Sanjay Patel: "Deities, Demons, and Dudes with 'Staches: Indian Avatars" in San Francisco

 Images Maharaja Sanjay1

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum opened an exhibition this week of work by Sanjay Patel, the wonderful illustrator and Pixar animator who we've featured on BB many times over the years. The show, titled "Deities, Demons, and Dudes with 'Staches: Indian Avatars by Sanjay Patel" runs until April. I also highly recommend Sanjay's "Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow," available for $10 from Amazon. Sanjay writes:

 Images Maharaja Sanjay2

People see my work and think it's unique. This is total bull. My work is a total knock off and the fact that people don't see it shocks me. That's the whole point of my show: To show people the connection between the most ancient artifacts and my modern interpretation. To place an exquisite stone sculpture of Vishnu from the twelfth century next to a digital illustration created at this moment. Then to step back and to let people decide what's original and what's not. What's special and what's not, what's art and what's pop culture.

My own life is full of these comparisons and contradictions. My father smears red paste on the forehead of small deities each morning. He sits cross-legged and sings along to devotional songs. I sit on a Herman Miller chair, use digital tools, and blare New Order songs, the whole while illustrating Hindu deities. He does his pumas twice a day and I try to do a little work before and after my day job every day. My father animates his faith through meditation and ritual. I use my Techincolor tools to reincarnate modern avatars. In my opinion we're both devoted and reverential, just in different ways, and for different reasons. We're also both continuing a tradition of art making and worship that stretches back thousands of years. What could be more common to the human experience?

"Deities, Demons, and Dudes with 'Staches: Indian Avatars by Sanjay Patel"