A+| A| A-

Vignettes on the Go

An Indian urban sketcher on what it means to be part of a global movement that encourages street art

I sketch; I always have. At 51, I realise that I have been at it for quite a long while now. My sketchbooks have been in various states of unfinished-ness, since I have never done a complete work of art meant to find its way onto the walls of an art gallery. In urban sketching, the state of the unfinished portrait is a vital aspect of the spontaneity it represents.

My sketches have always been done on location. The subjects have been people, architecture, streetscapes, or public interior spaces (railway stations, supermarkets or airport interiors), and the mode of documentation has been images ­accompanied with notes. Unlike the 19th-century bourgeois in a Rabindranath Tagore short story who envied his neighbour for having complete control over his violin (as if it was his lover), I have no such reason to be unhappy. I have a natural talent with and control over certain ­instruments of art. For me, these are my drawing pens, brushes, paint tablets, and sketchbooks. I have, for a long time, had a visual diary recording first-hand accounts of events and ­subjects from everyday life around me. These can be labelled as introverted pieces of work done in the solitude of crowded streets. I never ever had an occasion of glory to take the ­famous Camusian dictum seriously that “All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street-corner or in a ­restaurant’s ­revolving door.”

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 17th Sep, 2018

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

A climate scholar weaves a critique of environmental policy with a personal tragedy in light of the toxic levels of air pollution in Delhi.

Who decides whether one is disabled “enough” and how does it affect one’s sense of self?

A tribute to actor Soumitra Chatterjee who died of COVID-19 complications.

Having lost a dear friend, the author reflects on the nature of friendship, and its relationship with memory.

As mounting performance pressure on students lays the ground for increasing malpractice, what can academic administrators do differently?

At the root of sexual harassment in the arts is an unquestioning culture of subservience.

Could the lived experiences of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, shared with millions of Americans, be their ticket to the White House?

Back to Top