The Ahmedabad-based graphic artist Alpesh Gajjar hails from a family of Bollywood billboard painters. His grandfather, was one of Mumbai's most well-known billboard painters, in an era when hand-painted billboards were the only way to publicize Indian cinema. The third generation of artists in the family, Gajjar studied graphic design at M.S. University, Vadodara and worked in the sector for 10 years.
"I grew up around my grandfather's workshop and my initial training as a painter stemmed from my days at his workshop", recalls Gajjar. He combines this sensibility with his artistic training to create large works reminiscent of erstwhile Bollywood hoardings.
As flex printed digital images displace the ubiquitous hand-painted billboards that populated Indian streetscapes, that are now a dying art form, a few stalwarts continue to adhere to the language and technique of the old street artists. Poignantly, while there are few takers for their work in the Indian market, the West, tired of digitally produced, standardized posters, is expressing an interest.