“A person can succeed at almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm,” said Charles M Schwab, American steel magnate. And this is the life saga that master painter Surya Prakash replicates.
It is not an easy task to pursue one’s passion without any support in the initial stage but despite odd circumstances, the painter never surrendered to the situations and proved that ‘passion overcomes everything’.
His indomitable spirit to pursue his passion made him leave the government job he pursued for three years. And, in a world where even a single thought of losing a job gives goosebumps, Surya Prakash’s brave decision sets an example for many who do not dare to pursue their passion due to societal pressure.
If you ever come across his works, stand still for a while and you will be smitten with the painting, as his art pieces do the talking which humans often fail to convey. You can have the privilege of watching his paintings on the walls of LV Prasad Eye Institute, at his studio and gallery of the past 30 years. Even the artworks at different places in the institute are his creation.
The 77-year-old prominent painter from the city originally from Madhira, Khammam district, has so far put up his works on display in more than 55 solo exhibitions, over 100 group shows, and still working everyday to create a few more masterpieces. Let’s take a look at his journey from Rs 40 per painting to paintings worth Rs 40 lakh.
Passion, the only support
He discovered his passion during extra-curricular classes in school and from then onwards, there is no stopping. Recalling how he developed immense interest towards painting, he says, “It was that time of my life when I was eight to 10 years old and had a very kind drawing teacher in school.
On knowing that I am interested in art, the teacher took extra initiative and started to conduct art class after school hours everyday.”
He says that he was not good in academics and somehow managed to clear his matriculation and got the certificate. But, even after that, he didn’t get admission at any of the colleges in Hyderabad. “My father was very strict and he asked my brothers and me to leave the house, and then, we shifted to Hyderabad. Since then, this is the city I have been spending my life in,” he says.
The real struggle of his life started when he shifted to Hyderabad and continued the thought of pursuing art and took admission at College of Fine Arts and Architecture and his brother got him enrolled in a five-year course. “I used to manage the expenses on my own with the help of part-time jobs and my elder brother, who worked as a sound engineer, helped me a lot with food and accommodation,” he adds.
A never-say-die attitude
“After I left the job at Informations and Public Relations, Government of Andhra Pradesh, which I did from 1961 to 1964, I moved to Delhi to learn from well-known artist Ram Kumar for six months and then returned to Hyderabad,” adds the painter.
Then, he started freelancing and, along with his friends Laxma Goud and Dakoji Devraj, he rented a room to set up a small studio and work together.
“For a long time, we exhibited our art together in metropolitan cities and it took 30 long years to get recognition for the work I do. Slowly, a few galleries from Bombay (Mumbai), Delhi and Chennai started to calling me to display my art,” shares Surya Prakash.
Role of the family
“I quit the job after a few months of my wedding but my wife has always been my pillar of support. She never said anything about my decision and one reason is that she herself was into painting and the other valid reason was that she didn’t know me as a person much by then,” he shares.
Talking about his parents, he said that they never showed interest in his career and they always thought that he will end up as a drawing teacher and they could never see his growth as an artist. He shares, “All this while, my brother stood by me and is the major reason behind me becoming who I am today.”
Changed art scenario
Sharing how the art culture has evolved over the years, he says, “Now, Hyderabad is a better place for artists. Earlier, there were no galleries for artists to display their works but now it has been changed which is good for emerging artists. In terms of sale, there are still few buyers and other cities offer better sale opportunities.”
“The best thing about the present generation is that their parents are also supportive and accept the fact that one can make a living from art,” he concludes.