Mumbai: You've seen those beautifully handwritten scripts inscribed on stone monuments or in religious manuscripts written on palm leaves. Now see scripts come alive through calligraphy on T-shirts, CD covers, wedding cards, mugs, books, fashion wear and even as body art.
The aesthetics of calligraphy, i.e. the art of beautiful handwriting, has transcended into the commercial realm rather than being just confined to sophisticated use.
Achyut Palav, a celebrated city-based calligrapher and alumni of J.J. School of Art has a studio stocked with various products done in calligraphy. Ranging from mugs, glass items to T-shirts and books, the items are worth a buy. Palav is credited to having presented calligraphic prints in a fashion show, designing logos, body painting, home interiors, event invites, wallpapers and book covers etc. "Calligraphy can be done using different techniques and in different media. I have travelled all over India and have noticed that there still exists a lacuna in the execution and utility of calligraphy" he says, adding further that he has plans to open a calligraphy school very soon.
Says Santosh Kshirsagar, 49, professor at theJ.J. School of Art who has been in the field of calligraphy and typography for 20 years now, the key to popularising calligraphy lies in interacting with the youth and making them not only appreciate calligraphy but also motivate them to take up calligraphy in the indigenous Indian scripts. "Calligraphy is not just about acquiring the skill but it is equally about expressing yourself and adding your interpretation to the art work," he says.
Kshirsagar also insists that introduction of calligraphy at the school level is vital.
At present though, J.J. School of Art runs a four year degree course in Applied Art with specialisation in photography, typography and illustration among other subjects. Calligraphy is part of the typography course. Calligraphy artists feel the scope for students learning calligraphy nowadays is varied and well paying. Since the demand has grown and commercial requirements are manifold, a student can choose to be part of the professional world in areas like jewellery designing, body art, fashion, advertising and films and begin earning a minimum salary of Rs15,000.
While western calligraphy takes its root from the Roman alphabets, Chinese and Japanese calligraphy are still deeply entrenched in their day-to-day local tradition in the form of artefacts and gifts. Nepalese, Tibetan, Iranian calligraphy have also stood the test of the time. With 10 scripts existing in India, when it comes to Indian calligraphy, there is scope for a lot more work.
Read the rest of the Calligraphy Story
Friday, May 15, 2009
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