Artist Rajendran, known as Everest Raj, has seen the world of art undergo a sea change in his career spanning a quarter century.
According to artist Rajendran, who has completed 25 years in the field of art, there is nothing an artist can’t achieve. He says he has earned everything that he wished for and shows his life as proof. For Rajendran, best known as Everest Raj, art is an environment of empathy. He shares his vast experience of being an artist.
Raj, who started his career in a low-key manner, began drawing at a very young age after seeing the charcoal drawings on a wall in his native place, Kundannur in Kochi. “I happened to see a wall art. I took home the remaining piece of the black chalk and tried to draw it on my wall. Though my parents and family scolded me at first, when they knew I was serious about drawing, they started supporting me. But like every budding artist of that time, it was hard for me to convince everyone that art would make me financially sound. I joined the fine arts college hoping for the best.”
But finding his feet in the artistic career was not easy as he had expected. He had to look for other jobs after college. While at work, he still managed to find time for painting. He also started doing small projects and completed some short stories and poems by that time. “The old city of Kochi helped me a lot to become the man I am now. Before the pomp that we see now, the cityscape was restricted to a small portion of Marine Drive, M.G. Road, and some other places. M.G. Road and Marine Drive were the only places where they had cutouts and banners during that time and I started visiting those places. I still remember the first banner and cutout I did. Beautifully drawn movie posters were also something to stare at during those days.”
Raj shaped himself into a person who is open to all changes happening in the world of art at that time. However, the invention and ‘intervention’ of technology in art was a shocker for artists like him. He managed to learn to use the computer and made himself a man of the age. “The photo editors and drawing tools have actually lessened the work of an artist in a way, but it also affected the creativity. While artists like me managed to survive the transition, some artists failed in the process and lost their grip in the field.”
Making a poster for Theerthadanam, a movie scripted by M.T. Vasudevan Nair, was one of the turning points in his life and Raj says M.T. was so impressed with the way he worked the poster. Jayaraj’s Kannaki was another one in more than 20 film posters he did during his career. He also conducts exhibitions of his artworks in India and in European countries, mainly in Finland and Estonia.
He also takes classes and attends workshops regularly and acts as the current vice-president of the Kerala Chitrakala Parishad. He is also passionate about direction and plans to make short films or feature films in the future.
Everest Raj believes that art is for everyone and helps every budding artist in the best way he can. His art gallery named Gandhian Art Gallery in Thrippunithura offers a space for artists, where they can conduct their sessions and exhibitions. It aims to encourage budding artists apart from tourists and local residents. The gallery is also a platform for sale of paintings apart from exhibiting them. The place will also become a discussion forum for artists and art aspirants to talk and share opinions on various aspects of art. He says, during the early days of his career, he struggled a lot and he didn’t get much exposure. So, he made it a point to share the space in his gallery for other artists. “Art has not yet been identified or accepted like other professions and we have to struggle a lot. So, this venture to help other artists is very personal and close to my heart.
And more than earning from the artworks, I value the happiness and satisfaction I get from it. And I want to share it. I want to leave a od mark behind in this world.