and his path into the world of paintings and art. Excerpts.  

First of all tell us something about yourself, where are you from, about your family, your childhood, if you have any other profession. 

I was born in Kolkata, and was raised in Kolkata and Visakhapatnam. I am a Bengali guy. My parents were never much inclined towards the arts, rather they would rather discourage us (my brother and me), from learning any form of art. I was very keen to learn dance (I learn Odishi now), but my father never allowed it. We were put into swimming classes, but somehow, I also enjoyed swimming, in fact, I even had participated at national level swimming championships.I was already interested in drawing and painting, and participated and won many painting competitions when I was in school. My parents were ok with that, but would still not put me in art classes! I am not a full time professional artist, but I do sell my artworks. I currently work in the healthcare IT sector as a business analyst.

How did you start painting? What pulled you to the art form that you practice?

I remember that once I had been to an exhibition of Pattachitras, and that’s where my fascination about Indian art styles started. I actually started making Pattachitras in 2016, back then they were very crude, but I slowly started catching up.

How did you teach/train yourself ? Tell us something about the style of your paintings.

I learn through observation, keen observation of Pattachitras, different genres of the style. I try to look up the older styles, from museum websites. This has helped me to develop a style of my own, the styles is definitely Pattachitra, but I do it in my way. Apart from that I also take interest in North Indian painting styles, especially Pichwai. These two artforms has attracted me very much and that’s why I paint them. However, I don’t blindly copy paintings, I mould them as per my intellect and aesthetics. I do take a lot of inspiration from the older styles of Pattachitra and Pichwai. You can see that I always use a red background for Pattachitra, unlike the Pattachitras that we see today, which tend to have different colour backgrounds. The older Pattachitras always had red background.

How do you see yourself as an artist in the future, what are your plans?

I wish to continue painting and dance, and it’s always a learning process. I would love to teach anyone who shows genuine interest in the artforms.

What influence has art had in your life?

Art helps me to unwind, art is what keeps my creativity alive. It also helps you to think out of the box and since I observe and learn, it also improves your observation skills, you start paying a lot of attention to details, even in everyday things. That’s how art restructures your life.

Any advice for future aspiring artists?

Art is important, if you have the spark and interest, it’s good to pursue. Even if you don’t take it up as a full-time profession, but you can always paint, whenever you get time. Don’t let the spark extinguish! Art can be a great paying profession, artworks sell for thousands and lakhs, if you’re good. Keep practicing, that’s also equally important.

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