Mr. Lahoti Background and achievements :
Born in 1943 in Parali Vaijnath, Maharashtra India. He completed 10 years of formal education in GD Arts Painting and Commercial Design at Abhinav Kala Vidyala Pune 1963 – 1973.
He has won Awards
- 3 Gold Medal, 2 Silver Medals
- 5 State Level Awards
- 7 All India Art Exhibition Awards
- FIE Foundation National Awards
- Lalit Kala Academy National Award in 1993
- 40 Outstanding Personality Awards
- Veteran Artist Award by Maharashtra State 2006
- Lifetime Art achievement Award by Prafulla Dhanukar Art Foundation 2015
- 149 Solo Shows
- 110 Group Shows
- 8 International Group Shows
- 495 Painting Demonstrations
- 47 Artists Camps / retreats till 2014
95 Paintings Donated to Relief Funds
Study Tours overseas to London, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Germny, China, Japan,Hong Kong
Akshaya: Sir, Thank you so much for giving us your precious time. It is my privilege to have our inaugural Interviewee on our Creative Entrepreneur Interview Series.
Question: We would like to know how and when did you start your artistic journey?
Murali Sir: I come from an agricultural business family background where no one ever was in the creative field before. I lived on a big farmland in a small town in Maharashtra, where once a painter visited our school. Seeing the painter work on his art, I started feeling the urge of painting like him.
Our village was very small and only two people owned a radio in that era. One of them was a small restaurant owner, so we used to visit his small shop to listen to songs and news. Schools had no desk to sit and not enough equipment for us to learn; the only reason we went to school for was to avoid the odd jobs at home working in our father’s business. I used to play sports at state level in school times, which taught me the importance of flexibility and nimbleness which later helped me with my art skills.
In my junior college days, I started reading books by well-known authors in Marathi like V.S Khandekar, Sane Guruji, N.S Phadke which helped me understand as to how they shaped their lives and have grown ahead. I learnt importance of self-independence and discipline from Sane Guruji, which helped me be dedicated towards my passion of art.
Soon, there were disagreements about my career choice in our family and after getting fed up of everyday arguments; I decided to run away from my home to do what I love!
I only owned Rs11 when I left home and arrived in Pune City. I had never been to Pune before, but knew it was well known for Arts and Culture. I started working at a local street food vendor to support my living while completing my Graduate Diploma in Art and Industrial design at Abhinav Kala Mahavidyala, Pune Ets 1930.
My art started getting appreciated since my student life which helped shaped my vision for my work… I started taking part in competitions where my paintings used to get selected many times. This gave me the confidence that I do have the artistic skills set and I can achieve the big vision by giving enough dedication. So I started focusing on developing my sketching, painting and drawing skills through attending workshops conducted by well-known artist of our time like M. F Hussain, Jabbar Patel etc in Capital cities in India. We had to take extra efforts to learn from well-known people as we didn’t have so many resources then. I idolise Mr. M. F Hussain and learnt a lot by observing his work at live demonstrations.
Mr. Hussain was well known for painting his artworks in one go without stopping no matter which medium he was working in! I realised that Mr. Hussain could achieve such perfection because he had clear vision about his work before even starting it , also he was agile and skilled. So, based on this realisation I started practising and developing these skills in me to become another Hussain!
Akshaya: What an exciting journey you had Mr. Lahoti. In this whole journey how important it was to create your personal branding / identity?
Murali Sir: Branding is very important for an artist, as it tells the story of his work, thoughts and life. In the world of art, we call this concept as Identity. Every artist should develop his/ her identity in his/her field of Art. An actor will create his identity though acting. A singer will do it through singing. Just like that, a painter should form his identity through painting. Artist’s work remains alive as his identity, even after he’s long gone.
I worked really hard to create my identity. I sketched and painted for really long time and eventually my Identity or Brand started to build up in my Art. Identity doesn’t form on its own. An artist has to create it on his own. Because Art comes from within, where as a Company has a team and they decide their brand based on many factors. They do it for Marketing. We do it to evaluate our contribution in our own Art. What stands out in my Art was important to me. Money, Sale becomes secondary part. My paintings didn’t even get any clients at first. Nobody even looked at them. I used to sell them at the rate of Blank canvas. I learnt from this experience. This developed my basic nature. I got some money through that. Later I got new Canvas, New Colours to paint. I didn’t think about money at that time neither do I think now. I just like to enjoy the creation of the Art and that is enough for me.
