A good artist is born only when he is simple like a child: Artist P. S. Punchithaya


Artist P.S.Punchithaya is a senior Artist and had earned many awards. He had earned Karnataka, Kerala Lalithakala Academy Awards. He Also earned Senior Artist Award from Karnataka & Kerala.

He is a resource person in many of the institutions and he is the founder of “Rural Art Gallery” at Kanchan Ganga Kalagram Karadka, Kasargod. He has served as an Executive member of Karnataka Lalithakala Academy for two terms. He has Participated in many Art exhibitions and competitions.

This week, Artist P. S. Punchithaya spoke to Beauty Wall Spot CEO – Vishwas Krishna during the show – “Bombay-3” held at Prasad Art Gallery, Mangalore, INDIA.

Every Artist is influenced by the culture around him. Nobody can become an Artist overnight. A mother during her pregnancy, if gets involved in Art forms like music, painting, drama, etc.the child gets easily influenced by the art forms.

– Artist P. S. Punchithaya

VISHWAS: Namaskara Sir 🙂
ARTIST P. S. PUNCHITHAYA: Namaste Vishwas 🙂

VISHWAS: This week I spoke with two of your friend Artist P.D.Bhat and D.Bala Amin. They are wonderful persons.  
ARTIST P. S. PUNCHITHAYA: Yes. They are. Now after 50 years here we are, showcasing our talents in Prasad Art Gallery, Mangalore. It feels wonderful.

VISHWAS: Sir, You are considered as a legendary Senior Artist of India. But I don’t know much about you. Can you please tell me about yourself and your development as artist?
ARTIST P. S. PUNCHITHAYA: I was born in 1942 to Radhakrishna Punichithaya and Girija of Pundoor House. For my primary education I went to Perdala primary school in Badiadukka. For my high school education I was enrolled in Neerchal high school. For higher education I went to Mysore. I did my diploma in Chamaraja Technical Institute. There Mr. S. M. Soofi, who taught me nature and animals sketching was of great help. I was fortunate to be tutored by Subramanya Raju, S. M. Swamy etc. Then I joined Nutan Kala Mandir in Bombay for the Govt. Diploma in Fine Arts.I was there during 1961-65. We were to appear for exams in J J School of Arts once in every 3 months. I could get guidance from the great artists like Dandavathe, G. S. Shetty, B. S. Hegde, and K. K. Hebbar. K. K. Hebbar was instrumental in launching my solo exhibitions. I could exhibit my artworks in galleries like Bombay Art Gallery, J J School of Arts, etc.

After this I had to come back. All considered that my artists life is over since in villages nobody cared for art. It was true, but I took this as a challenge and on my return I tried my luck with the local institutions for space for exhibition. In 1966 TMA Pai gave me an opportunity by inaugurating my first solo exhibition in this part of the country. Syndicate Bank sponsored the event.

We the local artists joined together and made a Karavali young artist group. Those days even Bangalore was not having a gallery. We resorted to a novel way of Protest. We conducted art exhibition on the foot path. The Government immediately took steps to open Venkatappa Art Gallery. With all these activities I was spotted by Karnataka Laithakala Akademy. I was made a faculty and consultant to various organizations including Hampi University. I got many opportunities and my works are there in different places including Dharmasthala and the Rajbhavan. Even Kerala Government recognised my activities and they also invited me to several events, honours, and guidance.

VISHWAS: Great! Every Artist has several memorable proud moments. I am sure you have so many such moments. Sir, Can you tell me one of such moments?
ARTIST P. S. PUNCHITHAYA: During my high-school days, once the BEO came for inspection of the school. We were asked to explain the English poem of Wordsworth “Daffodils” . We all answered his questions and suddenly he asked whether any one can draw the Daffodils on the board. The headmaster immediately called me. I took pieces of chalk and coolly drew the Daffodils on the board. The BEO was highly impressed by the drawing and he praised my work to the teachers. In the evening after the BEO left headmaster called me to his office and praised me for the drawing and saving the name of the school. He suggested me to go for higher education in fine arts. This really encouraged me to consider Art very seriously.

