Artist of the month: Anant Bowlekar

Anant Bowlekar

Get to know our artist of the month.

Name - Anant Bowlekar

1. What is the best thing about being an artist?
Actually, 'being an artist' is the best thing itself in my life. It has given me the chance to observe and experience my own life happily; something like the J. Krishnamurti way.


2. When did you decide to join the art world? Did someone inspire you?
Really speaking, unknowingly I started at the age of one year and a half. Luckily my parents did not stop me from 'spoiling' the walls of my home.


3. Tell us something about your art education and early career.
After school, I applied and was granted admission for a BFA course at the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda where I had great teachers like Shankho Choudhary, Bendre and KG mentoring me. After graduating from there I started working as a commercial artist in Mumbai, but I was not happy with my work and hence joined JJ for a Drawing Teachers’ Certificate course in 1960. I passed the course with a first class in 1970 and joined JJ as a Studio Assistant. I then began teaching at the newly started art college in Aurangabad, where I remained for nine years before returning to JJ in 1980 where I continued till my retirement.

4. You are currently also teaching; do you enjoy it?
I enjoy both. Teaching helped me to improve my art and painting simultaneously and vice versa. Another little secret is that my students also helped me to improve both.


5. Which is your favourite medium?
I’ve been using Camlin colours for the last 50 years; they satisfy my needs. Once our late Art Director and veteran, Artist Madhavrao Satwalekar, greatly appreciated the wide variety of nuances I could get in my portrait paintings by using Camlin oil colours. He was, up to that time, using only foreign colours in his paintings.


6. What inspires you?
My direct experiences of life by avoiding 'shad ripus', which normally condemn human life.


7. How do you manage to work across a variety of mediums?
I don't manage to work with a wide variety of mediums, it automatically 'happens'. This is most probably because I always want a new experience in my creations.


8. Can you give us some examples of the messages you have tried to convey through your paintings?
Through the 'Sans human...for human' I tried to say that nature is beautiful and it is also for human beings, but when humans enter Nature’s territory, they try to destroy it in the name of 'progress'.


9. What is your favourite style? Which is your best work or series?
I change my ways of expression very often, but my 'Sans human...for human' series was memorable if not my best. I think my 'best' is yet to come.


10. Who is your favourite artist, Indian or International?
I have many and among them my Professors at the Faculty of Fine Art, M.S. University viz. Prof. Bendre, Prof. K. G. Subramanyam, Prof. Jyoti Bhatt as artists and as teachers.


11. If you were not an artist, what would you be?
If not an Artist then a 'Kalakar'. Lord Francis Bacon (1561-1626) once said, 'Blessed is he who hath got his job'. I'm one of those lucky people.


12. Who is your current favourite out of the young artists? Is there a student whom you are especially proud of?
I appreciate all of them as they have brought many new narratives and styles to the world. I like the work of Jitish Kallat, one of my students. I am also really proud of my student Ravi Mandlik, who was on the verge of leaving his studies, but went on to win a Gold Medal and become a sought after artist.


13. Do you interact with gallery audiences? Is there a special experience which you would like to share with us?
I like to interact with the audience most of the time, but sometimes those who appreciate art react to my creations spontaneously. Once, when in college in Baroda, one of the locals appreciated my sketching and gifted me a red/blue marking pencil and said that I was a good artist.

Download Resume

Explore the artist's work