Why does one earn? Isn’t it to be happy and satisfied through things like food, drinks and all such things? I feel happy and satisfied when I paint. It gives me peace from within. Whenever I feel like I have successfully painted any idea I feel so happy. When something like this happens, I go out for a ride on my bicycle. This is my way of celebrating joy.
Akshaya: What a great insight for us Sir! Identity for Artist should be created through his work and thought process than his monetary success!
Question: If you could go back and give your younger self one piece of advice when starting up, what would it be?
Murali Sir: Artist should be innovative in their field, constantly experimenting and showcasing something different. Repetition degrades the value of any art.
Classical singer who develops new ways of singing, experimenting with the musical notes is well rewarded. Whereas an orchestra where only well-known songs are represented without any novelty might gain some success, earn money but will not sustain over long time as they were just copying the original songs.
Artists take time to become master of their skills, but sustain success for long time. I won 3-4 gold awards and many other applauds which is a good reminder of people’s appreciation and acceptance of me in this society, it does not grow my art.
Artist is the only person that can grow, develop and enrich his creativity. We all have talent and brains, education just teaches to present it in attractive manner; similarly art resources, schools help you guide your creativity.
If you want to become great, you need to develop yourselves as an artist. You need your work to speak for itself. Education doesn’t make you talented… To become successful, you should have Determination, Concentration and a Goal. You should plan your life accordingly.
Akshaya: Wow. There were so many gold nuggets in that answer for us all!
It had answer to my next question “What are 3 personal traits that helped you become a successful artist” as well. I will just say this again for all the readers that Determination, Planning and Goal are very important to achieve greatness as an Artist.
Murali Sir: Correct! You need pursue your dreams with all efforts. Then the success will be yours. You need to have the capabilities to handle success, only then you can convert every opportunity in your favour. You need to fight for success at every turn and learn from it. An industry helps make a person; a person can make an industry great!
Akshaya: That is so true. That is why those three things are so important. May the person be an Artist or from any other field. One can achieve success by following these three things.
Well now I will ask you my next question. In last few years, what three things happened that you call as obstacles? And how did you overcome those obstacles?
Murali Sir: You see, I believe that when a human being takes birth to eventually die. The span between life and death should be planned by every individual which is a very important factor. Like in Childhood or in Adulthood or in Oldage, you should work towards developing your Identity and you should find ways achieve it. This is what we call as Planning.
Akshaya: Yes, but what challenges or problems did you face while doing that?
Murali Sir: Oh human being itself is a problem! One cannot evolve as human being without facing problems. Problems / obstacles makes you grow and learn in life which in turn strengthens you!
No one else can face your struggles for you; you have to face them with all honesty. I belive Art is my worship, I don’t need to do idol worship separately. People belive that by worshipping their struggles will vanish or someone else will sort it out for them; but that’s not true. I belive we should work hard and face our struggles only then the eternal super power that keeps this world going starts supporting your desires .
Akshaya: So you are spiritual, not religious.
Murali Sir: Yes, humanity is the only religion that abides us all. Every opportunity I get to support help fellow human being I grab it and make the most of it. I helped people in social activities like cleaning streets, repairing streets etc, gave my paintings for raising money for charities through auctions.
Everyone lives for himself. That is not what humans are for. You should try living for someone else. There is so much more joy and satisfaction in living for someone else rather than for yourself. I have that satisfaction that I lived and enjoyed my life.
You should not live to earn money. You should earn money to live. And for this you should learn to limit your needs. When you learn that you will surely be walking towards success. If you increase your needs then you start living for your needs. Then one starts thinking about maintaining the needs, his appearance, his status etc. Then he gets occupied in all those needs and cannot come out of it.
Akshaya: That was so insightful for me and the listeners. How do you define success for yourself?
