UNCOVERING THE ARTIST WITHIN
“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.” –Ayn Rand
Indeed, artists are a conduit of emotion. They harness raw emotion and translate it so that it can be reinterpreted through the human eye. My journey has been a long one. Over the course of the last fifty years, I have torn down my interior walls piece by piece so that I could present my interpretations with truth and dignity. As a result, I have created scores of oil-on-canvas works that serve as a vehicle for my art; my vision.
Painting has always been an important aspect of my life—continually delivering me great joy and allowing for accolades. During my mid-twenties, however, I turned my aesthetic focus to architecture and design. My practice recently celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. To record my innovations and my analysis of retail marketing and design concepts, I decided to write a book “the Art & Science of Store Design” on this intriguing topic. In many ways, the process of writing, researching and soul-searching allowed me to refocus my attention on my first passion: painting.
Let’s take a few steps back before moving forward. I was born in Africa, in 1949 and spent my first decade in Africa. At the age of thirteen, I began studying in Bombay, India where I discovered a passion and proclivity for artistic expression while attending a “hobby” class. It was at this private school that I learned about various applications and processes related to art and architecture. At the age of sixteen I decided that I would focus on art and Architecture. It would take years, however, for my destiny to be realized. As it is written, “a journey of a thousand steps begins with one.”
India would be my home for the next eleven years, seven of which I spent studying architecture and design. I continually painted during my free time and began to implement my love for color and contrast into my paintings. Looking back, I received very structured architectural training in school but spent every spare minute on my art or studing the varied works of master artists. This was an interesting balance because painting provided freedom while academics kept me focused. To this end, I struck a balance within myself.
While I kept my passion for painting close to my heart over the years, I had a family to raise, a mortgage to pay and a business to build. Now, my three lovely children are grown. My once hectic travel itinerary and family obligations has been reduced thus allowing me to once again turn my focus and energies toward art and architecture.
I was once humbled by accomplishments. Today, I’ve learned to embrace accomplishments as mere mile markers. For example, my art was recognized on a grand scale in June of 1971 when, my oil on canvas paintings were selected to be presented at the prestigious Jehangir Art Gallery located in Mumbai, India. To me, the real feather in my cap is the fact that I hold the distinction of being one of the youngest artists to be offered a one man show at the gallery, which holds equal weight to such U.S.-based institutions such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
My wife and I moved to New York. The transition was difficult and I recall listening to the music of Felix Mendelssohn whose symphonies mirrored the pain and absence of joy that I was experiencing. In time these feelings passed. I graduated with a master’s degree from the Pratt Institute of Architecture and City Planning . As I assimilated into the American culture, a slow and somewhat learning process, I was both intrigued and impressed with the American work ethic and the opportunities I was offered. Hard work and perseverance indeed paid dividends. All the while, during reflective, intimate moments, my paint brush would dance and bounce on canvases both large and small. In time my portfolio grew.
I realized that my works fall into various times of my life’s development and phases:
• 1960s: Developing life
• 1970s: Enjoying life
• 1980s: Pioneering life
• 1990s: Absorbed in life
• 2000s: Observing life
• 2010s: Exploring life