These five artists, who were issued licences to operate not so long ago, offer an insight into the response they garner from the ‘ultra-modern’ society.
Sixty-two year old Professor Surinder, who claims to be ‘the pioneer of sketch art at lake’, says the art is a God’s gift. The artist observes that over the years, he has witnessed a surge in the love for sketches. “Both foreign tourists and local people love to get their portraits drawn,” informs Surinder, who says his “hand to mouth existence” fails to deter him, for sketching is a passion.
Prod him to name his fountain of inspiration and quite surprisingly, he names actor Manoj Kumar. “When in my prime, I watched an old movie starring popular actor Manoj Kumar as a sketch artist. God knows what came over me, I locked myself in a room and frantically started sketching; that was the beginning of my journey,” says this Masters in Fine Arts degree-holder from Panjab University; who has also served as a professor with Government College, Mohali.
Capturing succinctly what makes sketch art gain an edge over the ‘selfie madness’, another artist Surya Bhan, Bachelor of Fine Arts from Lucknow University, asserts, “Technology can never compete with art. You might go on clicking selfies but that will be no match to the skill of an artist recreating a plethora of expressions that surface on a subject’s countenance during the process.”
Nods Harvinder Singh from Ludhiana; he ponders for a moment and remarks rather philosophically, “A portrait symbolically seals a silent interaction between an artist and his subject. How can a photograph ever match it?”
While Suresh Kumar, from Ramdarbar, shares, “The growing interest and encouragement of young and old towards this art is gratifying.”
Loss of his left eye and a paralysed left hand during childhood, failed to dissuade him from pursuing his passion – meet artist Jasbir Singh. His skilled hand effortlessly synchronies with his charcoal pencil as he explains, “Though with a fixed charge of Rs 200 per sketch, we do not manage to collect much towards the end of the month, it is our common passion for art that keeps us going.” And within minutes, he readies the sketch of a female visitor, instantly spreading a smile across her face.
Chandigarh-based businessman, Varun Sobti, on a visit to the lake, says, “These artists bring alive so many latent expressions of a person, which no photograph can.” While Pratibha Bhaskar, student of Department of English, PU, adds, “Pencil sketches are ethereal. I recently got my portrait drawn by one of these artists, which I absolutely treasure. It gets me so many compliments.”