What goes around comes around – Decoding Mandalas with Richa Saxena

What goes around comes around – Decoding Mandalas with Richa Saxena

Interview with Richa Saxena

What goes around comes around – Decoding Mandalas with Richa Saxena

Richa Saxena, Mandala Artist 

16th May, 2019

Richa is a self-taught Mandala artist based in Ahmedabad. She grew up admiring her mother’s artwork, and ended up becoming an artist herself.

She believes that art makes life bearable and we should learn to see  life as a mandala – the luminous fringes of experience which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being.

In this interview she talks to us about her love for Mandalas; her workshops; healing powers of art and more.

“Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life.”

~ Pema Chodron

Tell us a little about your childhood. Who introduced you to art?

“I was a quiet kid who spent countless hours admiring my mother’s artwork. She is my inspiration, role model and mentor. I got my first water-colour kit in my second grade, and I haven’t stopped drawing  ever since”.

What made you develop a liking towards mandalas?

“The colours; intricate designs and patterns; and the intertwined circles made me fall in love with mandalas. It’s been two years since I started creating Mandalas and there’s no stopping”.

Do you connect with mandalas on a spiritual level?

“I view Mandala as more of a meditative art form than a spiritual one. Mandalas help us to stay calm, release stress, loosen our resistance and grow hope”.

“The colours, intricate designs and patterns, intertwined circles made me fall in love with Mandalas”.

Do you agree that mandalas should include some element of free flowing form rather than having the perfect mathematical symmetry?

“Yes, I believe that a mandala can be created either by free flowing or intricate patterns. The common element is the symmetry which has endless possibilities. You just need to have an open and creative mind to explore new avenues”.

When is your next workshop and what can one expect from it?

“I’m conducting my next workshop ‘Intricate Mandalas’ in the mid of June. I’ll be teaching the basics of Mandalas, the techniques behind grid and pattern formations. One can also learn how to come up with their own patterns”.

Do you plan on starting your own merchandise?

“Not anytime soon. Right now my only focus is on creating Mandalas and conducting workshops”.

If you were to learn another art form, what would it be?

“I would love to learn water colour painting as I’ve always been fascinated by it since I was a kid”.

Few snaps from Richa’s workshops.

What advice would you give to the budding artists?

“For beginners, I would ask them to practice on a regular basis and not compare themselves with anyone. One should seek inspiration from other artists if they have a creative block”.

“If we believe in yourself and love what you do, anything is possible”.

Who has been your greatest support throughout your journey?

“This journey hasn’t been easy, but I always had my family by my side. Without them, I would not be here today. My mom is my biggest critic and mentor. The honest feedback which my mom gives helps me to grow not only as an artist but as a person”. 

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The Serious Art of Caricatures with Prasad Bhat

The Serious Art of Caricatures with Prasad Bhat

Interview with Prasad Bhat

The serious art of Caricatures : Prasad Bhat on Caricatures, Graphicurry, Comedy and more.

Prasad Bhat, Founder of Graphicurry

16th May, 2019

Prasad Bhat is the mastermind behind Graphicurry, a caricature specialist and an illustrator based in Bangalore. His quirky caricatures have brought him global appreciation. Like every other Indian kid, Prasad Bhat studied Engineering and struggled to get a job after his graduation. On realizing that engineering was not his cup of tea, he started his own design studio turned art store, Graphicurry.

Prasad never fails to bring a smile on your face, whether through his caricatures or comedy. His skills have attracted some of the coolest clients such as Amazon Prime, Disney and MARVEL. His artwork is original, authentic and witty.

Here are excerpts from when we caught up with Prasad Bhat for a quick interview and a dozen laughs.

What’s the story behind Graphicurry?

“Art and food are two of my most favourite things, hence the name ‘Graphicurry’! Luckily, the URL name was easily available”.

“Graphicurry started off in 2013 as a logo and designing company for corporates, and eventually evolved into a personalized caricature store. Today, we have over a hundred varieties of caricatures and merchandise of famous TV shows, movies, and artists”.

What made you take up an off-beat career and start Graphicurry, having studied engineering?

“I graduated with a score of 75% in engineering. I was over qualified for Call centres and under qualified for IT Companies. While I was desperately looking for a job, my girlfriend suggested that I pursue art seriously. I began to learn various digital tools. 6 years have passed, and here we are. Graphicurry has over a hundred personalized caricatures and merchandise”.

One of your prominent works includes Vector art. What made you pursue it?

“There are so many artists out there who have access to the same tools as I do. I’ve always wanted to have a unique style when it comes to art in order to stand out from the rest. That’s the main reason I started drawing vectors. Plus, I really enjoy drawing them”.

