Beyond Measure

Beyond Measure Travel Updates! Visit India's artists with me.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dusty Roads

Hello All,
I've been slow to add some new pictures mostly due to a lack of time and proper facilities. Luckily I have landed for a few days in Rishikesh (a hill town in North India made famous by a stay from the Beatles inspiring the White album). Rishikesh sees a lot of tourists and therefore has a lot more western conveniences, even spaghetti and cornflakes. I have rented a motorbike for the time that I am here as it is the best and cheapest way to get around this little tourist area. Thankfully, SHiva is my brave and experienced motorcyclist and I just have to hold on.
I was pleased to work with some younger artists in Jaipur. Satya was a very friendly young man and I would have liked to stay and work with him more, but the temperature was increasing and we still have so much more of India to cover, so we moved north.

On the way from Jaipur to Amritsar SHiva and I stopped for a night in Bikaner, a less visited desert town. We visited the Karni Mata Temple nearby which is famously known as the rat temple, because it honors rats as the reincarnated souls of ancient storytellers. Needless to say it was a rare sight. The rats are treated with great respect and given all the sweets, milk, and sleeping space they want. Its good luck to have a rat run across your feet or to spot a rare white rat. No luck was had by me, but I did enjoy it... surprisingly enough.

I am expecting another painting to be completed this Friday. I have had to do a lot more brainstorming on themes for the artists to work on. The older more experienced artists seem reluctant to do a piece from their imagination, but I always try. I show them pictures like this to give them an idea of the style I am looking for. I think this is uniquely India.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Artists' Photos

Sunil from Delhi

Rose colored glasses

Hi Everybody,
I'm writing from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan in North West India. We have been in Jaipur for 5 days now and have had good success here. I have met 3 different artists here and I am working with two (one of which is a 16 yr. old girl- the daughter of a well known artist in Jaipur). The other artists is a young man in his early 20's working in a small shop in the "pink city" region of Jaipur. It has been an interesting learning process getting the artists to take initiative to paint things from their own imagination and not only copy from a sketch or provided photo.
Yesterday, I was happy to see that both artists gave me sketches including ideas from their imagination. It makes me REALLY happy to know that I can provide the opportunity to pay them for work which is from their creative perspective rather than the usual signs for which they are comissioned. They seemed very excited and inspired to do that also.
On a more personal level, it has been good for me to see the perserverance that I have seen in many of the artists. Many of them are moving forward with the technology that is evolving in their field. I didn't expect to see that as much as I have. Indians, despite all of their impoverished surroundings are an amazingly resourceful and determined. Its always a humbling experiece to watch the courage and initiative that they will take even in the most tryins situations.
I am attaching two photos. The first is a photo of the artist who I met in Delhi who has invited me to be a part of his family. The second is the young artist I am working with here in Jaipur.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

India, sweet India

Hello Everyone!
Thanks for all your well wishes and love on my send off to India... it worked! I made it here(Delhi) safely and all has gone well. I spent my first two days recooperating,exploring the surrounding areas, and getting some translations made from English to Hindi for the artists to read. I spent day #3 recovering from a typical "stomach battle" initiation, that often happens in India. AND... yesterday afternoon went out on a search for local artists. I found a few and ended up communicating very well with a man named Sunil. He is in his thirties and has two children and lives in a village outside of Delhi. We (Shiva and I) showed him our translations describing our project and he was soo happy to help that he offered to do 2 paintings that very day, and flatly refused my attempts to pay him. He is a great artist and a wonderful man. He invited us back to his home for dinner where we met his family and all his extended family...all living in the same house or on the same street. The family members (including his parents, brothers, sisters, neices and nephews) all sat with us while we ate, although most did not know english. This was the first time Sunil had ever had a western visitor to his home, and he was very proud and happy. We had a great time!
Tomorrow we are heading towards Rajasthan and some other cities in the north. I will post pictures soon. Sending my love and gratitude to you all! Thanks for making this journey possible!