Mr. Shivanand V. Aras is a retired Mumbai-based commercial artist (graphic designer) who specialized in calendar art.
Kajri Jain in her book "Gods in the Bazaar - The Economics of Indian Calendar Art" wrote, "... particularly evident in the "baby" calendars of the Sivakasi era from the early 1960s onwards (a niche dominated by the Mumbai-based "baby artist" S. V. Aras). These very healthy, very pink, children are often shown happily playing at technologically modernity: doctor and nurse babies playing with stethoscopes and needles; farmer babies driving tractors and holding sickles; soldier babies holding guns, planes, and battleships; engineer babies with spanners, screwdrivers, and clamps; ... These are all highly auspicious images (in keeping with the gift-giving aspect of calendars), based on the idea that Indian babies are destined for a progressive, technologically functional future."
Mr. Aras's father passed away when he was 7 and he and his two younger sisters were raised at their maternal uncle's home, the Shanbhags. After finishing his Inter (12th), given the family pressure, he enrolled in medical school. Within a few weeks he, being the rebel that he was, quit medical school and joined Sir J. J. School of Arts in Mumbai where he obtained a degree in Fine Arts.
One way or the other, he was destined to bring babies to life and he did so exceeding well with his art. Moreover, he has contributed in his own way to inspire Indian parents of that generation to raise children that are today making a difference in their chosen professions.
Well, if you asked Mr. Aras about his work, he will answer with a naughty grin, "I specialize in making babies." Loved by his friends and family for his jovial nature, Mr. Aras is the life of the party. Back in the day, his artist buddies and neighborhood friends would congregate at his art studio every evening, all anxious to hear his latest jokes.
After retirement, Mr. Aras spent time with his daughter in the US and then in Bangalore where he started experimenting with oil paintings, something he had not done since his college days. "He has exceptional talent and should do more with it." - said the late Hon. Isabel Burgess, US State Senator, founder of the Phoenix Art Council, and a personal art collection that included Picasso and Monet.
In the economically uncertain world of a professional artist, Mr. Aras has been well supported by his amazing wife, Mrs. Vijaya S. Aras, an artist in her own right as well as a real-estate investor and home-maker. Together, they raised a daughter and a son and managed to send them both to the US for graduate studies. Mr. and Mrs. Aras have four grandchildren - a granddaughter currently in high school, a grandson studying product design at Carnegie Mellon, another working on an engineering PhD at Stanford, and the eldest who graduated from MIT and currently working on an MD-PhD at Harvard.
Mr. S. V. Aras passed away in February 2020 at home in Mumbai, just a few weeks after celebrating his 90th birthday. His work has been an inspiration and his jovial personality and loving nature will be missed.