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Govinder Nazran

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The late Brum-born contemporary abstract artist, Govinder Nazran is perhaps best known and admired for his Rothko-esque paintings and latterly, sculpture art which featured highly-stylised and subtly symbolic imagery based around the subject of animals; most recurrent of which in terms of themes were cats, dogs and elephants. These vivacious, expansive creations in themselves inspired a subsequently equally vibrant home décor range. Gregariously, luminous pieces of overtly abstracted art which discreetly explored and examined the battle of good over evil from the visual outset; or at least, the perception of this, whether or not it was ever picked up on by those whose mesmerised eyes fell on his original and mass reproduced pieces before and after his sadly premature demise.

Nazran attended Bradford University in the early 1980s, where he elected to study graphic design, before moving on to Lincoln’s art college to complete a Higher Diploma in the very same commercial art discipline, as was, receiving notable distinctions on each occasion. London called after Nazran’s further education was fulfilled, and he landed a plum first job as an illustrator for children’s book titles, which he stuck for 6 months before heading to Cambridge to pursue new contracts as a freelance illustrator. Nazran returned to the Bradford of his youth, where he met the woman who was to become his wife (they wed in 1992, their daughter, Eden was born 12 months later), and settled in Saltaire in West Yorkshire, where Nazran assumed a rewarding design position for a greetings card company; which he applied himself to right up until he jumped ship to take up a role which (he thought as the time of acceptance) was just too good to miss. As a photographic art director, Nazran circumnavigated the world, directing shoots here, there and everywhere as he relentlessly globe-trotted. But eventually he grew tired of the constant jet-setting lifestyle and yearned to return to the more calm waters of West Yorkshire; which he did, securing further full-time gigs as a greetings car designer/freelance illustrator.

Nazran continued to plough this career furrow until the late 1990s, when in 1999 he decided to grab the bull by its proverbial horns and launch out under his own steam as a professional fine artist, rather than simply an employee. Nazran approached the right people for the size and nature of the job in hand (complete with portfolio), Washington Green, and struck up a bulletproof working relationship with the UK’s leading art publishers there and then which stood the test of time – and proved incredibly fruitful to both parties – right up until his untimely and tragic death in 2008. ‘Cat Walk’ was Nazran’s debut pictorial offering once he was signed up to Washington Green, and is seen as the artist’s first commercially-successful painting; the original of which when reproduced in print form were immediately sold out on release. During his short – but illustrious – career as a professional artist, Nazran achieved much and merited universal recognition and accumulative successes, both by the contemporary art industry and the art-buying public at large. Such as being awarded the accolade of ‘Best-Selling Published Artist’ by the Fine Art Trade Guild Awards in 2004, whilst Nazran work was in-demand as much overseas as here in his native UK, as underlined by the two sell-out tours of Japan he enjoyed around this time.

During this same period Nazran experienced a triumphant creative return to his home city of Birmingham, which hosted his first one-man show. That exhibition served to showcase a number of his (already) highly collectable original oils, in addition to his (then) brand new collection of limited edition prints and emerging sculpture work. What’s more, Nazran also used this venue as the platform from which to launch ‘Brimstone & Treacle’, his new book celebrating his artistic career to date. Interviewed by various media outlets at this juncture, Nazran offered a rare insight into his mind, given that he would normally (and publically) shy away from the media spotlight and insist on his art doing the talking on his behalf. Nazran; “My paintings are honest and from the soul. You either like them or you don't”, he insisted, while he’d sum up the difficulty associated with originating work for an unseen audience by adding; “You can choose to see my paintings any way you like. See love and happiness - or death and the devil. It doesn't matter so long as you see something and connect with it”.

Nazran spoke of the inherent ambiguity and paradoxical elements of his signature pieces, which were there to see, once viewers looked beyond the initial simplicity which you were greeted with, while elsewhere describing recurring themes. "You can see my work on two levels," he was quoted as saying, before suggesting that; “There is unity and family, solitude and loneliness, emotion and dependence, relationships, love, passion, separation; the Good and The Evil”. And there’s no denying that Nazran’s artistic legacy did habitually draw on the two sides of the coin, and freely encapsulated assorted facets of symbolism, individualism and totality, not to mention the illustratively deep seated conveyance of a love of life and expressionistic desire.

Cut down in his prime but four years later, Nazran also elaborated on his unforeseen creative future in 2004, and documented his hopes for what lay ahead, blissfully unaware that unfortunately his ascending star would cruelly, never reach the pinnacles it would have done had fate not struck its devastating blow. "If I were to plan out my life and the work I've done to this point and try to map out where I'm going, I couldn't say exactly.Except that the road I am on is a long one, the sun is shining and I've got my boots on. My life is like an apple. I've just had my first bite, and it's yummy!"

Govinder Nazran (1964 – 2008)