Shirish Deshpande gives the ballpoint pen a novel status


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Art for Shirish Deshpande is food for the soul. It encompasses his whole being, saturates the soul. Art inspires, illuminates, encourages, surprises, excites, provokes, calms, elevates emotionally as well as spiritually and connects soul to soul.

Shirish Deshpande
Shirish Deshpande

Ballpoint pens are known to be the biggest spoilers of one’s handwriting, it is said. But after seeing this you will have to change that saying.

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Shirish Deshpande from Belgaum can draw beautiful pictures on canvas using ballpoint pens. It is just amazing, the pictures speak to you and unless told you will not recognize they have been made by using a ballpoint pen.

In 2008, Shirish started painting again. One day, with his one-foot by-one-foot hardboard waiting, he readied to approach it with his brush but instead picked up a multi-colored ballpoint pen and started hatching. Several layers and one and-a-half day later, he finished his first ballpoint ‘painting.’ He was astonished with the result and got down to making four more.

Contemplation 17"x13" Ballpen on Canvas
Contemplation 17"x13" Ballpen on Canvas
Morning light at the door 24"x12" Ballpen on Canvas
Morning light at the door 24"x12" Ballpen on Canvas
Neighbourhood 18"x18" Ballpen on Canvas
Neighbourhood 18"x18" Ballpen on Canvas

As an artist the process of creating the artwork is important to him but he refuses to accept the limitations imposed by rules. Shirish wants to work in all styles and delve through many subjects and then draw conclusions at his own pace. Right now, he “paints” with the ballpoint pen. Some may also call it a drawing or an illustration. It is not important what it is called. He has found that the simple ball pen with its fine line has a huge potential in allowing the artist to express his or her thoughts and emotions. Unlike painting with brush, where a single stroke can cover a large area with color, pen lines are very thin and there is a sense of creation at every stroke. It is very challenging to create innumerable tones by combining the limited available colors in ballpoint pens. He needs to draw millions of lines to make his painting come alive!

His subject matter deals with landscapes, portraits as well as stylizations. Light plays a very important role in creating the required drama to draw the viewer in to another world. It could be a rustic village home or then dancing crops against a dramatic skyline. Towering boulders astound him and sometimes a coy girl in all her innocence finds her way on to his canvas. He paints with the motive that he will finally achieve the result he initially had in his mind. Simple subject matter, good composition, boldness of forms, delicate line work and a little dramatization play a key role in the impact, on the viewer.

The stone house 24"x24" Ballpen on Canvas
The stone house 24"x24" Ballpen on Canvas
Welcome 18"x18" Ballpen on Canvas
Welcome 18"x18" Ballpen on Canvas

He did his schooling from Beynon Smith High School, Belgaum and then passed out with a G.D.Art in Applied Arts from Abhinav Kala Vidyalay, Pune. For about 27 years he has worked in the field of Communication Design and applied his creative talent in rendering a variety of art works for a number of clients which included Graphic design in all its variety, Architectural delineations, 3D models etc. He was also involved in creating some of the world’s best software user interfaces at Deltra Software.

After years of designing for varied people, he concluded that he needed an outlet that would help him realize his creative potential in a more satisfying way. Art for Shirish like for many other people became the most meaningful part of life and a source of much fun and relaxation.

In the coming years, he hopes to venture in to every aspect of art and explore all its dimensions.

Questions as part of an interview:

1. When did you do your first paining?

Shirish -> In my school days.

2. What made you take up painting that too ball point pen.
Shirish -> To be different and unique among the rest of the artists.

  1. What makes you decide on a subject matter?

Shirish -> Anything that touches my heart through the eyes especially the effects of light.

  1. How often do paint and how much time does it take to complete one painting?
    Shirish -> I paint almost everyday and a painting can take from one day to a month’s time depending on how the mood is and the complexity and the clarity of my idea of how the painting finally should look like…!

5. Do you plan to teach your art to others?

Shirish -> I would definitely love to, may be in the near future.

6. Do you think being in Belgaum is advantageous or otherwise?
Shirish -> it is both, advantageous, because of the calmness. Disadvantage is distance from bigger markets… but this can be overcome with Internet, email and traveling…

7. Narrate some interesting incident good or bad during your exhibitions? Shirish -> Good was I got a huge number of friends from young as well as elders of age up to 85. Bad was- some senior artists did not appreciate my boldness in introducing a very novel medium with tremendous mastery over that.

8. There is no art gallery in Belgaum, your thoughts on this.
Shirish -> Yes that shows we Belgaumites are yet to achieve a level of high cultured society.

9. Your thoughts on the upcoming talent in Belgaum how can one groom oneself being here.
Shirish -> It is very difficult to come up without exposure to the outside world. Hope young ones understand this and compare themselves with the best in the world.

10. What is the best thing about Belgaum you like?
Shirish -> Homeliness of the people.

11. What are your thoughts on this website?
Shirish -> you are doing a wonderful job. I hope you get a sustained energy of all sorts even in terms of revenues to make this site a big thing in the near future… I wish you all the best.

Shirish Deshpande, #199, Shivbasav Nagar, Sector-2, M.M.Extension,

Belgaum 590010.

A must see his complete Ballpoint paintings-

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  1. Those paintings are really wonderful. They give the impression of a real photo image. Really creative. Congratulations on discovering a new art form.

  2. More power to this great artist, and son of Belgaum. A very humble person who is willing to listen with a smile. Don’t underestimate his musical abilities.


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