Meet the maker: Sudeep Gandhi

First things first: Calligraphy as an art is visually satisfying, but is also rather onerous. The intricacies required take years to master — and on occasions, even that isn’t enough. To be in your mid-twenties and make heads turn with your calligraphic work requires you to be prodigious, and that’s exactly the kind of talent we’re featuring today.

Meet Sudeep Gandhi — a 23-year-old calligraphy artist whose work is quite impressive. He was attracted to calligraphy at a young age and nurtured that further by getting a BFA degree from Rachana Sansad College of Applied Art and Craft.

Sudeep Gandhi – Calligraphy maestro

How did it all begin?

Sudeep says that it all started in the summer after his 10th grade exams. “I met a Commercial Artist who explained to me the meaning of calligraphy. Although I heard the word ‘calligraphy’ for the first time, the exceptional work of the artist attracted me towards it. Around that time, I attended the ‘CALLIFEST 2008’ at JJ School of arts, which was conducted by one of the most renowned calligraphers in India, Sir Achyut Palav. I was thrilled to see the beautiful artwork, including a demo created by Sir Palav himself. That was the moment where I realised that I have to learn this — no matter what it takes!”

A meeting with his idol, who saw the hunger for knowledge in Sudeep, ensued and he subsequently recommended Sudeep to learn the art through Sir Ram Kasture. “Whatever I know today — right from the very basics till the advanced skills I’ve picked up — I’ve learnt from Sir Kasture,” he says. “From there on, there were and still are scores of calligraphers from India and abroad who inspire me to get better every day. I learn so much by merely observing their style of work and demonstrations online.”

Mantras by Sudeep Gandhi. The painting depicts a form of ‘Om’ and the various mantras associated with it.

When asked about his own idea of calligraphy, Sudeep maintains that to break the rules, you need to know the rules first. “Calligraphy is all about breaking the standard grid into free flowing characters or alphabets,” he says. “The only way I could break the grid is by learning the grid first — so my journey of learning calligraphy started from very basics, which is handwriting in a notebook with a gel pen! I started with a Latin script, then Devanagari, then cursive writing and so on. The journey became more adventurous by learning how to use Chisel Cut Markers, Bow Pens, Various Cut Nibs, and numerous kinds of brushes.”

Once he had enough confidence in his abilities, Sudeep started exploring calligraphy on his own. “I started using injections, a shaving brush, and even sponge. I firmly believe that calligraphy can be done using any tool. A lot of it just depends on the skill of the artist, how he chooses to use it.”

When asked about his own choice of techniques, he cites one which was taught to him by his Guru, Shri Ram Kasture. “Whenever I draw a stroke, I stop my breath for a moment. This allows me to have a sense of spontaneity and confidence to draw the stroke gracefully.” Sudeep also suggests that practice is the only path to success and you need to keep a lot of patience and faith in your ability. “You might end up wasting lots of paper, but that’s definitely an investment in long run!”

So, what’s next for Sudeep?

“Up until very recently, most of my artworks were in the Devnagari or Latin Script,” he says. “I am currently in the process of learning more about Latin calligraphy and enhancing my skills too. Apart from that, I’m inspired by various lettering posts by talented artists on Pinterest and Behance, so lettering would also be a priority. My aim is to being in new trends and push myself to learn and master as many scripts as possible, execute them in an innovative manner, and develop myself to the best of my abilities.”

Before signing off, Sudeep adds, “Every artist needs consistent support and motivation. I am extremely lucky that my family understood and supported me at every step along the way. My Guru, too, helped me achieve my desired goals and has always motivated me to aim higher. The Principal and professors in my college have also contributed immensely in my personal growth as an artist and more importantly, as a person. These might seem inconsequential, but it helps provide an emotional and mental stability which eventually become the stepping stones to success.”

You can learn more about Sudeep Gandhi and his incredible talent here.

To read stories about all our makers click here.

Rameez Shaikh

Rameez Shaikh is a twenty-three year old writer. With a degree in journalism to his name, he's an aspiring author with an absolutely astounding admiration for alliteration. Leisure propels him to read, dance, pen fiction and gloat about himself in third person. On weekdays, he works as a features writer. On weekends, he's a Manchester United fan.

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