Bakshi made his name and living via animated films, comic strips, advertising and cartooning beginning from a young age. All of which was in pursuit of supporting his insatiable drive for creating art. He was either going to be living on the street as an artist, or be an artist with a paycheck. Luckily he was able to marry both his artistic passions with a real job right out of Manhattan’s School of Industrial Arts in NYC. Terrytoons in New Rochelle was the first stop on a long and intense career in an animated world . While gaining renown for creating and directing cutting-edge and fiercely creative films that delivered a profound social impact, Bakshi developed a work ethic that served him well in his private studio. Never failing to steal any spare, breathing moment into his studio to paint on his own canvases — apart from his enormous film studios. Notably, the artistic genius in Bakshi’s films did not escape the attention of art critics, while applauded their audacity, always raved about the brilliant artist whose hand and head conceptualized the jazzy characters and fantastical landscapes that ended up full of life on the big screen.
Since 1982, Bakshi has had dozens of gallery exhibitions showcasing his oil and acrylic paintings from Los Angeles to New York City. In 2003 Bakshi moved into a shockingly new landscape of high desert, big sky, towering mountains and endless vistas — adding new fuel to his roaring fire. He continues to work every day in the serene environment of his mountain-top studio in a remote area of New Mexico. By 2008 Bakshi moved past figurative works based upon urban memories into an abstract and sculptural realm derived from photographs of the urban landscapes in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. These unique sculptural paintings reveal the creativity and technical virtuosity of the artist as the layers of constructed and deconstructed materials finally become canvases for the streets of Bakshi’s youth… gritty, colorful and dynamic. As these dimensional pieces grew in scope and depth, Bakshi revisits working on paper and large canvas creating worlds apart from any known in our reality, at the same time mirroring exactly our world around us in present day. Not one to shy away from political and social confrontation, it is stated that his artwork portrays a course of action when words alone cannot dictate the temperature of the world stage. One must look beyond the lines to view the total picture.
Bakshi’s art is as moving and generous as the world around us. Folded into the fine lines and ethereal gaps of light and dark, charcoal and paint, paper and canvas, wood and metal… appears to be a perspective that taps into each of our souls and unfolds with each glimpse.
28 May 2021. Luke Shelton
Authoritative information may be found here.