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        Volume 11 |Issue 09| March 02, 2012 |


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Sabyasachi Mistry, Photo: Amirul Rajiv

A Picturesque Artist

Sharmin Ahmed

In his casual attire and demure countenance, he is very much the regular chap around town – that is if you do not know him personally or professionally for that matter. But when one comes across his wide range of work –illustrations in books, newspapers and other forms of concept art like character designs for comic strips, cartoons, and animations, Sabyasachi Mistry is anything but regular. And that is the beauty of him as a person –quietly revolutionising the country's art scene.

A guide book titled ‘How to Create Child Friendly Environments’ is quite a diversion from the usual dull, drab guidebooks. As part of a project on early childhood development by Bangladesh Shishu Academy and other organisations, it is filled with delightful illustrations. Colourful pictures with lovely, happy children, smiling and playing, the pages of the book are heart-warming. Moreover, the pictorial depiction and concept is both easy to grasp and soothing to the eye, anyone who sees it will want to read it.

Sabyasachi has few words to offer about himself and his work, and there are countless examples of his talent in his recently published children's books at the Ekushey Grantha Mela. A little colourful stall Hottiti at the children's corner was adorned with enticing children's books such as 'Rini Khala' (Rini Aunty) written and illustrated by the artist himself.

When asked about what inspires him, he says, "Nothing in particular but everything in essence. Someone who is driven and passionate does not need to be inspired by just one thing or one type for that matter. An artist should have an impulsive zeal to be creative almost all the time. Creating a style of their own rather than just be inspired, to be the subject of inspiration is what an artist should aim at."

The colourful illustrations on the children's books designed by Sabyasachi Mistry. Photo: Amirul Rajiv

Sabyasachi, who is originally from Barisal, spent a year at the Department of Fine Arts at Chittagong before he came to Dhaka and joined the Fine Arts Department of Dhaka University. "My days at Chittagong have been the best days of my life to date. I had a lot of fun with my classmates and people around, I enjoyed in my world instead of 'learning' per se," he admits, chuckling. Eventually, he graduated from Charukala as one of the promising few and has already made a name as a brilliant artist in his field. It was during his time at Charukala that Sabyasachi came across concept art and developed the urge to explore it more seriously. He is inspired by acclaimed artists from Bangladesh as well as by global cutting edge illustrators and their work across a wide range of mediums, content and application.

Asked about what he plans to do in the future he talks about his hopes of seeing a generation of highly inspired and motivated artists. "Versatile, self inspired artists who will be willing to imagine beyond mediocrity. If you are self-inspired nothing can get in your way."

However, Sabyasachi also thinks that artists are always faced with the challenge of grasping the essence of art, in its underlying concept. "A true artist's challenge lies in his/her capacity for imagination, not just in the materials or tools in use." He explains that there are many aspects to an image in a drawing; the lighting, texture, form, shape and colour. Illustrations are often not considered as art forms but merely a segment of it. In Bangladesh, the infrastructure is needed to support the progress of art, be it graphic, painting or multimedia, as it has tremendous scope for development. "You may look at how Osamu Tezuka hugely contributed to the popular art forms like animations, comics, graphic novels. That is because of his capacity to imagine and his stronghold in art. Artists like him, inspired their next generation to curve a huge niche in the global art scenario. And I aspire to see the same thing happening to our country and its youth. Instead of being awed or entertained by other people's arts and inventions, we can surely make our own identity come to the surface."

Being a bit of a workaholic he hardly has time to think of the difficulties or limitations he faced in his journey as an artist. “I have not faced any hurdles at least not externally," he says, "Of course there are times when an artist finds it challenging to create as he imagines. But that is part of an artist's journey in life.”

Sabyasachi has already created a niche of his own in the country, and it is only a matter of time before the world is in his grasp. In the mean time he silently works away, inspiring the young generation to enter the world of creative imagery and all its possibilities.

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