Yuvak’s Artistic Comeback

January 4, 2015 , by Kritika Lamsal, 2 Comments
Yuvak’s Artistic Comeback » My Dreams Mag
Yuvak Tuladhar isn’t an artist who likes to stay restricted to a specific genre as he believes that the spheres of artistic genre are permeable allowing a single artist to experience multiple spheres. This tells a lot about Yuvak as an artist and as a person, happy with what he has but always hungry for more.

Yuvak Tuladhar, an artist residing in the United States of America, has lived what can be seemingly related to a vagabond’s life ever since he left for his graduation course at the Banaras Hindu University. After his graduation in 1987, Yuvak rented a house atop a hill in Dhumbarahi sharing it with colleague Paramesh Adhikari. With like-minded people around, friendships bloomed and connections grew stronger. Apart from making a decent income through his artwork, these connections also landed him an opportunity to go on a three-month animation training in then-Czechoslovakia (now Czech Rep.).

The system under a Soviet Union-controlled Prague was inexpensive to live in which resulted in Yuvak saving enough amount that can bear an expense for a trip to USA. Happily, he got a Fulbright Scholarship the same year and headed to Savannah College of Art. But that was when he saw his career crumbling. Despite scoring an ‘A’ almost in every course he took, he gradually realised that his passion was on the wane.

The vastness of America overwhelmed him, consequently his vitality was lost. But times changed and he bounced back. Yuvak has been an artist with organic values that have blossomed and reflected in his work. A man who lost his vitality, is now an artist who won the combat against his own psyche. Here, we talk with Yuvak about his past, the artist behind him and how he bounced back when his interest was on the wane.

Title: Manjushree Energy (Left), Bisket Jatra (Right). Photo: saatchiart.com
Did you always see yourself as an artist when you grew up? Did your family and peers have any influence over this futuristic vision you held?
When I was 12, my knowledge on art was dubious but my interest was incontestable as it remained unaltered. The same goes for my parents who were not aware of this field of study but sponsored for my entire time I spent at the Banaras Hindu University without any hesitation. Those were the times when actually it was not easy for my family.

Does your academic background compliment your interests?
We live in a world where professions are equated with the money it makes. Luckily, this did not affect my academic choices. I completed my BFA (Bachelor in Fine Arts) and MFA in painting from Faculty of Visual Arts, Banaras Hindu University by 1992. I completed my MFA in Fibre Arts from Savannah College of Arts and Design, Georgia, USA as a part of Fulbright-Hayes Scholarship through United States Educational Foundation. The graduate programme in USA enabled me to learn the use of various techniques and materials of textile in my artwork; inclusive of using fabric dyes, printing and weaving. This educational base has definitely given me exposure to the diverse art genres and techniques.

Yuvak Tuladhar’s works being displayed at Castro Street Fair, 2014
You might have always been gravitated towards the field of Fine Arts but was it easy to take a decision of becoming a full time artist? Many might see it as an act of courage. How is it turning out?
Starting fresh, I focused on nothing but building a solid base for my career. I knew that sustaining with nothing but art is a far cry. When I moved to the USA in late 1994, I did a few art shows in and around the city. But I never took up the courage to give my undivided attention to practice art as I had a family to provide for. I only started taking painting seriously from 2009 and have gone full time only this year. As enterprising as the ‘full time artist’ tag sounds, it is equally challenging. Even with all the hard work, it will still take years for my artwork to bring my family a healthy income.

I could not have even thought of, let alone take the decision of going full time if it wasn’t for my wife Lila. I borrow from her when I don’t make enough and repay her when better project or sales goes through, but I do my part financially. This way I can insulate myself from this rocky situation. Not everyone has a supportive partner though!

