Over a decade ago Yuvraj Patil, a farmer’s son hailing from a small village in Kolhapur, decided to pursue his passion of being an artist never in his wildest dreams did he think that some fifteen years later he would be a renowned artist with patrons from around the world and several awards to his name.
Born in 1981 on a small farm in Kolhapur’s Panchagaon, Yuvraj was always interested in art and after completing his education with several art courses and diplomas, he went on to teach students, however, the pay was very low and he wasn’t satisfied. Yuvraj wanted out, but he only took the plunge after 2007, when one of his college artworks was selected by the Art Society of India and subsequently sold for Rs. 25,000.
Now 40, the artist shares, “When my art sold for such a great price it boosted my confidence, everyone told me I should head to Mumbai if I want to make it as an artist. So I moved there in 2008, with no idea about anything, but my determination helped me achieve success.”
Initially, Yuvraj stayed with 4-5 others in a one-room kitchen, teaching art in school’s around Maximum City’s Dombivli area, making Rs 5000 monthly, however this wasn’t enough to survive in an expensive city like Mumbai. So Yuvraj started painting signboards in his free time to make some extra money and also to create more as an artist.
He shares, “After paying for the necessities like rent and food, I would spend the rest of my earnings on art supplies and then spend all of my free time producing more art and showcasing them wherever possible.”
The artist’s friends were concerned for him and asked Yuvraj to take up a well-paying, stable job so that he can help his family and farmer father. However, my parents always supported me to never give up on my dreams. While Yuvraj always wanted to be an artist, he took a while to discover what he works with best, starting with watercolor and acrylic paints, he soon realized that charcoal art was where his creativity reflected best. As Yuvraj worked towards improving his artwork he also approached galleries where he could showcase it, and by 2013 his works started selling at different galleries in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and different other cities. He has produced over 200 paintings and his work has also been showcased in Dubai and is sold around the world.
Yuvraj has received many accolades from different art institutes of India including at the Bharati Kala Mahavidyalaya Annual Show, Camlin Art Foundation, Gulbarga Academy Awards, and ICAC Art Gallery. He admitted that “The more recognition you get, the better your paintings are priced. I make around Rs 10 lakh a year from my paintings.”
Talking about how far he has come since 2007, Yuvraj shares that his new income is only a result of hard work. He shares, “I am not bragging, all this has happened only because I never gave up on my dream. Now we not only have a two-storey house in my village but also a Mumbai flat from where he works out. The artist works at least five hours a day honing his skills, and the rest of the time is spent trying to get more galleries to showcase his work, make contacts and gain exposure. Talking about how an artist needs to keep evolving, he shares, “When we innovate and try different techniques to improve our work, we create something that is unique and this grabs more attention, which in turn further increases our interest in our work.”
Yuvraj spends anywhere between a week to a month creating his stunning artworks that are inspired by various concepts including traveling, daily life, and routines. He shares, “I am trying to show Indian culture through my charcoal paintings.” The artist is currently at his village home on account of the coronavirus pandemic but continues to work on his art diligently every day.
This story is submitted by Bilal Khan and edited by Alfea Shaikh.
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