VISHWAS: Wow, That is very inspiring. Sir, As an Artist, how one can become an Artist?
ARTIST P. S. PUNCHITHAYA: Every Artist is influenced by the culture around him. Nobody can become an Artist overnight. A mother during her pregnancy, if gets involved in Art forms like music, painting, drama, etc.the child gets easily influenced by the art forms. After the birth when the child grows, he gets attracted to the colors around. The flowers used in poojas, decorations, and the lovely flowers in the garden all attracts the child. During our poojas children are asked to bring flowers and help in decorations. While arranging flowers the child learns about color combination, space, shape,intensity, and beauty. Along with that we used to have musical concerts, Yakshaganas, dramas and the children got exposed to these forms of art. This moulds the child in to an Artist.

VISHWAS: Wonderful! Sir, You are one of the Senior Artist in India. Can you tell me about the contributions of society in your growth?
ARTIST P. S. PUNCHITHAYA: For every Artist society has contributed in his growth as an artist. During my childhood days, I used to sketch the nature animals and birds. People used to appreciate and it was motivating me for more perfection. The village people used to ask me to portray them. During school days people wanted me to draw for deepavali greetings. All these , in fact was the motivating factors for my art career. After my fine arts studies I was invited to exhibit my works in schools and institutions. This was really encouraging me to pursue my art as a career.

VISHWAS: Wow! Sir, I would like to know your college days memories experiences in Bombay?
ARTIST P. S. PUNCHITHAYA: My memories take me back to 50 years. During holidays I used to go around the village in Bombay style, with a hand bag and drawing tools and a hat to spots which attracted me and used to work there unmindful of the peeping public. My dress was unusual to these people and my appearance was funny for them. They came home and complained to my mother that I have lost my mental balance and hence going around in such dress. During these expeditions I used to sketch personalities and they in appreciation gave me money which I relented to accept. It annoyed them and finally I had to take whatever they gave me.

Going back to my memories of college days, Pt. Ravishankar’s brother was studying with me. One day his mother called me and asked me to guide her son Shankar in art. She said that people from the south Kanara are nice and they have no bad habits. But Shankar later revealed to me that many girls were behind him and he couldn’t concentrate on his studies. This he explained to his mother and mother found out this solution. Result, the girls were angry with me. During these days there were two dumb and deaf girls studying. They wanted my assistance, hence I practised sign language and went around with them. People considered me also as dumb and deaf. On market place and roads or public places dumb and deaf were given considerations and I also enjoyed the special treatment for the dumb and deaf.

Once I went to a tour and in Calcutta my baggage disappeared. I was left with my sketch book and sketch pen and pencils in my hand bag. No money. I was on the railway platform of Howrah. Morning time, I was hungry also. Not knowing what to do, I opened my sketch book and started sketching the group in front of me. A child slowly came to me and peeped, to see him in the group. He brought his mother, who called her entire family to see the sketch. One elderly man offered Rs. 50.00 for the sketch, but I refused the money and gave him the sketch. He forced the money into my pocket and left. I still sat there in confusion. After a few minutes he returned and apologized to me and said his wife was angry for paying me just Rs 50.00 for such fine sketch. So he paid another Rs. 100.00 and I had a sumptuous breakfast. My train back home was 2.5 days later. I spent my two days on the platform and earned by my art for my food expenses and return journey.

VISHWAS: Really, Wow. That is really very inspiring. Sir, I would like to ask you one more final question. What should be a good artists attitude towards the others?
ARTIST P. S. PUNCHITHAYA: A good artist is born only when he is simple and like a child. I remember one incident during my young days. Cartoonist Shankar was a good friend of our first prime minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. He suggested Nehru that an international children art exhibition be conducted. A letter was sent to all countries and each country was requested to send the best entries of children for the exhibition. 14000 children of different nations participated. This event confirmed one fact that manhood is the same across the world. If a child is asked to draw a cat or any animal he will draw it in the same way as any other child of a different nation. An Artist becomes great only when he reaches the stage of an innocent child. A child accepts whatever comes to him,but a grown up due to his ego turns away from many.

VISHWAS: That is very thoughtful. Thank you Sir for sharing your thoughts and memories with me. It was a great experience of interviewing you. I wish you a great artful life.
ARTIST P. S. PUNCHITHAYA: Thank you Vishwas ? It was my pleasure meeting you. Good Work. God bless you ? 

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