Rahul Gajjar
Digital Printmaker and Graphic Designer


demo-song from Korg-N364

Read off the internet, Rahul Gajjar is perhaps the most famous digital artist out of India today. His name turns up in the first few results of all sorts of related searches, and it's not just about his own site either.

At about age 40 right now, Rahul works out of a well-equipped studio in Baroda (Gujarat, Western India), and has been "fully into Digital Printmaking and creating works of art on the computer since 1993." On the side, he's also a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Arvind Patel School of Environmental Design, Vallabh Vidyanagar. But as so often with artists from India, he's more too. In fact, he's "been extremely involved with Artificial Intelligence and development of various tools for Fine Arts".

When we caught up with him, Rahul was travelling in the USA with an exhibition of his digital prints entitled "Anahata Dhwani" or Sound without Vibrations. The images were showing in San Luis Obispo at the time, before traveling on to San Francisco in June.

Rahul was however also over yonder on a VOLVIS grant, with the US government setting up and facilitating all sorts of meetings and appointments on his behalf as a voluntary visitor.

The first such meeting was scheduled with Steve Jobs (CEO, Apple Computers), before whom Rahul intended to make a presentation of his works; the computer and Internet scene in India; and developing specialized tools for the handicapped, the disabled, the blind and the hearing-impaired. A second appointment was set up with Harold Cohen, Former Director of the Department of Visual and Computer Arts, University of San Diego, CA.

Rahul typically produces a limited six 8"x8" prints of each of his images, and sells them on his website at about $300 apiece. He also has a separate series for unlimited printing, priced at $30 apiece.

Texts from two pages off his site are reproduced below, followed by images with individual texts, reviews and record.

"anahata dhwani" ~ (sound without vibrations)

In Indian classical philosophy, it is believed that essentially every thought or idea originates in Sound (nada). The moment we think, an unheard sound is formed. As an idea appears in one's mind, the sound that concurrently occurs is the ground for all forms.

Sound is classified into four stages : para , pasyanti , madhyama and vaikhari . In an evolutionary sequence, these display the structure of the continuum of manifestation. Para sound, at the unmanifest stage, is the starting point. When the para sound is elongated in different directions, it becomes pasyanti . In other words, pasyanti sound is sound emerging towards the visible. After the stage of pasyanti , sound begins to crystallise into form. At this stage, sound becomes light or pasyanti becomes madhyama , the luminous sound. By creating patterns and curves, luminous sound make the enclosure and definition of space possible, projecting the original sound in forms accessible to human experience. The final stage of vaikhari sound offers infinite opportunities of permutation and combination arising out of one harmonious primal sound.

In Tantric thought, sound without vibrations does exist. And this unstruck sound or anahata dhwani comes from the original pranava sound, which as the aggregate of all existing sounds gives birth to the cosmic process itself. Through its immeasurably powerful range and intensity, the anahata dhwani can create, destroy, and reshape the entire structure of the Universe.

Each of the artworks from the exhibition "Anahata Dhwani" is printed in a limited edition portfolio, signed and dated by the artist himself.

It is carefully produced on the Lambda Durst imaging system, using the best of photographic paper (in case of prints on paper) and on high-quality imported prepared canvas (in case of prints on canvas). The canvas is treated with non-polluting varnishes and laquers that do not contain CFCs.

The maximum number of prints produced on photographic paper is six (including the artist's proof) and in case of canvas it is restricted to only one print.

Ordering Procedure

If you want one of the above limited edition prints, please e-mail the following details to me and post your payment to me by Bank Draft (payable at Baroda, India) in favour of Rahul Gajjar.

Title of the Print
Number of Prints
Your Name and Address
Your E-mail Address
Bank Draft Amount
Bank Draft Details

The prints are supplied with appropriate mounts, frames and stretchers.

Spiritual Images for Peace of Mind

AAA In July 1999, at the age of 39, I suffered a paralytic stroke. It was my survival, without any severe disability, which strengthened my desire to resume my regular life as quickly as possible. However, at that moment, my relative immobility did not permit this. Still, I would get to my computer with some difficulty and I began to work on my paintings ­ the tantra inspired works which I was working on before my stroke. Along the way, I discovered that there were a few paintings which gave me a great sense of peace and well-being when I looked at them with concentration. I then thought this to be very strange, considering my health situation.

By fully concentrating on one work, I would begin meditating and within a minute or two I would be in a kind of trance. It seemed to relieve a lot of built-up stress, helping me to relax and think more clearly. Somehow, this positive mental (spiritual?) state soon led to a quick physical recovery ­ something that even astonished my doctors.

Now, I am fine. I have resumed my work with the same energy and enthusiasm as in the past. But I have learnt ­ and learnt most thankfully ­ to spare just two minutes everyday to meditate in front of my paintings. My batteries get re-charged, and my being gets rejuvenated.

You too can share in this spiritual experience.

You can choose from the seven paintings shown here. All of them should work equally in giving you spiritual peace of mind. Select the one which you like the most. You can place your order by providing the details listed below.

 

Ordering Procedure

Each print is priced at US $30.00.

