The Indian Cartoon Gallery, off MG Road in Bangalore, is exhibiting a series of cartoons by G.S. Naganath titled “Fine Toons”. Naganath started sketching when he was 10 years old and had his first cartoon strip published when he was 17. Today, more than 20 years later, the 40-year-old says making cartoon might not earn him his daily bread, but it reminds him not to take life too seriously. It also gives him the satisfaction of injecting humour in the lives of other people. “When I just started, my parents didn’t think I’d be able to make enough money by just drawing, so I did a course in art related to advertising that kept me as close as possible to my sketching pencils and paper,” says Naganath, a full-time visual designer with Mphasis Ltd, an IT services company.
Around 5,000 cartoons of Naganath’s cartoons have been published in national dailies, such as The Times of India, and in several Kannada publications such as Prajavani, Sudha and Udayavani. He started with traditional black and white strips, but his exposure to new technology as a visual designer prompted him to experiment with colour. That has now become trademark of his pieces.
“I like to use my work to highlight the problems faced by the middle class every day, and that I think is done very well with the aid of cartoon strips in newspapers,” says the cartoonist, who collects ideas from conversations with neighbours and colleagues. Daily issues such as traffic, power cuts and, currently, the general election find their way into the strips.
Self caricature of G.S.Naganath
In an attempt to shock Bangaloreans, Naganath has used three frames that depict the past, present and future of Bangalore under the titles Garden City, Silicon City and Concrete City. “You can avoid (using) a thousand words in an article with a few words (and appropriate images) in a cartoon strip.”
The gallery was opened by the Indian Institute of Cartoonists and is the only one of its kind—dedicated to cartoons and caricatures—in the country. They have been seeing an increase in footfalls in the past year. “We have conducted over 22 exhibitions since we opened in August 2007 and have seen that people are now willing to spend money and buy caricatures,” says V.G. Narendra, managing trustee of the gallery. But cartoons haven’t begun to make it to collectors’ lists as yet. Naganath explains: “Strips are based on current events and they lose meaning eventually. But those which are made around historical events still hold value and of course caricatures of people are very popular and are timeless.”
At least 60 of Naganath’s most popular pieces will be on display at the Indian Cartoon Gallery, Milford House, off MG Road, Bangalore. Exhibition is on up to 18 April. Each of Naganath’s works are priced at Rs5,000 .