Artist Govinder Dies in His Home
DURING a tragically short career, Govinder Nazran achieved a remarkable degree of recognition and success. Govinder, who died aged 44 following an accident on Christmas Eve in his home in Saltaire, is best known for paintings and sculptures which feature highly-stylised symbolic images, most commonly of cats, dogs, elephants (depicting love and friendship) and horses which represent passion. Many of his other works have little or no figurative elements, being purely abstract.

In 2004. he became the Best Selling Published Artist in the industry's Fine Art Trade Guild Awards and he enjoyed two sell-out tours in Japan where his work was highly regarded.

Born in Birmingham, he was one of the six children of Kabel, who worked in textiles, and his wife Dhan Kaur. The family moved to Bradford when Govinder was two. He studied graphic design from 1980 to 1983 at Bradford University, then going to Lincoln Art College to do a Higher Diploma in graphic design.

Completing that course with a distinction – as he had also done at Bradford – he went to London where he worked on illustrations for children's books. After six month she moved to Cambridge where he continued to work as a freelance illustrator.

Returning to Bradford, he met Sarah Welton exactly 22 years ago at a popular student night club. They were married in 1992, their daughter Eden being born the following year.

The family settled in Saltaire where Govinder got a job as designer for a greetings card company. He followed that by becoming a photographic art director, directing fashion shoots all over the world. In 1993, he decided to exchange that hectic lifestyle for a quieter life.

He spent the next five years working as freelance on card designs with major publishing companies. Only in 1999 did he decide to enter the fine art market, and approached Washington Green with his portfolio. Govinder's first commercially-successful painting was Cat Walk, prints of which were sold out on release. He would later say that he never looked back.

He applied his paints, from oil bars, with his fingers which he considered the most practical method, given the medium he used.

The method created the characteristic natural blurring effect which, like his monogram appearing in a small box, distinguishes his paintings.

He felt that abstracts were the purest art form, but being asked to explain his work reduced him, he wrote, to a "gibbering wreck, cursing myself later for my lack of verbal dexterity".

He went on: "When I was a child I remember believing what a wonderful and happy place the world was. I loved to learn about other people in other countries and wanted to visit them all. Of course, I now realise things aren't quite as I once imagined, and the once distant places where I so wanted to be are not so far away; they are actually on my doorstep. The people I wanted to meet are locked in a bitter hatred of each other, divided by race or religion.

"The world is a place where the innocent pay the heaviest price. It affects me deeply. It's like living in the garden of Good and Evil. I can't ignore it, so I depict it in the form of these innocent pictures. I leave it to the individual to look at my paintings and choose what they would like to see, innocence or malevolence."

The titles he chose for his works were often intended to provoke amusement. This gentle, unassuming man loved to see viewers of his pictures smiling at them.

He recently told an interviewer that he had a limitless supply of ideas, and was looking forward to exploring the possibilities offered by sculpture and ceramics. If he had "squished" up his life into a little ball – and he suggested an apple was the best analogy – then he had had his first bite, "and it's yummy".

Govinder is survived by Sarah and Eden, his adored wife and daughter – music and his art being the other great loves of his life.