Ajay De was born in February 1967 and brought up in a tiny suburb of Kolkata. He joined Government College of Arts and Crafts to take formal education in art and did post-graduation at Sir. J.J. School of Art, Mumbai. He had his first solo show in Kolkata and first group show in Delhi.
The stark black and white paintings of the Japanese masters were a major influence, as was Japanese calligraphy. The theme of the hard-working rickshaw puller – unseen, unknown, fleeting through the crowded, narrow streets of Kolkata, carrying a load or man through sun, rain and wind, with the pace of the wind, as unheard as ever, except for the clang of their bells has got amazing popularity in Kolkata. This show was a great success and he started working from Mumbai. In 1998, he had his exhibition in Tokyo, Japan. His work was received well overseas.
He started experimenting with acrylic – adding a dash of colour to his charcoal works. Shades of red made their appearance in the Ganesha series and blue in the Mother Teresa Series. Over the years, he has been able to find his home in this medium, reaching ever greater levels of intimacy and expression. The vibrancy of charcoal fascinates him and it’s like his magic wand. His silent voice, helps him to perfectly express his feelings and emotions on paper.