The Indian artist drawing portraits with a typewriter

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Indian artist Chandrakant Bhide shows an artwork depicting elephant-headed Hindu god Lord Ganesha which he created using a typewriter. (AFP)
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Indian artist Chandrakant Bhide creates artwork using his typewriter that depicts elephant-headed Hindu god Lord Ganesha. (AFP)
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Indian artist Chandrakant Bhide creates artwork using his typewriter that depicts elephant-headed Hindu god Lord Ganesha. (AFP)
Updated 07 September 2018
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The Indian artist drawing portraits with a typewriter

  • Chandrakant Bhide has produced around 150 pieces of typewriter art over the past half century
  • Typing requires dedication and concentration. If you put one stroke in the wrong place then you have to start again

MUMBAI: Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, ding rings out from a home in India’s Mumbai where Chandrakant Bhide is creating his latest artwork — on a typewriter.
The 72-year-old thumps the keys of the bulky, manual machine to draw portraits of famous people, all bearing an unmistakable resemblance to their subject.
From politicians and film stars to cricketers, animation characters and religious symbols, Bhide has produced around 150 pieces of typewriter art over the past half century.
“I have done many personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy. This is my hobby, my passion,” he tells AFP.
Bhide has held 12 exhibitions of his work and become something of a local celebrity since discovering his unique talent in the late 1960s while employed as a bank clerk.
As a young man he had wanted to go to art school and become a commercial artist but his family was unable to afford the costs so he trained in stenography instead.
Bhide was working in the administrative department of Union Bank of India when in 1967 his boss asked him to type up a list of staff intercom numbers.
“I typed it in the form of a telephone itself. When I saw it I thought, ‘This is fantastic, I can make art through this medium.’ Everybody seemed to like it too,” he recalls.
Bhide started using the “x” key to produce images of Hindu god Ganesha to mark India’s annual festival celebrating the elephant-headed deity.
He then began to experiment with other keys — including “w,” dash, asterisk, ampersand and percentage sign — progressing to create portraits of celebrities from India and abroad.
While Bhide takes only 15 minutes to draw Ganesha, several hours are required to complete a famous face in what is a painstaking process.
With steely focus he uses his left hand to grip the knob that controls the platen — the roller that feeds the paper through — as he taps the keys with his right index finger.
He stops every so often to change the angle of the page before typing again.
Sometimes he’ll flick the color-change lever from black to red or vice-versa and he’ll glance down regularly at the photograph he is working off to make sure he hasn’t made an error.
“Typing requires dedication and concentration. If you put one stroke in the wrong place then you have to start again.
“It’s not like a computer where you can delete. Many times I’ve made mistakes and had to start again,” says Bhide.
The septuagenarian has drawn several Indian actors over the years including Amitabh Bachchan and Dilip Kumar as well as American cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and Archie.
Cricketers feature heavily, such as Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, whose famous curly hair Bhide recreated with hundreds of “at” symbols used in email addresses.
Bhide, who doesn’t sell his artwork or take orders, has been featured in several Indian newspapers and has been able to show his portraits to many of the Indian stars he has drawn.
He says he plans to attempt Donald Trump, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
All of his works have been produced on the same Halda typewriter he used for the 30 years that he worked at Union Bank. The bank gifted it to him for one rupee when he retired in the mid-90s.
“I have got so many things out of this typewriter. Typing is an art,” he says.


’Pig’ British tourists to be deported from New Zealand

Updated 16 January 2019
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’Pig’ British tourists to be deported from New Zealand

  • The family have been involved in a string of incidents in the country, including accusations of littering, assault, not paying for restaurant meals and intimidating behavior
  • "They're worse than pigs and I'd like to see them out of the country," Auckland mayor said

WELLINGTON: Members of a British family have been branded “worse than pigs” and face deportation from New Zealand after a spree of bad behavior that left normally easygoing Kiwis outraged.
The family have been involved in a string of incidents in and around Auckland and Hamilton, including accusations of littering, assault, not paying for restaurant meals and intimidating behavior.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff led national outcry at the tourists’ antics, demanding the police take action. “These guys are trash. They are leeches,” he told a local radio station.
“If you say one time ‘I found a hair or an ant in my meal’ you’d believe it but they find it every meal that they have as a way of evading payment. That’s a criminal activity.
“They’re worse than pigs and I’d like to see them out of the country.”
New Zealand’s assistant general manager of immigration, Peter Devoy, said the family had been issued with a deportation notice on the grounds of “matters relating to character.”
One 26-year-old member of the family on Wednesday pleaded guilty to stealing NZ$55 ($37) worth of goods from a petrol station.
The family attracted extensive media coverage in New Zealand after a video showed them leaving beer boxes, bottles and other rubbish strewn on a popular beach.
When a woman asked them to clean up their litter, a child in the group can be seen on video threatening he would “knock your brains out.”
Stuff Media reported that one family member hit a journalist with her shoe after being approached for comment.
A member of the family told the New Zealand Herald they have now decided to cut short their holiday and will return home this week.
John Johnson insisted his family were of good stock, claimed his grandfather was the “10th richest man in England” and said he was made to feel “very unwelcome” in New Zealand.