Trading Wall Street for Alameda's Natural Beauty

Mandar Wagholikar gave up his finance career to paint in Alameda.


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Wagholikar paints scenes reflecting Alameda's natural beauty while he cares for his kids.

Courtesy of Mandar Wagholikar

In 2015, Mandar Wagholikar, 43, traded his finance career on Wall Street for Alameda’s shores to be closer to family. He enjoyed his job’s intensity, but these days, he’s investing in his art.

 “I feel I’ve come into my own and am producing something that comes straight from my own experience, my own heart,” said Wagholikar.

Alameda’s natural beauty inspires his pastel landscapes. Wagholikar captures the magic of Alameda’s terrain with soft, vibrant colors. While exploring the island, he takes photos with his iPhone. Then he returns home to his garage-turned-art studio and plays Otis Redding or Mozart to get in the mood and starts painting. Within 45-minutes to an hour, he’s done.

“I have two young boys now, and they don’t let me do anything that’s messy,” he said of his 3- and 5-year-old children.

Wagholikar also prefers to paint in one sitting because taking a break disrupts his connection to the piece. “Sometimes the paining is not the same when you come back to it,” he explained. “I don’t feel the same energy.”

Courtesy of Mandar Wagholikar

A creative spirit runs in Wagholikar’s family. He credits his mother and eldest sister for inspiring him to be an artist. Growing up in India, he watched his mother draw with colored sand in their front yard, while his eldest sister was also into drawing and painting. He did not take any formal art instruction but observed other artists in India and began to sketch. He said his mother is proud that he is making art a greater priority in his life.

Wagholikar took up creating landscapes of city parks when he moved to the United States. Visiting New York museums, especially the Museum of Modern Art, moved him to pick up the paintbrush.

The Island has been good to Wagholikar and his art. He was one of 17 artists featured in the Cross Currents exhibition at the Alameda Museum Gallery. The exhibition, sponsored by the Island Alliance of the Arts, showcased works by California artists. He sold his first piece, a painting of Crown Beach, there.

 Alameda has been an ideal place to recharge Wagholikar artist’s spirit, he said. “Living this life in Alameda in the midst of nature and beauty—that is really the driving factor in everything that has happened to me.”

To see his work, visit Facebook.com/mandarfineart or Etsy.com/shop/MandarWagholikar.

 

Published online on Feb. 16, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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