“I sometimes feel like a low-key plastic surgeon”.

How do you manage to get the right balance between realism and exaggeration in your artwork?

“I prefer keeping my art minimal over intricate detailing. Honestly speaking, people don’t like their features to be exaggerated. Everybody wants to look better. So, I only focus on making my clients look cuter”. *chuckles*

As you make customized caricatures, you might have come across various customization requests. What’s the most common request that you get?

“Make my wife look beautiful”. I’ve heard this so many times. I sometimes feel like a low-key plastic surgeon. I wish people could accept themselves and others as they are. I’m a brutally honest person; I would trip at requests like this. Thankfully, my wife, Deepthi takes care of all the client communications and makes my life easier”.

Caricature of  F.R.I.E.N.D.S illustrated by Prasad Bhat.

“That’s when I realized that I had travelled so far to get to the point where my favourite thing had to be recreated by me”.

Any current projects you can talk about? What was your biggest project until now?

I had my ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ moment when Disney asked to draw Mickey in my style to celebrate Mickey’s 90th Birthday! That’s when I realized that I had travelled so far to get to the point where my favourite thing had to be recreated by me”.

“Currently, I’m excited to be working on a few projects for Hotstar, which is upping its presence on the online media industry”.

Being an artist, what’s your biggest pet peeve?

“Most of the orders I get are for gifting purposes. Few clients provide hazy images for reference. This is my biggest pet peeve”.

How do you think the digital age has helped artists?

“I’m truly blessed to have digital aid. I have a competitive advantage over others as I was among of the first few artists to start digital caricatures in India. Most of the caricature artists who did not adapt to the technological changes, are still struggling. Technology has introduced us to unlimited possibilities. It’s up to us to make the best use of it”.


“All artists have a shelf life. I’m ready to face life as it comes”.

Could you tell us about your “Evolution” series?

“The evolution series focused on famous celebrities such as Leo, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Williams and others. It was a tribute to all the amazing roles they’ve played so far. I also worked on a project where Ranbir Kapoor evolves into Sanjay Dutt. The idea is to keep the face unaltered and change other details such as the outfit, attire and expressions”.

What inspired you to start stand up comedy? Where can we see Prasad Bhat in the years to come, as a comedian?

“Even I’m not sure why I started doing comedy. I think I like to suffer and be broke. Jokes apart, I love making people smile and I wanted to do that professionally. Recently, I performed in Mumbai for a huge crowd, the video of which will be releasing soon. Other than that, I attend 2-3 open mics every week. It is tiring to run an art store and pursue comedy. But, I’m getting there”.

Prasad Bhat in one of his Stand-up comedy sets.

You have made some amazing caricatures of various Sitcoms. Which is your favourite sitcom of all time?

“Seinfeld is my all time favourite. It’s think that it’s the best show ever and everyone should watch it! Each character has its own charm that makes the show so special”.

Have you ever hit the rock-bottom? Tell us about it.
“I had hit the rock-bottom after my graduation which made me start Graphicurry. Since I’ve already been there, I don’t fear it anymore. All artists have a shelf life. So, I’m ready to face life as it comes. On the other hand, even if I get a lot of money and fame, I won’t let it get into my head. I like to keep myself grounded”.

“If you wake up with a burning desire in you to achieve something, you must follow it”.

Do you plan on taking up workshops?

“No, that’s my last resort. I’m not a big fan of teaching because I’m very impatient. If everybody stops buying from me, then I’ll give it a thought”.

Being a popular artist, demands you to have a constant social media presence. How do you cope up with this?

“I have to constantly post engaging content for my audience. I can’t post whatever I like, it has to be trending. Right now, there’s Game of Thrones fever everywhere. So, few of my posts are based on that”.

They say that art can reduce stress and promote relaxation. Do you agree with this?

“To a certain extent, art is therapeutic. It might seem fun drawing all day. But trust me, it isn’t. It is a lot of work and requires patience”.

Lastly, do you have any tips or advice for the budding digital artists?

“Don’t Do it”. *laughs*
“I’m just kidding. I usually don’t advise others much. It’s easy for me to ask others to pursue art. But, there are other factors one must consider like financial security and emotional support. To be an artist in India, it takes something more than just talent or hard work. It takes a thick skin. Hard-work is overrated. Unless you have a huge inheritance, or become an overnight sensation, it’s really hard to get financial returns”.

“Nonetheless, if you wake up with a burning desire to achieve something, you must follow it. I also believe that if your parents support you, you’d get too comfortable and become lazy. The magic happens only when you step out of your comfort zone. So, I think all the parents should kick their kids out of the house after they grow up “.

