The Sand­man Cometh

India Today - - MAIL - by Geeti Sen

The dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing a painter and an il­lus­tra­tor is a rather sen­si­tive one, in terms of sta­tus. Few painters would con­cede to be­ing la­belled as il­lus­tra­tors, for that would im­plic­itly deny them their sense of choice and de­lib­er­a­tion. Souza in a di­a­tribe against the con­tem­po­rary In­dian artists work­ing in In­dia, said of them that they were mostly il­lus­tra­tors, not (true) artists. To be an il­lus­tra­tors the, is to be un­think­ing, un-orig­i­nal and un­sat­is­fac­tory. The true artist, it is thought, would not and should not com­pro­mise. Sadly this point of view has in­flu­enced the de­gree to which artists are will­ing to col­lab­o­rate with au­thors, or be­come il­lus­tra­tors of books or posters, or other kinds of com­mu­ni­ca­tion me­dia. This in turn af­fects the stan­dards of vis­ual com­mu­ni­ca­tion. There are al­ways ex­cep­tions, such as Tyeb Me­hta’s mag­nif­i­cent poster for

UNICEF. An­other kind of ex­cep­tion are the stu­dio artists of

HHEC who worked es­sen­tially as de­sign­ers. Among them is Anand Mo­han Naik, who has re­cently taken up some­thing he has al­ways in­tended to do: the illustration of chil­dren’s books. Naik has al­ways,it seems, been fas­ci­nated with the child’s vi­sion.

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