Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Knowing Achyut Palav

Internationally acclaimed Calligrapher Achyut Palav speaks on how different life can be through Calligraphy.

Achyut Palav is among the greatest exponent of the art of calligraphy. He completed his education in Graphic Design from Sir J.J Institute of Applied Arts, Mumbai. He was also the ex-faculty member of the same college. He finished a research scholarship program from Ulka Advertising for a thesis on the Modi Script of the 15th to 17th century, in 1994.

Palav didn’t have much support from his family as they were skeptical about him making a career in Calligraphy. But he followed his heart and started focusing on calligraphy. Professor R K Joshi who is a designer, an artist, a teacher, a talented Calligrapher apart from a distinguished Poet who passionately contributed a lifetime of work towards Indian typography and type design inspired him to choose Calligraphy as a profession.

Achyut Palav started his career in Calligraphy in 1963. “When I was a child, I was not good in studies. Then one day my professor asked me to write on the backboard. Soon, I started to love writing. I kept telling myself that these thoughts in my mind were not just for me, but for others,” reveals Palav.

He started his career by making wedding cards and name plates. And after 25 years of his journey, he has now grown to become one of the finest calligraphers in the world.


Achyut Palav feels that letters are a symbol which turns matter into spirit, and that’s what Calligraphy does. It uses the energy within a person and manifesting it into text and script. “When a person takes a pen in his/her hand, he/she becomes a calligrapher. There are no age criteria or qualifications for Calligraphy. There is no hard and fast rule for calligraphy. Spontaneity is the soul of any work. It can depict everything that catches our mind. One must enjoy the beauty of letters and lines. When artist's creativity and vision go hand-in-hand, it can create wonders," asserts Palav.He believes two different arts can come together and create a wonderful fusion of art which is new yet encapsulates the good within both these art forms. “Music & other such performing arts have inspired me to be innovative by way of the bold and unique demonstrations that I have with other artistes like musicians, dancers, singers and the like. And I want to pass on the same enthusiasm to budding artists through my highly interactive and experimental demonstrations,” he adds.

Palav has expressively used the Devnagri & English scripts in his work over the years. But his true love has been delving and exploring the vast possibilities and depths of the Devnagri scripts, which he has taken all over India and around the world to spread awareness about this traditional and rich script.

He has held various workshops in India as well as in the World and has given demonstrations about the use of calligraphy in greeting cards and other gift items.

"Recently, I toured the country to promulgate calligraphy all over India. Since there is abundance of languages and fonts in India, I believe that the potential for calligraphy in our country I truly endless," explains Palav.
Apart from winning a National Award and many other awards and honours for his work, a gift by the German student which included a bunch of letters written in the Devnagari script remains the most memorable. Even in Russia, he has received a lot of appreciation for his artwork.

When asked about the peculiarity of Indian Calligraphy from those around the world, he said, “Indians are not even aware that Indian scripts can be used so artistically. They are resistant towards accepting a new form of art. In contrast, internationally, people are aware about calligraphy and especially about importance and uniqueness of their text. They are more thorough and detailed in their work and are receptive to the emerging art of Calligraphy. But one thing is for sure, Indian calligraphers are spontaneous and more creative. There is versatility in our work.”

The tools Palav uses for his work are unusual and ingenious. Along with brush rollers and pipe, he also makes use of toothbrushes, injection syringes, wooden flat spoons and kitchen platform cleaners to create his creations. He adds, "In the calligraphic work, the force, energy, pressure and the tool come together. The artist has to visualise the design and use imagination in selecting the correct tool.”

Palav also gives live demonstration of umbrella and body painting which is eye catching and has turned out to be a real hit. In minutes he can create painted designs on a model's body.

Recently Palav worked on a series of Titan watch promotional campaign which is soon be released in the market. He has also started a Calligraphic Movement Called ‘Urja’, the first movement of its kind in India for spreading awareness of Indian Calligraphy in India and the entire world.

He appeals to youngsters and everyone who is pessimistic and lack confidence about this art that the prospects and opportunities of Calligraphy are growing everyday. He wishes for the youths of today to put in some extra effort to master this art, which could ultimately prove to be a life changing experience.

25 Years in the world of Calligraphy

Though Palav has faced quite a number of challenges in his 25 year old career, he has enjoyed every moment of his calligraphic profession. Recently, he organised Callifest2008, a festival of calligraphy to celebrate his fascinating & successful years as a Calligrapher. The event which was held in JJ School of Arts (Mumbai) had many different activities, including workshops, Callishops and exhibitions. He also launched a book on calligraphy; ‘Calligraphy Roadways’ a program for taking calligraphy to students across India.“I wish to take my knowledge & experiences gathered in my quest for excellence in calligraphy to the youth of India & overseas. The lack of awareness about the art of calligraphy is the only thing which saddens me these days. And so I thought¸ the aesthetic and commercial value of calligraphy in Indian languages among the people who have great potential of becoming the next-gen artists of the modern world, and I am happy that I got started it,” expresses Achut Palav.


CALLIGRAPHY'S CREATIVE APPLICATIONS PLATFORMS:

Architecture
Product Calligraphy
Wedding
Artifacts
Jewelry
Post Cards, Greeting Cards
Body Painting
Fashion Accessories
Interiors
Logos
T-shirts
Stationary
Brochures
Book Jackets
Calendars


Some well-known Calligrapher in India:
Achyut Palav, Mumbai
Ram Kasturi, Dombivali
Manohar Desai and Ghyanshyam Erande, Pune
Anand Shende & Jalandar Palbinder, Chandigadh


Some Issues faced By Achyut Palav:
Lack of awareness about the Indian Calligraphy
The negative approach towards this art
Lack of visionary people
No school or organsiation which offers advanced courses in Calligraphy
Calligraphy has remained a subject in art institutions


His Vision/Challenge:
“Calligraphy is an art, which can also be used in commercial applications effectively. People says you are making calligraphy a lot more commercial, but I believe, if you make it commercial, it is then that you attain popularity.

Currently, it has been my wish to promote my art in all these areas. All the efforts are aimed at popularizing the use of Indian scripts. This art of calligraphy has tremendous potential & there are very few people involved in this field. I want to create and prepare new artists in the world of Calligraphy and towards this aim I want to establish a School of Calligraphy in Mumbai. And to make this possible, I need the support from the students and sponsors alike,” he expresses.

Source: Mumbai Mirror Online
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