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Prasun Balasubramaniam – Journey to the centre of Mandalas

Prasun Balasubramaniam – Journey to the centre of Mandalas

Interview with Prasun Balasubramaniam

Journey to the centre of Mandalas with Prasun FineArts

Prasun Balasubramaniam, Mandala Artist

14th May, 2019

Prasun Balasubramaniam is a self-taught Mandala artist and illustrator who hails from Salem, Tamil Nadu. She is known to create intricate, vibrant, and vivid artworks, and believes that Mandalas require intense focus and attention to the present moment, which induces mindfulness. Here, you can read some of the wisdom Prasun shared with us and get a glimpse of her beautiful mandalas that can satisfy the OCD in all of us.

Tell us a little about your childhood? How were you introduced to art?

Growing up in Mumbai, I actively took part in many art competitions and creative activities which kept me occupied. I was introduced to the basics of art in a summer camp. Although my parents never encouraged me much to pursue art thinking it would be a waste of time, I was persistent enough and never stopped drawing.

Prasun with one of the Mandalas she drew on her Studio Wall. 

How did you develop an interest in Mandalas? How has your journey of choosing art as a career been?

After my 10th grade, my family shifted to Salem and having stayed in a happening city like Mumbai, I used to get really bored. Hence, in my free time, I doodled and made Mandalas.

Even during my engineering days, I used to doodle on my notebooks to survive the boring lectures. Thankfully, my teachers thought that I was taking notes.

I was unaware that the doodles I made were called ‘Mandalas’ until I came across an article that spoke about the different types of mandalas and the healing powers they possessed, after which I started extensively researching and learned a lot.

After completing my Bachelors in Engineering and M.tech, I worked at a research company for a while which I eventually quit to pursue art full-time.

Soon I started posting on Instagram, and the love and appreciation I got from my followers gave me confidence to draw more and more.

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We can trace back the history of mandalas to ancient Buddhism and Hinduism. Do you connect with mandalas on a spiritual level?

Personally, I feel mandalas are meditative than spiritual. I can say that mandalas are a religion by themselves. While working on mandalas, you mostly use the subconscious mind, giving rest to the conscious mind. Creating a mandala calms me down and helps me get closure. I have curated a mandala colouring book for the same purpose.

I’m a standard Image Caption.

Some logs are made by the participants attending her workshops

The mandalas that you’ve created seem so flawless. How did you master the symmetry?

Trust me, there are a lot of flaws. There are times when I make a lot of errors and then are times when it comes out really well. The key is to keep trying until you become perfect.

What led to the inception of Prasun fine-arts?

Boredom. I was jobless and at home for a almost 6 months, and the peer pressure of getting a job got the best of me. I decided to start Prasun Fine arts in the summer of 2015, and since then I have never looked back.

What can one expect from your Mandala art workshops?

The participants of my workshop will go through the process of creating a Mandala design from scratch where in they are provided with worksheets which gives them the freedom to choose a pattern which they’d want to draw. 

Although you cannot achieve perfection in the first attempt, the attendees go back home happy and satisfied with their designs. 

Mandala art is immersive and gives the participants an experience they cannot forget. 


Do you agree that mandalas should include some element of free-flowing form rather than having the perfect mathematical symmetry?

No, Mandalas are supposed to be circular in nature. Any form of energy starts from a point and spreads into a circle. There are excellent examples of this in our universe, like the solar system, the Chakras or even a flower.

 Mandala art therapy is a form of psychotherapy which is supposed to help in finding a sense of healthy mental balance. What are your thoughts on the same?

Mandalas help in promoting a healthy mental balance by reducing stress, increasing attention span and dealing with depression. It can benefit all the age groups. Interestingly, people aged above 80 years also visit my workshop.

How has technology helped mandala art form to evolve?

Call me old school, but I prefer traditional art over digital art any day. I love the vibration between the pencil and the paper. Nonetheless, I use the iPad for designing tattoos as the customers come back with requests for modification. Technology is definitely a boon for artists like me, but one should start off with traditional mediums.

What inspired you to start urban sketching?

I’ve always loved trying out new things and appreciated the beauty in my surroundings. Drawing Mandalas was getting redundant and I wanted to try something different, that’s when I started drawing Urban landscapes. 

I am not very good at it, but I hope to be there soon.

If you were to meet your former self, what advice would you give?

I would ask my former self not to worry much about studies and start practising art earlier.

What advice would you give to the budding artists?

Keep practising and never give up. Explore what you like until you’re 35 (or even until later if you have the energy). Attend workshops and take up classes. Discover your passion and pursue it.

Studying may give knowledge, but practising art builds your overall personality, and that’s what matters at the end of the day.

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