How did you bounce back after losing your interest in art for few years?
While some artists gain clarity at a young age, it is trickier for many. Speaking for myself, I am a late bloomer. Back in 1994 when I settled in the USA, I simply lost the sense of vitality of my work. I did some artwork after that but just lost interest in painting. Then I started to look for alternatives to fill the void, working as a pre-press operator, colour work specialist, and carpenter. I later felt that it was just a phase destined for me to find my clarity.

Though I have always been interested in art and have been painting for over 37 years, I only gained that clarity at the age of 53 with a realisation that upon death, I’d be nothing more than ashes but I could leave my work which could possibly be immortalised on the walls of museums. Now, I feel strongly about my work and this might be one of the things that sparked the courage in me to go full-time. Hopefully many years down the line, I will finally achieve my ambition of creating a piece that will speak on behalf of me when I’m gone.

How do you choose your subject for an art piece? And what do you want to convey through your art?
I choose a subject that evokes my feeling. It could be anything: from an individual to a tree. While some artists can portray such feelings and make an impact through a single painting, I tend to create an entire series for one particular subject. Personally, I feel the need to create a body of work to understand the subject through different perspectives to create a bigger impact on the observer.

The gist of art is contingent on situations. It is difficult to say what I want to convey through my art. However, in general sense, I want my art to convey my inner passion, emotions and feelings about a particular subject. For instance, even a tree should be more than what is seen on the surface. It should be an extension of the artist’s inner feelings.

Your website content reads "originally from Nepal". How do your Nepali roots affect your art? Now that you are an artist based in San Francisco, is it easier being there or in Nepal?
Frankly, I haven’t lived regularly in Nepal since 1978. Though the roots aren’t as deep as one would expect, it has definitely impacted a huge body of my work. For years, I painted nothing but things related with Nepal like the Stupas and Durbar squares. It was only after 2013 that I started painting things around me in the Bay Area. Bizarrely, memories of Nepal are more refined and clearer now that I am observing it from afar. Distance, therefore has never been a problem. However, art as a profession was much easier in Nepal because art world here is a hundred times more competitive.

When you come back to Nepal for exhibitions and panel discussions just like the recent one you attended at Siddhartha Art Gallery, how do you feel? Do you see any changes in the art scene of Nepal?
Art scene in Nepal has been on a gradual rise but in an increasing scale. With more platforms, younger generation of artists like Ashmina Ranjit, Hitman Gurung, Mekh Limbu, Bidhata KC, Erina Tamrakar are blooming. I try to stay connected with them through social portals and have been working towards collaborating with such jewels for art shows. Few years down the line, I am confident my attempts will materialise. With such emerging artists creating noticeable impact, the future will indeed be brighter.

"Powell Street and Stafford Hotel" by Yuvak Tuladhar, 2014. Water colour and oil sticks on canvas, 24x32x1.5 inch.
Yuvak’s self revelation resonates his family values, either as a loyal husband or a proud father. Standing next to his two sons Jyoti and Tej along with his wife Lila makes him even more boastful. He explores his inter-dependent realms of positivity and darkness; where most of the times he is a driven artist and for the rest, just an agitated person. While finding a balance between these personas, he passionately portrays his current feelings through his art with utmost honesty.

If one goes through his portfolio, his experimentations are seen distinctly. With various techniques, subject and ambiences, he is building expertise in multiple facets. Almost like jazz music which is one amongst his many interests, he likes using free flowing techniques. He isn’t an artist who likes to stay restricted to a specific genre as he believes that the spheres of artistic genre are permeable allowing a single artist to experience multiple spheres. This tells a lot about Yuvak as an artist and as a person, happy with what he has but always hungry for more. Ten years down the road, he wishes to achieve some goals including an establishment of an art centre in the West Coast of the USA. With modesty, he says that he wants to be a part time teacher for a major art school, but only when he has become a successful artist.

Words by Kritika Lamsal.


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Categorised in: Arts

2 comments on “Yuvak’s Artistic Comeback

  1. suman shrestha says:


  2. suman shrestha says:

    Great job

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