The first thing that impressed me about the artist Sunil Padwal was his sense of personal style–the man rocks a fitted suit, or a t-shirts and jeans, coupled with sculpted hair better than fashionistas half his age.

Then I saw his work. And I was blown away on a completely different level.

I have been involved in creative endeavours for long enough to understand that innate ability only takes a person so far. It is only through dedicated application to the task of making work every single day that a person begins to truly excel. I can deal with other guys being better dressed than me in most settings. But the man’s mastery over colour, form and graphical compositions in his work filled me with a sense of envy I could neither justify nor explain.

I first encountered Mr. Padwal’s work in a private collection. Those works are not hidden away in a dark room, alongside other pieces that will ‘appreciate’ with time. No, the owner of these works appreciates them every day by affording them pride of place on the walls of his living room.

I also met the man himself at the home of the same person. We were early arrivals at an afternoon soirée, so we were introduced and we chatted for a while. And now we are ‘friends’ on Facebook. Whatever that means.

But Mr. Padwal invited me to the opening of his new show and I knew I had to go see what he had been working on. This would also be the first time I would encounter his works in a gallery setting (his last show was in 2007 and we weren’t yet visiting art events at the time). So we turned up, early again, and were received at the door by the artist himself.

As we walked through and experienced the five drawing series that make up Soliloquies: notes from the drawing book that early frisson of envy I had felt was replaced by an emotion I am much more comfortable experiencing–respect. The sheer volume of work on display confirms what I had already suspected — Mr. Padwal works very hard at what he does.

This show is really something else and while that shiny reflective piece that was part of the ‘Disclaimer’ series was probably my favourite (what can I say, I like shiny things) I was just as impressed with the rest of the works. The line work, the details, the control I could imagine the artist exerting over his fingers, wrist and forearms as he rendered each line that made up each and every one of those finely etched drawings…wow. I needed to take a deep breath after looking at all that work.

Some parts of it looked like pages from a surreal graphic novel–the kind Salvador Dali might draw, if he was creating in this day and age for the audiences of this century. And I loved the way the works were presented in the ‘Fragile/Concrete’ series.

We had the opportunity to have the man tell us a little about the show–in his own words–and that video is embedded below.

I’ll say this much in conclusion about my feelings after seeing this collection — if I could afford to, I’d buy a couple of Sunil Padwals. It is definitely art I can live with.