If you want one of the above unlimited edition prints, please e-mail the following details to me and post your payment to me by Bank Draft (payable at Baroda, India) in favour of Rahul Gajjar.

Title of the Print
Number of Prints
Your Name and Address
Your E-mail Address
Bank Draft Amount
Bank Draft Details

The prints can be supplied with appropriate mounts and frames on request.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: The philosophy and the gentle suggestions behind each painting are my subjective feelings. I cannot and do not guarantee any specific or general effect.

xxxxxxxxxxx


image-1: The Para sound, at the unmanifest stage, is the starting point. When the Para sound is elongated in different directions it becomes Pasyanti.


image-2: When the Para sound is elongated in different directions, it becomes Pasyanti. In other words, the Pasyanti sound is sound emerging towards the visible.


image-3: After the stage of Pasyanti, sound begins to crystallise into form. At this stage, sound becomes light or Pasyanti becomes Madhyama, the luminous sound. By creating patterns and curves, luminous sound make the enclosure and definition of space possible, projecting the original sound in forms accessible to human experience.


image-4: By creating patterns and curves, luminous sound makes the enclosure and definition of space possible, projecting the original sound in forms accessible to human experience. The final stage of Vaikhari sound offers infinite opportunities of permutation and combination arising out of one harmonious primal sound.


image-5: Hiranyagarbha or the Golden Germ symbolises the birth of the cosmos. That Golden Germ lived for a thousand years in the eggshell floating in the primordial waters.


image-6: Jyoti or light. Light is the manifestation of energy. The visible universe is the panorama of reflected images of forms created and produced by light.


image-7: It is based on the Sri Yantra, which repeats the form of the double triangle enclosed in a lotus within four walls. It is the symbol of Devi in two forms ­ her own form (swarupa) and the form of the universe (viswarupa). The ultimate object of meditation on the original yantra is to realise the unity of the jivatman (the meditator's individual soul) with the Devi. The practice of the ritual transforms the mind itself, and what at first seems merely an external yantra, with lines, corners and petals, becomes a pure mental state within the sadhaka himself. He, too, is a Sri Yantra, and he realises himself as such.


image-8: It is based on the Sri Yantra, which repeats the form of the double triangle enclosed in a lotus within four walls. It is the symbol of Devi in two forms ­ her own form (swarupa) and the form of the universe (viswarupa). The ultimate object of meditation on the original yantra is to realise the unity of the jivatman (the meditator's individual soul) with the Devi. The practice of the ritual transforms the mind itself, and what at first seems merely an external yantra, with lines, corners and petals, becomes a pure mental state within the sadhaka himself. He, too, is a Sri Yantra, and he realises himself as such.


image-9: This signifies the origin and growth of Jambudvipa, the central continent, surrounded by fish symbols. According to the geological theory of the evolution of organic life on earth, the appearance of fishes marks the second stage. None existed in the Azoic era which began approximately 2,000,000,000 years ago. Fishes appeared about 500,000,000 years ago in the Palaeozoic era.

~xxxx~

REVIEWS

BBC World ~ Digital Art: With Rahul Gajjar's exhibition of 'prints in new media', digital art has arrived in India.

The Times of India ~ Guided by Ganeshji: One day Ganeshji asked me if I wanted a ride with Him on His Mouse. Without batting an eyelid, I agreed. This exhibition displays images that He showed me on our trip together. Thus speaks Barodian Rahul Gajjar about his prints in new media displayed in Mumbai. The new medium is the homely computer. Gajjar began "painting" on it, he says, in a spirit of playful fun, as a process of teaching himself the limits to which he could push this technology. Then he made prints of the paintings he liked, showed them to art-sensitive friends and came up with a collection dedicated to the "spirit of the genius in man". Gajjar's own personal genius who has inspired him, the real Ganeshji in his life, is Bernard Lejeune of the National Association of French Advertising and Fashion Photographers who whisked him off to France for specialised traning in photography. This gold medallist at the National Photographic Salon of Japan and Asahi Shimbun Exhibition calls his works prints because like traditional etchings, lithographs and woodcuts, this medium too demands technological intervention before the final print is made. And because they can be made in multiples and shared with a wider audience.

Business Standard ~ India's first digital artist: Rahul Gajjar hasn't held a paintbrush in months, doesn't believe in easels, and regards dabbling paint on a palette as a quaint anachronism. When this 38-year-old starts off on a work of art, he uses tools that would raise M.F. Husain's eyebrows. His brush comes with attached wires; his palette is software-compatible; and his canvases whir smoothly out of a gigantic, state-of-the-art printer. The man who calls himself India's first computer artist says: "This is the future. People are scared about this new medium, but artists have to get used to the new technology." His works of art, showing at the India International Centre Annexe Gallery in Delhi, have drawn enthusiastic responses in Vadodara and Mumbai ­ from artists like Bhupen Khakkar as well as the man-on-the-street. And they've opened up that old issue: it's magnificent, but is it art?

