KK Gandhi who is now a well known name of the art industry of the state was born in 1960. Although he used to paint since his childhood but could not develop on the talent due to dearth of resources, guidance and talent.
“In my childhood days, I used to draw on walls with charcoal. That used to give me a certain satisfation but later, to earn a living, I took to the business of manufacturing air conditioners and selling them. But when the branded ACs entered into the market, my business took a knock. After that I discovered myself and pursued painting as my profession”, K K Gandhi recalls.
Although he was an engineer by education and business man by profession but he always was a painter in every mean. That can be summed up by the fact that only in his first exhibition where then Chief Minister of the state Ghulam Nabi Azad who was the guest, brought four out of eighteen paintings which are hanging in CM’s office till now.
K K normally use bright colours and depict nomadic life in his paintings. He also portray Jammu’s ancient monuments and heritage sites. He loves to paint them in good light instead of showing them as haunting places as they actually are.
Till now, K K Gandhi has showcased his paintings in over 18 solo exhibitions in India. He has also took part in group exhibitions in London, Oman, Dubai and many other coutries all over the world. Moreover, he has participated in 41 national painting camps. He also paints 3D paintings. As a matter of fact, he is first and only artist in the state who perform live paintings.
He just need five-six sittings, means only three days to complete a painting. Most of his paintings have been made in this much time.
When asked about some beautiful experience with painting, he shared a very sweet story. Once he was visiting outside Jammu. He saw a house with a person in it. He was a dholiya. He painted that. After making the painting he came back. After some time passed he put this painting up for exhibition and incidentally this painting was the feature photo in the newspaper.
The family saw the painting and recognized. They approached him and told him that the person in this painting was mad actually. He is dead now and you have kept his smile, him alive and this thing touched him. He decided that day that he would never sell this painting.
About selling of Art K K believes that gone are the days when an artist would be happy by just making his painting and waiting for appreciation and buyers. These days artists no longer afford to live with the traditional approach, they have to market their creations like any other product if they want to survive and thrive.
According to him, his masterpiece is a portrait of Jammu’s Mubarak Mandi heritage complex that was the focus of attention for every visitor during the Jammu Festival, 2008. He gave a royal touch to this painting on a 9X5 ft canvas. This painting is presently adding grace to a central lodge in Jammu University.