It’s hard to find one word to describe Prabhaker K. (P.K.) Bhosale. His business card describes him as an Architect, Artist, Sculptor and Cartoonist, but that’s four different trades. Maybe it’s easiest to just say he uses his creative talents to translate the world around him into art.
P.K. has always had a passion for creating art. It’s a talent he inherited from his mother. She was always creating something from the materials she had around her, such as turning rags into dolls and birds. As a child in India, P.K loved drawing, but he chose to pursue a career in architecture. After college, he worked at an architecture firm in Chicago for six years, but soon realized that there was little time left for his family. That’s when he found the opportunity to move to Peoria as a Regional Architect for the Illinois State Department of Public Health. He spent the next 27 years ensuring that 200 nursing homes in 24 counties were meeting the proper building, health and safety codes.
But P.K.’s art was never far away. His artistic skill helped him as an architect, especially when it came to visualizing buildings and spaces. He also explored sculpture and created a number of highly detailed and realistic portrait sculptures. But his most common art form was simply drawing on the small note pad that he always had with him. Over the years, he accumulated numerous stacks of sketches of people and scenes, and lots and lots of cartoons.
When P.K. retired from his position with the state, he threw himself into art full time. He began exploring mediums of pencil, acrylic oil and pastel. Regardless of the medium, P.K.’s art always revolves around the human element. “My paintings are about people, their figures, forms and their lives and lifestyles. My paintings are simple, yet can be like puzzles.”
P.K. doesn’t paint in just one style. Instead he loves to explore different styles and genres, but almost all of his paintings feature strong, dynamic colors. P.K. attributes his use of color to the rich culture in his native India, the “beautiful wood and rock carvings, and colorful fabric. The enormous variety of costumes in India has left a profound impact on me.”
P.K.’s paintings begin as a pencil sketch on a small note pad. It might be a face he saw in a crowd or a scene he noticed somewhere. He may also use a photo as a reference, especially for an unfamiliar subject. The sketch lays out the basic scale and shapes of the elements, but colors, expressions and gestures are explored as the sketch comes to life in the painting.
In 2009, P.K. published “The Bitter Nuts” which is a collection of just over 200 cartoons inspired by the many nursing homes he’d visited over the years. The cartoons use satire and humour to express many of the flaws in our health care system for seniors. As P.K. says, “My cartoons are not meant to offend anyone but rather to highlight a dysfunctional system of care in a humourous way.”
P.K.’s work can be seen at the Junction City Art Fair, and in occasional cartoons published as letters-to-the-editor in the Journal Star. Paintings are also available online at ArtWanted.com. For more information, contact P.K. at (309) 692-6140 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.