Today, Gopal Namjoshi Is An Esteemed Artist, Designer, And Muralist. Your Work Is Itself A Brand. Please, Elaborate On How You Started Your Journey?
It was in 1998 when I was primarily doing paintings and murals in Jaipur in mix media and blue pottery. A section of our studio had few damaged keyboards, computers, motherboards, and too many floppies. Throwing them as garbage was not a choice as those were our first official purchases and were had memories attached. So best was to yet make art out of it. We made a human head mural out of it for a software and hardware training institute and it is still there. We realized how many stories are attached to any article like a utensil, or a vehicle. So did our old scooter, when it became a breakfast counter. So on so forth, we continued making some smaller creation till once I saw a scooter mechanic throwing many gears aside and informed me of junkyards that are filled with such metal pieces.
When we shifted to Gurgaon and once while traveling via Maruti factory saw huge junk metal pieces at a mechanics place, I could see so many forms, faces, and sculptures in the petrol tanks, automobile shockers, and wheel alloys. With no much expertise in welding had to take the help of a welder, while I used to make a drawing or start placing a piece one after the other to create an installation. New to the field of welding had many injuries and burns until I knew how to handle it.
Exhibited my first creations at the newly launched Cyberhub from where all farm animals stay pretty happily well cared at the Taj Gateway Resorts Damdama, Lake, and so on…
When You Had Started Working With Metals As Your Medium, It Was A New Concept In India, How Have Things Changed Now?
Then in 2008, It was difficult to explain to a scrap dealer why I needed so many gear wheels or brake pads, but now they know me well and so does my welder know the language of art and welding. Arzan Khambatta in Mumbai was only one who was working with metal scrap during 2008 or so, but now I see a sudden huge volume of work in Delhi NCR, being churned out of scrap, hundreds of artists have started working from scrap and found objects. It is good, as a sustainable practice, however, I do find bad copies of my work being sold and displayed in a few markets, which is intriguing. I would only advise such artists to be original and create their subjects and unique identity. I keep receiving calls from all across India to create installations on a large scale. However people think, since the installations are made by scrap, these are economically cheap, which is the other way round. These are definitely environmentally sustainable but need a lot of cleaning of oil/grease, scraping before making it to use again.
What Was Your First Sustainable Piece Of Work?
My first one is a Peacock, back in Jaipur, peacocks were regular visitors to our home. My mom and I used to feed them. Also, I decided to revisit that memory with this sculpture.” The resplendent peacock sculpture, made out of steel spoons, ladles, and sieves collected from Chandni Chowk’s secondhand market. Regenarises my memories, of Jaipur home followed by a life-sized cow, made with Hero-Honda petrol tank as a head and calf installation and then the whole family of farm animals. Monkeys made up of locks (Now you may like to call it a lockdown monkey) Peacocks made of spoons and ladles, cranes made of petrol tanks. shockers etc.
Reconstructing the narration from scratched/broken/damaged/thrown iron objects to weave newer stories taking the forms of Peacocks, birds, humans, deer, insects, and trees, and the living world of all organisms and how well they CO-Exist and converse, ecologically is what is well displayed.
What Is Your Definition Of Sustainability? What Inspires You To Keep Going?
Sustainability for me is THE LIFESTYLE one embodies. For India, it’s not new, and especially at my home, I have seen my mother practicing it so closely from water, food, clothes to overall home management. I have seen nothing going waste in a rubbish bin. There has to be a perfect balance between consumer needs and optimum utilization. One should think in a full circle, from taking to giving back to our generations and Earth.
Nature’s abundance of beauty and laws of conservation, which keeps changing utilizing the material, medium, and organism to different forms with time is ever inspiring.
What Experience And Assignments Have You Done So Far? And With Whom?
Practicing from the past 25 years I have been able to carve a niche with my innovative work across the media/styles and practices. My recent permanent installations are displayed at IIT Delhi, ITEC Technopark Sonepat, Taj Gateway Resorts Damadama (adjudged as the best-designed hotel for the year 2014), Bohemia at N Block, GK 1, many luxury hotels, celebrity residence lobbies and restaurants in India. My active participation by creating a life-size winged elephant at “Gajotsaov” for a cause of Safeguarding passage for elephants at IGNCA last year was much talked about by the Environment Minister and Film stars like Diya Mirza.
My themes are majorly driven from his immediate environment from last few years he has been working on concepts around “Coexistence” and “Patriarchy”.
Are You Open To Collaborations For Sustainability? If Yes, How?
Here’s to cite an example, Maruti had approached us to create a Chocolate Installation for selling 1 million Dzire cars. I created an art installation that is recorded as the largest edible art installations. by Limca Book of Records. However to make them understand the design language and zero wastage message in the whole process we had to design the utility of the paper boxes again going back to creating an installation than being thrown in the waste bin.
Many premium residential complexes like Central Park, Ireo, Corporates like Tetrapak, Genpact, Taj group, and even malls like Select City Walk have been in touch with me for creating large installations, smaller gifts from metal scrap to many such ideas. In fact, I was even invited to one of the TED X Talks in Gurgaon on Green Initiatives to display a whole range of my Junk made sculptures as their prime feature.
MCG Gurgaon also approached us once to give them a proposal for beautifying every circle in Gurgaon and simultaneously spreading a message on sustainability and conservation.
So ways of collaborating can be varied, from creating installations to doing workshops like I do in IIT with IIT students, to engaging talks and walks with different institutes.
How Do You Use And Select Scrap For Building An Art?
I collect scrap metals mostly from small and medium vendors. “I do not cut or distort the pieces in any way, rather I prefer to use them as they were available. That is why I prefer smaller vendors where I can pick and choose scraps according to my liking. I generally avoid visiting large-scale scrap sellers where I have to find suitable pieces from a huge mountain of junk.”
Every sourced junked metal undergoes a few stages of the cleaning process before it is ready to be used. Then these pieces are segregated by their shape and volume. A drawing of the shape of the artwork is created, followed by an armature by mild steel, and then these scrap pieces are welded one with another on the structure.
Would You Like To Share Any Ideas With Our Readers For Making The Best Sustainable Use Out Of Scrap
Try to inculcate the habit of sustainable livelihood right from childhood. The process is simple before you throw anything think how it can be recycled innovatively as a container, furniture, decoration, garden element, or else think of a person if not you who else can be benefitted out of it. And in case of throwing is the only option be mindful and segregate your dry and wet waste at source.
I remember using plastic caps of toothpaste to cardboard boxes, paint boxes to metal springs in creating so many toys, sculptures, decorative garden planter, and giveaways, just using some imagination and so many inspiration DIY videos.
Please Share A Quote About Your Initiative
Sustainable living is the essence of coexistence. “If you wish to coexist in peace with everything around you, it is better to practice conservation by yourself. You must also learn to modify and make peace with everything…
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