The Sunday Times of India ~ In a new medium: .most of us are familiar with the routine and conventional uses of the computer and its technology. To be able to extract this kind of work, or even have the imagination to do so, is quite commendable, to say the least. Rahul Gajjar's prints in new media explore a number of themes ­ seeds, germinating seeds, nature, pots and so on. Some of the seed prints are almost cosmic, reminiscent of the brahmanda images. Most of them are abstract, worked in great detail and care.

Elle ~ Gallery Notes: Gajjar who is based in Baroda, specialises in prints using new media. He mixes graphic design and photography to create abstract images. His medium, he says, demands technological intervention so they (the prints) can be made in multiples and shared with a wider audience. Gajjar's inspiration comes from 'Ganeshji' and he believes that "knowingly or unknowingly, man is almost totally dependent on machines, from the simplest pulley to the ultimate in electronic wizardry." But since technology itself originates from man's genius, Gajjar dedicates his creations to "the spirit of the genius".

The Indian Express ~ Digital art ­ Following a shadow of tantric philosophy: If one eliminates philosophic background of the works, then, it discloses a play of homogeneous visual illusion between the artist and his visuals, between the computer (technical medium) and the visuals (medium of expression) and between the computer and the artist. For the viewer this finally creates an illusion of space, an abstract infinite chasm that appears ideal to fill back the abyss. Unlike most artists who use readymade software like PhotoShop, Corel, Director, etc., Gajjar has used the computer language of C++ to program each work. The obvious visual effect .is an equally merged area where it could appear pasted in the other programs. Many details, for example, forms in black over black, that emerge and submerge would turn quite flat if done in the above mentioned programs.

Outlook ~ Portrait of a Pixel Wand: It's tempting to dismiss it as computer jiggery-pokery but Rahul Gajjar's psychedelic artforms, some surreal, some earthy, are deceptively different. He calls them prints in new media. His palette: the computer. His theme: the cycle of birth and death. His leitmotifs: peacocks, parrots, ducks and fishes.

The Times of India ~ City Speak: The brush is replaced by a mouse, the canvass is Power Macintosh and the colours are pixels on the screen. 'Prints in new media' by Rahul Gajjar demonstrates the amazing and exciting vistas of art in general and print in particular. He explores this amazing liaison between art and technology. His paintings reveal an artist's fascination with technology that is aptly summed up at one of his exhibitions, "Man is almost totally dependent on machines, from the simplest pulley to the ultimate in electronic wizardry. How man's genius evolved such an amazing array of machines over the centuries makes a story that is both absorbing and instructing. This exhibition is dedicated to this spirit of the genius." And the genius within him transforms simple forms like circles and ovals into flying parrots, dancing peacocks, colourful vases or flowers.

Women's Era ~ Mumbai Art World: What is art? This is perhaps a very difficult question to answer, but one thing is definite. Today, the boundaries of art are being pushed further and further back. No longer is the artist a person who works with brush, water colours or oil paints and paper or canvas. He now works with a wide spectrum of media, in a variety of ways, to create works belonging to a number of schools ­ or perhaps no known school at all! What about creating art with the help of a computer? Why not, when the computer has invaded every other aspect of our lives? Rahul Gajjar is one of the few Indian artists who uses computers to produce his "paintings" ­ something which is rapidly gaining in popularity abroad. This was not the kind of art Gajjar was taught when he graduated in Graphic Design and Photography from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University, Baroda, but his real learning in his chosen field began when he was whisked off to France by a member of the National Association of French Advertising and Fashion Photographers for specialised training.


Exhibitions of Creative Art

* Baroda, January 1997, Organised by Vithi Art Gallery, at Faculty of Fine Arts.
* Ahmedabad, March 1997, Organised by AADI CENTRE (Art, Architecture and Design India Centre), at the Hutheesing Visual Art Centre, C E P T Complex.
* Rajkot, December 1997, Rajkumar College.
* Mumbai, February 1998, Bajaj Art Gallery.
* New Delhi, November 1998, at India International Centre.
* Baroda, January 2000, Organised by Artcore Art Gallery.
* Ahmedabad, March 2000, at the Hutheesing Visual Art Centre,


TV Interviews

* BBC World, Style, March 30, 1998.
* DOORDARSHAN, Ahmedabad, March 25, 1997.
* YES, Ahmedabad, March 1997.
* CITICABLE, Ahmedabad, March 1997.
* STAR TV, Art Plus, 2000.


Studied (B.A. ­ Fine ­ with Applied Arts as a Major and Photography) at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (MSU). Graduated (First Class) in 1983.
Took a course in EKS (Energo-Cybernetic Strategy) under Mewes System (Frankfurt, Germany) and Baroda Productivity Council.
Schooling was at Rajkumar College, Rajkot.
Invited in 1993 by ANPPM (National Association of Advertising and Fashion Photographers, France) to work with leading French Photographers.

Rahul has more than a passing interest in Music of the World, Travelling, Conservation & Documentation of Tribal Art and Wildlife.

Rahul Gajjar
A-1, Lalitanagar Duplex
Rajesh Apartment Road
Off Gotri Road
Baroda 390 021
India
Phone/Fax : +91-265-396450
E-mail : rahulgajjar@icenet.net
rahulgajjar@netkracker.com