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Chandrakant Bhide: The Portrait Typist

Everyone who makes art has their own thoughts, dreams, and viewpoints. Each culture has its own aesthetic. Every period has its own set of technologies. Art is as different as the people who make it, in the context of the culture they come from and the tools and resources available to them.

Art is so diverse that it makes you fascinated by how unique an individual's art is, and one of these is from a home in India's Mumbai where Chandrakant Bhide is creating his latest artwork -- on a typewriter.

The 72-year-old uses the huge, manual machine's keys to sketch portraits of renowned people, all of whom exhibit an undeniable likeness to their subjects. Bhide has created over 150 pieces of typewriter art over the last half-century, ranging from politicians and movie stars to cricketers, animation characters, and religious symbols.

"I have done many personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy. This is my hobby, my passion," he tells AFP.

Since finding his unusual gift as a bank clerk in the late 1960s, Bhide has held 12 exhibitions of his art and has become something of a local celebrity. He wanted to go to art school and become a commercial artist as a child, but his family couldn't afford it, so he studied stenography instead.

Bhide was working in the administrative department of Union Bank of India when in 1967 his boss asked him to type up a list of staff intercom numbers. "I typed it in the form of a telephone itself. When I saw it I thought, 'This is fantastic, I can make art through this medium.' Everybody seemed to like it too," he recalls.

Bhide began creating representations of the Hindu god Ganesha using the "x" key to commemorate India's annual celebration honoring the elephant-headed deity. He then began experimenting with other keys, such as the "w", dash, asterisk, ampersand, and percentage sign, to make images of Indian and international superstars.

While Bhide takes only 15 minutes to draw Ganesha, several hours are required to complete a famous face in what is a painstaking process. - No delete key - With steely focus he uses his left hand to grip the knob that controls the platen -- the roller that feeds the paper through -- as he taps the keys with his right index finger. He stops every so often to change the angle of the page before typing again.

Sometimes he'll flick the color-change lever from black to red or vice-versa and he'll glance down regularly at the photograph he is working off to make sure he hasn't made an error.

"Typing requires dedication and concentration. If you put one stroke in the wrong place then you have to start again. It's not like a computer where you can delete. Many times I've made mistakes and had to start again," says Bhide.

The septuagenarian has drawn several Indian actors over the years including Amitabh Bachchan and Dilip Kumar as well as American cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and Archie. Cricketers feature heavily, such as Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, whose famous curly hair Bhide recreated with hundreds of "at" symbols used in email addresses.

Bhide, who doesn't sell his artwork or take orders, has been featured in several Indian newspapers and has been able to show his portraits to many of the Indian stars he has drawn. He says he plans to attempt Donald Trump, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

All of his works have been produced on the same Halda typewriter he used for the 30 years that he worked at Union Bank. The bank gifted it to him for one rupee when he retired in the mid-90s.

"I have got so many things out of this typewriter. Typing is an art," he says.

Source: Yahoo News

About the Writers

Maina Zaina, Writer and a Virtual Assistant at AVCreativity Studio. She enjoys media entertainment and is an avid fan of "K-Wave". She loves her job because she is exposed to different types of entertainment. She also believes in the saying "If you want to be successful, don't seek success - seek competence, empowerment; do nothing short of the best that you can do" by Jaggi Vasudev

Pamela Elizabeth, Editor-in-Chief at AVCreativity Studio. Earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Secondary Education Major in English. She loves going on little adventures alongside reading good books. She is enthusiastic about her work and ensures that her clients receive the finest service possible

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