Gaurav Shrestha is a self-proclaimed ‘learner who is indulged deeply in his passion’. He started off really early. In his words, “I was an artist since childhood. I would paint and draw on whatever I could get my hands on. When I was in middle school, I was took to water colours and painted all the time. With peer pressure my passion took back-seat for a while but after finishing my 10th grade, I started with it again as a hobby. I thought of art and painting all the time. I often wondered if it was paint instead of blood that was running down my veins (laughs). My schedule always had painting in it and it was then that I thought of taking it up as a profession. My family wasn’t supportive at first but as the number of collectors started to grow, my parents were by my side. My intro into the world of art and artists, professionally wasn’t a very smooth one but I guess that is something most aspiring artists go through. Today as I look back, I am glad that I didn’t give up then and persevered on with what I was doing, because now, I am happy with the recognition that I have achieved.
Gaurav is one artist who is not easily impressed by certificates. He believes that some sort of an innate talent is what is needed to become a great artist. Certificates according to him churn out run-off-the-mill professionals. He says, “I started with full determination and hibernated in my house trying to do something different, working for 16-17 hours at a stretch. It might seem crazy but it was during this period that I came up with the idea of collage paintings. Today, I feel really proud to have started the trend of collage paintings in Nepal. During the last ten years I had completely devoted myself to creating pure, advanced and abstract collages. My recent exhibition, Omkarnations which was my 8th solo exhibition was my newest offering to the Nepali art scene. I experimented with mixed- media instead of collage, which I feel is completely different from what I had done previously.
Gaurav shares a sentiment echoed by most artists - being an artist in Nepal is very difficult. First, only selected artists sell, and second, it takes years for new artists to settle and achieve recognition. And who would know that better than Gaurav when he has himself survived frustrating points in his professional career - when he stocked up his completed projects at home and people came and took his art works for free.
Talking about his recent exhibition Gaurav says, “My recent work, “Omkarnations” expresses art in a graphical, modern and symbolic way. The paintings were the result of a year-long effort which included varieties of paintings in mixed media. All of these paintings have emerged out through the sheer joy of playing with colours and melodies of the inner music - “OM”, which makes one feel inner peace, harmony and positivity. I have always believed in creating creative collages and paintings through innovative ideas which grants me the freedom to express myself with novel ideas and diverse styles.”