Murali Sir: You are successful if the community and the people love you. What did you give to the community? What did you take from the community? That decides the success. Now we don’t even know each other. But even then you recommended my work to fifty people around you. All I do day and night is paint. This is what the satisfaction is. I call this as happiness. This is actually the free happiness.
Akshaya: How simple it is “ Love and appreciation by others is Success” So, moving on, what three things will you suggest to the next generation of Artists to follow in their career?
Murali Sir: You should have a goal in life and be focused in achieving it. Be prepared to work hard until you achieve that goal. Nowadays there are so many technologies coming out to make our life easy, rather make are life dependent on them. Try to develop your skills which are not dependent on technologies and gadgets, believe in your own strengths.
We built these machines and now we are stuck in it. Easy going person doesn’t last very long. One who struggles hard and creates or invents something leads to research. The one who does the research never forgets the journey. The inventor who created TV started from scratch.
Say for example, if you take me to your home for the first time, I will come along. But while coming to your home for the second time, I might have forgotten the route. Because you took me there. Just like that if you learn from your mistakes and build yourself step by step then whatever may happen, you will know how to succeed. That is why I think you should not be easy going. Hard work and Experience is very important.
I have been through many hardships in my life, I have walked barefoot in deserts, travelled to interstate leaving my young family at home to exhibit my work. I never gave up my art , even just to make ends meet for my family. This experience and struggles is what you can feel and see through my art today. If one writes or paints or creates poem out of experience then it becomes permanent. Just like in Films and Theatre. Films are written for fun and entertainment. But in theatre, the actor should be able to act every time. That is the reason why the theatre actors should not lose their bearing. They know it. The same way, you and your art should come together. You should know your art inside out. This is what I think is important.
Akshaya: So the main three things any new artist should remember is ; to work defiantly towards your goal in life, gain new experiences in life, and be independent. This will shape them as individuals as well as their creativity.
Now I want to know whom did you learn from? Like you said you idolize M. F. Hussain. You learnt a lot from him.
Murali Sir: I never actually got a chance to learn from him in person.
Akshaya: Oh! Interesting, So he is unaware of it but you learnt from observing his art like Eklavya.
Murali Sir: Yes. That is true. I admire his skills, his agility, his thinking. M.F. Hussain used to walk barefoot. People considered that he has gone crazy. I wondered what could be the reason behind him walking bare feet. I had learnt in school about magnetic fields of earth. So then I realised the reason behind his agility was the changes in the haemoglobin due to the magnetic field of the body and the earth. It is acupressure. People don’t want to believe in such solutions. They won’t work hard at home but will join gym to build muscles. Many people do many things just to show off. But the real artist never speaks about his work. He just keeps doing it which is the important thing. Take another example of Mahatma Gandhi. He became barrister. He could have bought half of India by practicing those skills. But he lived for people. He knew what his goal was and he used his education to achieve it; he knew it wasn’t easy. But it was a meagre price to pay for Freedom of his nation, and yet sadly people don’t value it today.
Akshaya: So true! You said that planning is important. So, will you please tell sir what are your plans for next 10 years?
Murali Sir: Now I am a retired person in sense of age. What I mean is now I have very few needs. I don’t need to earn a lot of money fulfil my needs. Whatever I will earn, will be enough to cover my basic expenses. Various singers like Lata Mangeshkar are well known to every Indian. Then why can’t I be known to all in same way. I want all the people to know me. So I am going to work on spreading my work in every household, because art appreciation is far more important than breaking an Auction Record! The painting and the painter will become great only through the work of art. The popularity, awards and such recognition might occur when the artist dies. Everyone will assess the work of an artist and evaluate him in terms of the seriousness towards that art, how it stood out from other artists at the end.
Akshaya: Thank you so much Sir for sharing your insightful thoughts with us and our audience . We will endeavour our best to ensure this information reaches as many artists as possible. I am sure it will help them nothing but succeed.
Murali Sir: This was my duty. I present demos or attend discussions at various places. All I want to do is convey my feelings, thinking and mindset about this art which interprets through my drawings.
Akshaya: Thank You!
We would love to know what you thought about our first guest and what you learnt from this interview, so leave a comment below for us..
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