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Sketches for keepsakes

A file photo of director and artist Bapu

A file photo of director and artist Bapu  

From Bapu bomma to the late filmmaker/artist’s drawings on mythology, one can now buy prints of Bapu’s artworks.

Some of the best artists and illustrators try to demystify art by making their work look simple and effortless. An excerpt of a transcript written by the late Bapu on how he learnt to draw states, “Practice is essential to learn any art. To learn drawing, life sketching is a must.” Bapu goes on to illustrate through a four-image series that begins with drawing four circles and ends with an image of a young boy seated on the floor. Bapu’s notes are easy to follow and will encourage anyone to put pencil to paper and begin by sketching rough postures in circles.

This transcript, along with Bapu’s scrapbook of life sketches, and several prints of his artworks, are available on www.bapuartcollection.com Venu Sathiraju, Bapu’s eldest son, informs us that the domain www.bapuartcollection.com was created in 2008 as the official and authorised website to showcase Bapu’s artwork.

The artwork gallery provides glimpses of Bapu Bomma, Krishna, Rama, Tiruppavai, cartoons, Kotappa Konda, Potanamatyulu along with the endearing scrapbook.

Sathiraju says the selection of content is an ongoing process. “Changes will be made as more content — especially work from early days — becomes available. The collection effort started with Bapu himself from his early days. As a freelance commercial artist, Bapu created his own support structure for archiving and organising his artwork, reference material and rough sketches. As it grew and as filmmaking demanded more of his time, he relied on assistance from trusted people. The late Bhushan, a still photographer, was the first (1950s).

The more important records were photocopied and the negatives preserved. When Bhushan shifted to Hyderabad, Shyamal Rao was entrusted that job. In the early 1990s, for similar reasons, G. Karthik, an industrial photographer, was associated in this work. About this time, photographic records of artwork gave way to scanned or digitised records.

G.K. Durga Prasad was the last to be entrusted this work (1999),” he says.

Other activities like holding art exhibitions, bringing out souvenirs and other publications, and sale of prints of artwork also helped the collection effort. The family also began collecting original illustrations from publishers and editors. “Sale of prints of artwork began in a small way in Vijayawada from the printing press of Bapu’s younger brother, Ramanarayana, around 1993.

They were reproductions using screenprinting process. G.K. Durga Prasad first came into our fold at this time and helped Ramanarayana in the screen printing work. During those years, as an aspiring artist, he sought Bapu’s suggestions and guidance for improvement.

He is an ardent fan of Bapu. At Bapu’s request he was later associated with the collection effort,” says Sathiraju. The artwork gallery is a treasure trove for those who want to buy prints of the artworks. “The early illustrations were line drawings (black and white). Some printed cover designs would have a separate colour scheme suggestion as an overlay. Sometimes we are tempted to avoid the colour version. Some originals are too large for the usual flat-bed scanners. They require special scanners. Also, displaying such works on a page or screen of standard dimensions can be difficult.

Collecting all of his published work spread over some 60 years is a challenge,” says Sathiraju. As the collection grows, there are plans to add more sections. In addition to the scrapbook, there are plans to add ‘storyboards’ of Bapu. “The idea is that the ‘sketch’ and the accompanying ‘notes’ in a storyboard will help everyone appreciate the clarity and conviction of his visualisation,” says Sathiraju.

So far, the response has been good, states Sathiraju. “The Ramayana panel, Dasavataras, Navarasalu, Dances of India, Bapuramaneeyam and ‘The Letter’ seem to be more popular. We also receive several requests for the sale of Bapu’s original works, but unfortunately they are not for sale,” he mentions.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 4:22:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/sketches-for-keepsakes/article7210061.ece

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