A sand artist, and a fairly successful one at that. It’s such an offbeat profession that it intrigued us. Raghavendra must have an amazing story. After all, how do you take up such an unconventional career path and have it all go perfectly fine? He probably had a good fight to make it in his field.
We were in for a shock, though. Raghavendra has a story, but not the story we were expecting.
The Artist In The Child
Raghavendra was born into humble beginnings as a member of an agricultural family at Sirasi. “I was never interested in anything other than art,” he says. As a child, all he ever wanted to do was paint or draw and never bothered with his studies. While his teachers would drawl on about various topics, Raghavendra was either found doodling in his books or stirring up trouble. His interests also extended to theatre and he took part in several plays throughout his childhood. When he got through school, he completed his Bachelors in Fine Arts and then went on to study in Chitrakala Parishat, a renowned art school in Bangalore.
Soon after, he started teaching in various colleges across the city on various subjects such as designing of terracotta jewellery, acrylic sculpture and basic geometry. “I was always interested in reading more, but never in studying,” he says. “I enjoy all forms of art, be it dancing, singing or painting. All of them are inter-related and you will enjoy all of them even more if you understand and appreciate them separately.”
Under the tutelage of his mentor, he went on to pursue live art. “For an artist, every performance is an exam. It’s scary to face an audience and create whatever they ask you to in the spur of a moment. That was the only challenge I ever faced,” says Raghavendra. “Knowledge about a variety of topics is necessary. And not just knowing the subject briefly. A deep analysis of everything is required to produce art on the spot. God has literally given you a job where you have to please people all the time.”
The Birth Of The Sand Artist
Raghavendra’s journey with sand art started when he saw a video of a Ukranian girl creating a piece. “It was beautiful. By and by as I watched, the whole thing formed before my eyes.” He did face a few challenges when starting off – the equipment he used to showcase his art was made by himself after having repeatedly tested it. “There are very few sand artists in the one world, but there is no one in the world who will have equipment this compact”, he says. With just a fist full of sand he started to weave his magic and there was no looking back.
At this point, we suddenly realized that everything seemed to be going absolutely dandy for Raghavendra! When we asked him if he ever faced a challenge, he smiled and said, “Of course, I have!” He goes on to say that though he was well prepared on a variety of topics related to art, the audience always managed to stump him. “But overcoming it wasn’t that hard as I loved what I did and I always used my creativity to get myself out of a fix.”
Our conversation was coming to an end, but we were still left wondering – where was the big struggle? Didn’t he have a difficult time making it as a sand artist?
We’d realized that our bias was coming into play. In our minds, we had somehow decided if anyone goes off the beaten path, they have to have a hard time. We had conditioned ourselves to believe that any unconventional choice has to be met with difficult circumstances.
It took us a while to understand that things can actually work out for the best. If anything, most people take on risks purely thinking of what they can achieve, not what they’re going to face along the way.
“Some people don’t like taking risks. They are probably more focused on making money in a lackluster job. That is absolutely fine. But if you have a creative mind, I suggest you put it to use. If you want to achieve something, then get up and do it. Give your creativity a chance to shine. Like Steve Jobs said, ‘Our imagination is limitless and because it is limitless, you can achieve everything that you dream of.’”
Raghavendra’s passion has taken him places and he has carved a niche for himself in the world of art, with sheer will and dedication. He has travelled all over the world and gained a whole lot of appreciation for his art.
There’s so much fear associated with taking the less-travelled route. This is understandable and it makes sense to heed it as well. The unfortunate part is that we often imagine the worst and think that there’s always going to be a harsh terrain up ahead. We fall steep into the mode of ‘What if it all goes to the dogs?’
People like Raghavendra think differently. They want to live life a certain way and that’s all that matters. More importantly, he was very successful in a field that we often don’t even hear of. If you’re contemplating taking a step towards what you want or you’re already on that path, use Raghavendra’s story as a source of inspiration for another kind of question:
What if it all works out as per plan?