Stone Stories are expressions by Shrinivas Gadre, the way he perceived and found Mother Nature. An inquisitive explorer and a fervent aesthete, he took up photography as his medium to rediscover and reinvent the purpose of his life after running a successful manufacturing business for over 30 years.
Shrinivas gives the viewer a closer look at the natural world, a window to look into one’s soul. His stories stir up thoughts that create an impression one would never forget – where one finds and loses oneself at the same time.
Following is the conversation between the artist, Shrinivas Gadre and Radhika Maheshwari -
Radhika : Stone Stories by Shrinivas Gadre - Is it Art? Is it Photography?
Shrinivas : I believe Stone Stories are a manifestation of Nature’s Expressions, expressed as an Artform.
The process and purpose of creating Art is more important than the tools used. I use microscopic photographic tools. My process is exploring the deeper layers of a Stone with a purpose to invoke the deeper layers of my mind. I would like to explain my process as a soul-searching adventure that seeks edification.
When you look at any Stone Story, you do not find a definitive subject or a memory; it is exclusive of that. And, therefore it is an expression with which I want to endeavour and cast an impression in the soul, heart and mind of my audience.
Radhika : What is ‘Art’ for you? How do you describe your artistic style?
Shrinivas : In simple words, Art is an assimilation and expression of my thoughts, emotions, intuitions and perceptions. As I acknowledge and appreciate the deeper layers of Art, I realise it is beyond my thoughts and emotions; it is much more personal. Art is a way of sharing my personal world with the audience. It is the communication of intimate, mystical and surreal concepts as I perceive Mother Nature, a part of my extended personality.
My expression of Art or artistic style is what I like to call - ‘Abstracted Reality’. I photograph nature - the reality; and my vision under a microscope brings out the abstraction which is presented to my audience as a Stone Story. My artistic style is the essence and rawness of Nature as I see and feel it.
Radhika : Who is your Art for? What is the role of the ‘Audience’ for you as an artist?
Shrinivas : My art is for Everyone. It is of the audience , and for the audience.
I am just a medium that brings the Stories of Nature to the viewers - my audience. If you think of me as a Storyteller, the role of my audience becomes absolutely important. If you think of me as an Artist, the role of my audience becomes purpose-driven. Audience is the one that keeps the story, my art - alive and timeless.
As my audience interacts with a piece of my art; that sparks a thought and invokes the deeper layers of emotions. This is very fascinating. The conversations between the Art and the Audience gives meaning to the life of the Artist.
Radhika : What inspires you to create Art? What is the best part about being an artist?
Shrinivas : My inspiration lies in my curiosity to unravel the world beyond what we see in our daily life. What fuels me, is my instinct to find the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.
I cannot identify a specific activity or part and label it as the best part about being an artist. In my humble opinion, being an artist is best in itself. The creative freedom to explore ideas and travel through imagination; the ability to channelise all the different ideas and perspectives and execute them through different mediums; the simple joy that comes with the art creation process; that feeling to see a work of art completed; the potential to share it with the world and decipher newer realms; the never ending saga of opportunities and innovation - I can go on and on.
Everything that makes an artist, an “Artist” is best. Just like how everything makes a human, a “Human” is beautiful.
Radhika : What made you choose ‘Stones’ as your subject? How did ‘Stones’ and ‘Stories’ connect?
Shrinivas : I was introduced to the world of photography and began capturing landscapes. And, like everyone else, I did a lot of this. Attending photo walks and going on photography trips across India and abroad, I got the opportunity to meet many photographers and artists. Attending various art exhibitions played a pivotal role in shaping my understanding of art and aesthetics. Each of them taught me something or the other that paved my path to explore the endless possibilities of photography.
My inquisitive nature pushed me to think differently and thus my horizons of exploration expanded. I started reading and researching more about Photography and Art. The realisation that photography can also be an artform was a turning point. I never looked at the world the same way again. For me -
“Photography is the art of capturing what a thing is;
and Art Photography is the art of capturing what else a thing is.”
During my research, I landed upon a Video Journal “Luminous Landscapes” by Micheal Reichmann. In one of the episodes, he was interviewing Bill Atkinson where he mentioned his book “Within the Stone”. That caught my attention. My science background deepened my curiosity and I found another book - “Formations: Images from Rocks” by Richard Weston. Stones held me captivated. My intuition guided this inner calling and that began my journey with Stones.
The initial days were about experimenting and experiencing the stones. Unless a dialogue starts with the stone, I cannot uncover a story. As I started this journey, I found it to be not just my story, but stones had the potential to convey stories of everyone and everything, including the universe. And, this is how Stone Stories by Shrinivas Gadre was born.
Radhika : Could you tell us more about your Art Journey? How did your Artistic Style evolve?
Shrinivas : At the age of sixteen, my parents gifted me a “Yashica 635” - a camera model, now you will find only in museums. I would take an exposed film roll to a Dark Room at our family friend’s place and we would explore the mesmerising world of Photography. It was a luxurious hobby to maintain back then.
My career trajectory started as an industrialist. Even while 30 years in industrial business, I took up every opportunity to creatively express myself. Be innovation in instrumentation or designing our exhibition display booths - my idea of design reflected simple and highly functional creations. My understanding of design was backed by research and experimentation. This got deep rooted in my core. During this time, photography remained as a creative outlet, a hobby I would occasionally take up.
So, the day I started devoting more time to Photography; I started doing the same - research and experimenting. For a while, I joined a local photography club and instilled in me the habit to photograph more frequently. This strengthened my understanding of photographic tools and the creative vision that makes a photographer an artist. Once the fundamentals were laid, the exploration phase began. From landscapes to portraits and everything in between, I gave a shot at everything. None of them eventually got me captivated like the world of Stones did.
Photography is understanding the light and then capturing it effectively as your medium of expression. I feel it is an expelled wish of a Stone Slab to uncover their Stories; and I am lucky enough to be around to capture and express that wish.
I believe my artistic style developed as I was able to express my thoughts with better clarity. Our thoughts are not completely ‘Real’ neither totally ‘Abstract’. Their existence is somewhere between the boundaries of the Real and the Abstract Realm. And, thus, the expression of my thoughts - my Art - came out as ‘Abstracted Realities’.
Radhika : If you had to use a different name for your art - Stone Stories; what would it be? Why?
Shrinivas : “Rhythm of Nature” perhaps.
Like I always say I am just a mediator between Mother Nature and my audience. I discovered what was hidden beneath the deeper layers of the stones and connected it with the deeper layers of soul, heart and mind. My expression of Art is understanding the Rhythm of Nature through Stone Stories.
Radhika : What goals do you wish to achieve through your art?
Shrinivas : I will answer about Art Goals on a general and personal level.
Art has added purpose and life in my life. I want to share the same with the world. I want to stimulate my audience with the array of emotions I get to experience and the unique expression of Nature that Stone Stories is.
With my Art, I want to give back to the world all the opportunities, excitement and happiness that it continues to give me all along.
Apart from the visual experience that my art can share with the world, I have also embarked on a journey to give back to the society. With every work of Art that I sell, the proceeds go to the charity. Whatever I earn through my Art, is given back to those who need it more than most of us.
On a personal level; within my art, I want to find answers to my questions and question my answers. I want my art to be a visual escape and a guiding torch as I endeavour the different realms of life.
To know more about Shrinivas Gadre, visit www.shrinivasgadre.com