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Online exclusive: The Artist

Tuesday, 3 June 2014 - 6:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Eleven year old artist, Radhey Patel talks to Jheel Gada about how he draws inspiration from Picasso, Van Gough and also Nelson Mandela

What fueled your interest in art? Do you have any memories of your first painting?
I was extremely fascinated by colour pens and pencils just like any other seven year old. Like most children I enjoyed doodling, drawing and painting however I do not exactly remember my first painting.

Do you seek inspiration for your paintings?
I don't always seek inspiration for my work but art is inspired, right? For instance, one of my paintings titled 'Transform: Making of a Mahatma' revolves around the theme of change/ transformation. It portrays how Gandhi transformed into a Mahatma during our independence struggle. The painting was inspired by a quote by Nelson Mandela that said, 'You gave us Gandhi, we gave you the Mahatma'

Who are your favorite artists? Do you plan to be a full-time artist in the future?
I look up to Picasso. His work that can be classified into four periods is inspiring. 'Boy with a Pipe' and 'Old Guitarist' are some of my favorite Picasso works. Another artist I deeply admire for his creativity is Van Gough. I have attempted to recreate his painting 'Starry Night', albeit in my own way. There is a lot of time to decide if I want to become a full time artist. Right now my focus is on learning.

Tell us about your online exhibition in support of BBC Children in Need. What will be on display at the National Institute of Fine Arts (NIFA) Annual Art Exhibition?
Very honestly, I don't know much about the BBC initiative since it was my father's idea to be a part of this cause. But I do know that I can help make a difference through my art. And I want to help the underprivileged to hone their talents. At the NIFA Annual Art Exhibition I will showcase my latest works. I am still working on some of the paintings that will cover several themes.

How do you balance school and art? Do you have any other interests?
Balancing academics and art is not very difficult for me. In fact I love Math and English. I like reading, I believe it fuels imagination. 'Alice in Wonderland', 'The Lord of the Rings' and the Percy Jackson series are some of my all time favorites.

What does art mean to you? How important is practice for an artist?
Art is the way one sees the world. I enjoy the creative process of expressing myself through art. It excites me and tends to complete my day. To quote William Blake, "Without unceasing practice nothing can be done, practice is art and if you leave off you are lost." So practice is of extreme importance. After all they say, 'Practice makes man perfect'.

How have your parents supported you?
My parents are supportive in encouraging my work as an artist. My father has also assisted me in creating a website for myself.

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