Published: 07th March 2018
This young college dropout followed his art and now conducts doodling workshops
In 2016, artist Tejo Guna called his parents and told them he was done with studies. He is now preparing to attend a reputed private Arts school in Italy
It is hard for Tejo Guna to pinpoint when exactly the idle art of doodling became a serious pursuit. He also does not know how he ended up at VNIT Nagpur, pursuing Architecture. Yet somehow, the pull towards fine art remained strong and he became immersed in freelancing. Whether it was designing T-shirts for college fests, designing murals in Nagpur, Raipur, Pune and even Mumbai, or even freelancing — his art found expression one way or the other. This was until he pulled a Mark Zuckerberg and dropped out of college in January 2016. "I made the decision while I was in Mumbai in just ten minutes. I called my parents and told them immediately. Looking back, I think it was a stupid decision," says the 22-year-old, although we beg to differ.
Though I tried my hand at merchandising, I realised very soon that I am more of an artist than a businessman
Originally from Nalgonda, Guna always wanted to return to Hyderabad, his homeland, and make a name for himself in the city he grew up in. So, after dropping out, he came right back and has been busy with murals, at least until last year. Now he is conducting doodling workshops, the last one being at Collab House on March 3. He even doodled live at events like the Under 25 Summit, TEDxMahindra École Centrale, Sunday Soul Sante and at a product camp event at Microsoft. "All this while I've been a self-taught artist, but I wanted to learn beyond this," says Guna, who has recently been accepted into the prestigious Accademia del Giglio in Italy.
Guna not only loves art, but he loves travelling and photography too. It took him seven years to convince his parents of his artistic capabilities
Guna feels that one mistake that artists often commit is focusing on earning rather than on improving themselves, at least in the initial stages. "For example, those who get into merchandising try to follow trends more than creativity," says the Hyderabad lad. Maybe that's why his attempt to start an online merchandising store while in college did not take off.
In monochrome: Guna usually does all his doodles in black and white
Through our conversation, Guna constantly stresses on how important it was for him to convince his parents. He has been doing so since high school and he finally believes that they are now assured. "This has been the biggest achievement of my life," says Guna, laughing. But he is quick to assure us that his parents have always encouraged and supported him with a steady supply of sketches, books and more. "If parents don't understand it is because of the society that brainwashes them to believe that a secure job, something I was never cut out for, is everything," says Guna, who urges us to always seek the validation of our parents, who are ultimately our biggest support system.