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The right strokes

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Paintings by Artist Trinath Majumdar

Trinath Majumder might have become a surveyor, a government official, or anything else but not an artist. But he is the Assistant Professor, Department -Applied Arts, Sri Sri University, Odisha. Though he had been sent to art classes as a child, it was perhaps just to keep him occupied and out of trouble.

But trouble, he did get into. Caricatures of his teachers instead of doing maths; drawing instead of studying – the signs were there for all to see but were not appreciated or considered as a career option for him in the future. If anything, stern warnings were issued to make him focus on studies.

And he did. He joined Geography honours and laboured at mastering the knowledge about the physical features of the mother earth. But it was tough, and not something that held his interest. Mercifully, one of his lecturers noticed his penchant for the art and suggested, “Do us a favour and pursue art.”

It was just what he wanted to hear. Trinath approached his mother, who acknowledged his passion and finally, with his parents’ blessings, he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Indian College of Arts. Later he did draftsman-ship as well as completed his master's degree from Rabindra Bharati University.

Artist Trinath Majumdar

The Journey

“To become an artist, it is not enough to learn the techniques and practice. Finding a mentor and being receptive to their comments and feedback is very important,” says Trinath. Being easy-going and friendly, this was not a challenge for him at all. He mingled with his seniors and willingly showed them his works. When they gave tips and suggestions, he embraced all that was relevant to him for perfecting his skills.

“Of course, there is also this idea of what an artist should look like. So, I used to wear bands in my hand because that was the trend. One of my seniors, a renowned artist, asked me why I had so many bands. I told him, ‘But you too have one.’ He told me, ‘I got this as a token of love and appreciation. Why do you wear so many?’” It was an eye-opener. Trinath realized that one’s work should speak louder than the outwardly appearance.

Trinath hesitates to add the tagline ‘Artist’ after his name. He believes that the word carries with it a lot of responsibilities, and he should deserve to get it. He dedicated himself to the cause. But he holds a grudge that graphic designers are not considered as artists by most people. He, being on both sides, finds it unreasonable. “Unfortunately, graphic designers are not considered artists. But even that requires creativity and imagination. I have had clients who have given me a free hand to create the images and illustrations,” says he.

Taking Baby Steps

“Becoming an artist is not easy,” he admits. There is much discouragement from the extended family even if you get the support of your parents as well as near and dear ones. This is partly because making a living from art alone is not easy and hence the idea of trying to be a full-time artist is viewed with derision and caution.

Trinath believes that it is possible to reconcile artistic aspirations with revenue generating work. “If you earn your living from another profession, then you can use the remaining time to indulge in your passion,” he says.

For Trinath, emotions must speak volumes through paintings.

Dark themes are one of his favorite genres in painting. Usually, they depict intense expressions glaring out of some enigmatic darkness. The faces convey sorrow and ferocity at being laughed at. They express the agony of the subject under savage mockery. He also believes that titles are important. A painting must be titled appropriately to communicate the essence for easy understanding and appreciation.

When the theme becomes too dark and depressive, he draws caricatures and bounces back to high spirit. He continues to seek feedback from seniors to this day so that he can evolve further. Trinath uses his time away from work in the university to express himself.

For Trinath, being rooted in our ethos is essential. Though we can be inspired by western artists, our works must reflect our realities, struggles and culture. And so, his exploration of life through art goes on…

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