Prithvi Raj, born in 1994, has formulated a very unusual mix in his art and it is a style that has few equals. He is not afraid to experiment, both with his paintings and with the materials used. Admirers will be surprised at his work and will undoubtedly question how his images are produced. Visitors to the Kathmandu Guest House can see three examples of his unique art at the Arthouse. He studied for his bachelor’s degree at the Sirjana College of Fine Arts before doing a Master’s Creative course at Tribhuvan University. He continues his studies as he simultaneously helps his family at their shop.
He comes from a family of crafts folk, originally from the Gorkha region but who migrated to the Kathmandu Valley. His father owns a leather shop in Thahity Square in old Kathmandu. His mother has been involved in fashion design and was a great inspiration to Prithvi at an early age. His grandfather was one of the first traders in Kathmandu to sell leather products, with the first batches coming from India as well as domestically.
As for the unique style that he has chosen, it is a mix of painting and overlaid design, where the added materials actually ‘stand above’ the main images. This style of image is extremely difficult to produce, with many days of intricate drilling, cutting, and shaping just for the overlay level. The paintings are no less complex, with background colors below the overlay level and the detailed figurative painting itself. Words do not easily describe this art form, so everyone interested needs to observe the images first hand. Suffice to say that at least five stages are required in this art form; preparation of the canvas on a firm plywood base, design drawings, sketching and background, detailed preparation of the overlay level, and finally painting of the main figures. Then of course a protective layer of varnish is required.
As for the future, Prithvi is keen to develop his existing themes, but he is not averse to further abstract work. He feels it will be difficult to continually find new themes and innovative new designs in his chosen medium, as it is so unusual. When commissioned, he can turn his hand to portraits; after all, every artist still has to make a living!
The Kathmandu Art House currently exhibits his complex Tara image, which easily demonstrates his unique and striking style. See it for yourself and be amazed by the sheer amount of effort and painstaking hours that were put into these images.