J P Singhal

October 2015

Born on 24th October 1934 in Meerut (U.P.), J P Singhal began painting at the age of ten. At around the age of twenty, his work got noticed in Dharmayug (a popular TOI publication of the time) leading to his first Calendar getting published, which also brought him to the city of Mumbai. Thereafter, he became a household name and no one could better him in fine art realistic paintings. His work included more than 2700 paintings and over 80 crore reproductions of the same on subjects varying from mythology to beauties, to day-to-day life scenes, children, street musicians, tribals, exotic botanical specimens, wildlife, famous temple  sculptures, Ajanta and many others. He also played a pivotal role in the world of Hindi cinema as a prolific Portfolio Specialist, Concept Shoots pioneer and publicity designer and went on to design creatives for over 150 films. He also has published two Coffee Table books dedicated to some of his niche work that include photographs and paintings of Ajanta Ellora and actresses of Hindi cinema.

A national award winner and India's highest selling artist across all forms, J P Singhal has painted over 2700 original works which were reproduced over 800 million times. "In his early phase my father was greatly influenced by the 'wash technique' in water colours used by the artists of the Bengal school and the flowing lines of Chugtai. This genre of art was very different from the contemporary style adopted by artists of that era," says Dinesh Singhal, Director, J P Singhal Foundation.

"With images that were realistic, distinct and clear, an overall look that was well-finished with soft, smooth and gentle controlled brush strokes, were his signature style paintings. Be it mythological themes, Indian beauties, film stars or rural folk, he evolved a style that was acclaimed by both the popular and critical audiences," he adds.

"In the late seventies, enthralled by J P Singhal's works on rural India, Raj Kapoor invited the former to concieve the look of Zeenat Aman for the film Satyam Shivam Sundaram. So enchanted was Bollywood with the refreshing feel which Singhalsaab introduced that an instant and long association was immediately forged. Through his camera and styling, he conceived the creative feel of several blockbuster movies like Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Shaan, Mr. India, Henna, Tridev, Rocky, Border, Dil, Gadar-Ek Prem Katha, Hero, Betaab and over 150 other films," says Pradeep Chandra, photographer and friend of J P Singhal for many years.

While working with his friend MF Husain on Gajgamini and Meenaxi, he was drawn towards contemporary art. His curiosity about this new style made him reinvent himself as a contemporary artist. He nurtured his feeling by creating a series of paintings in modern art. In his own words, to satisfy and pamper the child (Shishu) inside him, he made an attempt to create this art and enjoyed at the fullest while doing so.

Source: Press release for exhibition titled, "A Retrospective" at Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai.


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