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The road less travelled

The making of an artist- a sneak peek into the trail and tribulations of sculpture Ashish Bose.

Those were the days. When the notion that a child would naturally take up the family craft, was a given. Therefore, one might assume that being born in a renowned goldsmith family, Ashish may already have had almost everything laid out for him. Not quite. On the contrary, it made Ashish’s art journey much more daunting. It took a lot of convincing his parents as to why he would not further the already established family business of gold smithery, but instead, want to become a sculptor.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”

Robert Frost.

Ashish was fascinated by, and loved working with clay. Ashish would eagerly wait for religious festivals, not for the sweets or the associated fun and frolic, but for the clay used for making the statues of Gods and Goddesses. The clay would be of very limited quantity but Ashish managed to get hold of some of it every time. Over the years, his love for it only grew stronger. After a lot of persuasion, his mother conceded and gave in to her son’s stubbornness. Ashish could now chase his dreams and seize them. The early years were spent in Kolkata, learning and honing the craft. Though Ashish is mostly self-taught, he had the good fortune of being under the tutelage of Jayanto Roy. Jayanto taught him to be an artist and not just a craftsman. Kolkata art circle was rather well cocooned from external influences. Unlike Kolkata, art and artists were pouring into Delhi from all parts of the country and also from abroad. Ashish craved to be part of it. Ashish had outgrown Kolkata. After paying obeisance to his guru Jayanto Roy, Ashish moved to Delhi.

Life in Delhi was hard. Money was short and Ashish had to critically curb his spending even for the smallest of spends. Ashish rented a studio apartment where he could work unfettered. However, it wasn’t easy. His work could be noisy at times. The sound of carving wood, the sound of grinding bronze and other such noises bothered the other residents. Ashish had to improvise. He bought a couple of thick mattresses and made a soft workbench out of them to minimize the sounds. While this helped cut a few decibels, noise remained a challenge. Ashish has had to change his apartment quite often. However, he remained unfazed and continued his work.

Another challenge which especially sculptors face is lack of storage space. Sculptures come in all shapes and sizes and often become a challenge if you live in a studio apartment. Ashish prefers living on the 3rd floor and moving large sculptures and installation art via the staircase was a hard task.

To add to Ashish’s woes, were the landlords, who were circumspect of the perpetual noises and material movements he was causing. Ashish knew he was being resented and had to do something before the situation got precipitous. He would therefore take newspapers and magazines (that published about him and his works), to the landlords. This worked in his favor, mostly. This gave the landlords a feeling of pride that they had rented out their apartment to someone who was famous, sort of.

Ashish Bose’s art style

Ashish is against having a static style and feels like Picasso, one must evolve and keep changing the style. Ashish works with clay, wax, wood, stone, fiberglass, bronze, transparent resin, amongst others. Ashish thinks he is able to better express himself through realistic works and facial expressions. Says Ashish, “I am of the opinion that one does not need a pithy reason to create. Your creation’s form, colour and posture, should be able to convey the story. My sculptures entwine the common man’s life with my thought process and express my confusion, solitude and several times, my opinion on several aspects of Life.”

For Ashish appreciation is the most fulfilling and rewarding thing. Galleries, he feels, provide artists with good presentation and packaging and ease the marketing significantly.

Ashish’s success mantra is perseverance. As per him, every artist lives in his own world and their work should be honest interpretations thereof.

Ashish Bose is a name to reckon with. Today, Ashish Bose sculptures are widely appreciated and sought after.

Ashish’s works

His works are on display in Sweden, Austria and USA Florida besides of course, in India. His busts exude the persona realistically. One such is that of His Holiness, Dalai Lama. A recent art installation titled ‘Into the future,’ was commissioned in the state assembly of Arunachal Pradesh. The sculpture shows Mahatma Gandhi being led by a child.