Janardhan Havanje’s works were part of the theme ‘Identity’ at the “Desi Canvas” exhibition. In an e-mail interview, he tells us about himself and his art:
Ashish: What is the story behind you becoming an artist?
Janardhan Rao: Born and brought up at Havanje, a village that has north and south side of two rivers Swarna and Madi, 15 kms from the Udupi, a temple city and 5kms from Manipal just across the river.
Come from a farmer family. Father Manjunath Rao a well-known yakshagana actor, scriptwriter, Bhagavatha (a singer, does a main role in directing yakshagana Folk art play) and a Yaksha guru for more than two hundred yakshagana troupe. The base for becoming an artist, sculptor, a resource person in the artistic family where I was brought up. Brother was a drama actor and director, and his wife a carnatic classical singer and teacher. I joined the art college seeking jobs as a drawing teacher but changed my mind while studying deeply in the art field.
Ashish: What inspires you to put your energy into art?
Janardhan Rao: Coming from a farmer family just love to work with and at myspace of artwork with the village stories and love to visit and travel and hear the stories of kids games and from the old people.
Love to collect memories of time spent with them in a space where I work. I have been inspired by a lot of things and work also in different mediums. I am not stuck to one style of working and keep experimenting with the medium.
Ashish: What materials do you use in your paintings/artworks?
Janardhan Rao: As i said i just experiment with the mediums to seek my visuals in them. I preferably like water colours otherwise I do sculptures, mural projects mainly fibre glass to terracotta, jute meterials to mixed medium sculptures.
For the current series in water colours I am just recollecting my memories while working in water colours. The flow of the visual process leads me to do portraits of the kids and the old people.
Ashish: How have you evolved as an artist? (your journey so far)
Janardhan Rao: I studied Bachelor of Art at Udupi, Karnataka (west coast of india). Then did Masters at Gadag (earlier ruled by Kalyana Chalukya kingdom) taught me several things.
I do keep travelling, seeking new things that I do I just love as an artist. I get a lot of time to do my art works, apart from farming, music and teaching. I started a school at 2004 named Bhavana school of art, Havanje at our old house where rural kids come and study drawing sculpting, classical music, yakshagana, hindustani flute and bharathnatyam. Till date have taught more than 800 students at the school and made our rural native place a good society.
Ashish: Who is/are your favorite artist(s)? And why?
Janardhan Rao: I dont have any favourite artist but I like works of all who work as an artist.
Ashish: As an artist what do you think needs to be done in order to reach out to more people?
Janardhan Rao: I feel very pity for the art field how it has became now. Art is not the thing coming at high society. It comes and developes at lower and rural areas. May be it goes after a high level to the cities. Spending most of his time communicating and listening the stories of the people who lived their lives happily. Those are the main things artist must do. As I am doing most street arts and art workshops at public spaces need to be done and would be appreciated by the people, so that they can understand and communicate with the artists and the art works.
Ashish: What differences do you find in the audience of India and abroad?
Janardhan Rao: As of right now I haven’t travelled abroad but still have more likes and love from friend artists and people from abroad. I feel that they give more value and respect to the arts. We just need to educate our own about these things.
Ashish: Is art limited to some classes in India? If so, what are the reasons behind it?
Janardhan Rao: I don’t think it’s limited to some classes. Everyone seeks their own loving things. A rich person might have been collecting more art works but has no taste. It doesn’t mean that he is an art lover. May be some people or the community earlier did a lot and used to give a lot of credit to the art field but now it seems to have changed.
Ashish: How do you see the economics of art in India?
Janardhan Rao: I am not that specific in these matters. I just started to sell my works recently and people love my works and that’s why they bring it to their walls.