Friday evening, October 5, 6 – 8 p.m. is the reception and book release of the photo-biography, “John Ross Palmer: Through the Lens of Nabarupa Bhattacharjee.” This is a casual, family friendly event held at 1218 Heights Blvd.
This year I have talked about Heights artist John Ross Palmer and husband Ryan Lindsay’s Escapist Mentorship Program. To recap, the program was founded in 2009 and pairs emerging artists with an established artist who coaches on all aspects of the business of art. Art Launch is the formal entity that operates the Escapist Mentorship Program.
“Escapist” artist Bhattacharjee is a first for the program and got my attention early on. Nabarupa Bhattacharjee is a photographer and lives in Mumbai, India. My interview with Bhattacharjee ran here June 14, 2018, “Art Valet: 4th Escapist Arrives from India.”
Bhattacharjee chose to focus her work solely on her mentor, John Ross Palmer. While here she has lived at the gallery and studio and became immersed in the lives of Palmer and Lindsay as well as the mentorship program.
Recently Bhattacharjee and I had coffee at EQ Heights Coffee shop, her “office” to catch up on her progress before her book reveal. As I learned in our conversation, there was a lot more going on behind the lens than I imagined.
As part of the program, the artists are more than guided and encouraged, they are in charge of every aspect from creating to selling. When a reception is planned, the artist does it all, from framing art, pricing, invitations and even hosting duties like providing light snacks.
In Bhattacharjee’s case, her project culminates in a book.
“This residency has given me so many things to do as a photographer-writer, illustrator, book designer,” said Bhattacharjee of her experience with Palmer and Lindsay. “They have prepared me for the next work, so I am not dependent on anyone because I have done this book on John Ross Palmer.”
I find emersion in a different culture fascinating and steered our conversation towards the biggest changes and observances Bhattacharjee made while living here.
“Everyone knows the basic story of John, but there are certain things that only the view finder can see, like his expression, his vision and mission towards art and all the artists.” Bhattacharjee said.
“John is very helpful to us women artists, which is very extraordinary – I won’t say that I felt any gender bias when I was in India, it’s not that, but still I would say that the way that John and Ryan think of helping and supporting other artists, is just incredible,” Bhattacharjee said.
Bhattacharjee was amazed that Palmer and Ryan invited a young, budding international photographer to be part of the program, without even knowing her.
“When they told me that I could come and live with them they did not know me. They had so much faith in me.” Bhattacharjee said.
“They are extremely genuine with no hidden agenda, everyone is just like a family – I never felt like I was an outsider away from this country, I always felt like I was in the crowd. This is extremely extraordinary to me.”
“They’re also pushing the Escapism movement, it’s not just about painters anymore – it’s about photographers, sculptors, writers – creatives – they’re also pushing the boundaries of their mission as I am pushing my boundaries about photography – so I think it blended well.”
More information is available on the website ArtLaunch.org.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards, find him at ArtValet.com