Published: 08th May 2019
This ticket inspector's paintings and sketches are all about Odisha's rich heritage
After making paintings of trains and folk of Odisha, Biswaal is now sketching and the sketches he shares through his social media profiles have gone viral and how
Bijayananda Biswaal may be based out of Nagpur, but this Odia's heart has always belonged to Odisha. A job with the Indian Railways as a Chief Ticket Inspector took this painter, who was born in Pallahara in Angul district of this coastal state, to Nagpur long back. But his art forever reflects Odisha, whether it's the rural folk or the grand temples. And nowadays, Biswaal is serenading his fans with sketches of classical dancers, including Odissi and Bharatanatyam, tribes from Odisha and more. "The backbone of a good painting is a good drawing, so I am trying to hone my drawing skills through sketches and people are going crazy about it," says the artist who was appreciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Mann Ki Baat on July 26, 2015 and considers this as his Oscar moment.
Smile that says it all: Artist Bijayananda Biswaal finds inspiration everywhere | (Pic: Bijayananda Biswaal)
What saw Biswaal through tough times and through detours was his sheer passion and determination. What started as a childhood fascination only grew, we understand that part. But how did he sustain his passion through it all? "I believe that God has gifted every individual in one way or the other and I knew that my art is my gift. It is my moksha, my nirvana. I don't intend to let it go to waste," says the 44-year-old artist. He also duly credits his wife for the pillar of support she has been throughout his journey. Talking about his influencers, Biswaal says that he is inspired by cartoonist RK Laxman and reformer and painter Raja Ravi Varma. "The body language and the subtle nuance in their artwork influenced me a lot," he shares. When it comes to Odisha, he is a huge fan of Pattachitra, the traditional, cloth-based scroll painting. "I try to include Odisha motifs anywhere I can," he says and laughs. Another motif one can easily spot in his work is trains. "That's because by now, I know them inside out. So it is easier to achieve authenticity. Of course, I have been endlessly fascinated by them as well," shares Biswaal, who has buyers even in Australia and America. Speaking of that, he says his art is not only brought by the elite, but by other art lovers as well. "It's the quality that matters. The bottom line is that your artwork needs to be extraordinary, then people will invest in it," he says, adding that his artwork is priced between Rs 3,000 to Rs 4 lakh and beyond.
He took voluntary retirement from the railways three years back to continue painting full-time
As a piece of advice to youngsters who want to walk the same path as Biswaal is, he says, "Give yourself ten years so that your style can mature. Be honest with yourself and focus. It is a very competitive world. It's not easy at all, so be committed," he says.
Some of his artwork
For more on him, click on biswaal.com