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Interview with portrait artist, Thakur Akhilesh Singh

Interview with portrait artist, Thakur Akhilesh Singh

Interview with Thakur Akhilesh Singh

Thakur Akhilesh Singh is a young artist from Hyderabad who creates vivid pencil and charcoal sketches. From landscapes to portraits, he covers a wide range of subjects for his sketches. He believes that no one is born with an inert talent, but with passion and hardwork you can achieve anything you dream of.

Let’s read more to find out what inspires Akhilesh to create these beautiful sketches.

Art can be perceived differently by different people. How do you perceive art?
Right from when I was young, I used to be praised for my artwork and told that I’m gifted with a  special talent. But, I refuse to believe that. My only gift is the passion that I have and I view my artistic abilities as a skill that I acquired over years.

Art made me realise what I’m truly capable of. Art helps us discover ourselves better. I will carry art with me forever.

Your sketches are so life-like, What inspires you to do these?
I have been sketching since I was a 4 year old kid. As I grew older, my interest only frew deeper. 

I had no clue about any drawing or sketching techniques when I started out. I used to learn by trial-and-error methods. However, I found my niche by experimenting with different media, this fuels my motivation and inspires me to get better. The key is to discover yourself, motivate yourself and then unleash your true potential.

Can you run us through your thought process while creating art?

I love exploring and working with different media. Depending on the kind of medium that I use, I decide the subject of my artwork. For instance, If I work with colour pencils or graphite pencils I usually draw hyperrealistic portraits and when I use charcoal, I usually try to sketch a subject with dark contrast. 

How have criticisms helped you shape your career?

 I consider myself to be very lucky as everyone around me has been extremely supportive, be it my family or friends. My teachers have also encouraged me and guided me, but never criticised. 

If my work is criticised in the future, I’m sure I’ll take it in good spirit and work on it.

How has your perception changed after sketching for such a long time?

Initially, sketching for me was just a way to kill my time. As a kid, when I had no studies and absolutely nothing to do, I would take a book and start sketching. But over the years, art has made me realize a lot of things in life.

It has helped me become a better version of myself. Art has taught me to not give up no matter how big the failure is. Art is not just self-expression, but an experience and a never ending process of learning.

How do you deal with creative blocks?

I think every artist faces creative blocks, and it is very important to experience because it helps you to adapt to it and then find a solution to overcome this. I face creative blocks often mainly because of my hectic academic schedule due to which I can’t devote much time to art. 

Being highly realistic and reminding yourself about your goals help me in overcoming creative blocks.

If you had to name one person to draw up all the inspiration from, who would that be?

Leonardo Da Vinci. He was not only the greatest artist of all time but also a great scientist. He was a reserved and withdrawn man, not concerned with glory, and yet absolutely sure of  his abilities. I’m highly passionate about science, art and music and a lot of other things just like Leonardo Da Vinci was. This is the reason why I draw my inspiration from Leonardo Da Vinci.

What advice would you give for the upcoming artists?

Explore, explore, explore. Do not hesitate to move out of your comfort zone. Do not think of the result, rather focus more on the process and have faith in yourself and what you do. Never think less of yourself, because you can literally be or do anything you want in life. Keep failing, falling but just don’t give up. Everything in life is a matter of choice. Be Grateful.

What are your thoughts on Stoned Santa?

To be honest, this is the first time ever that I’m expressing myself and my artwork to a larger audience. I’m really thankful to stoned Santa for this beautiful initiative, of helping young and budding artists like me and providing them with a platform to express themselves and connect with other great artists and inspire other people. 

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Exploring the art of Mandalas with Swathi Kirthyvasan

Exploring the art of Mandalas with Swathi Kirthyvasan

Exploring the art of Mandalas with Swathi Kirthyvasan

Swathi Kirthyvasan is a UX-UI designer by the day and a mandala artist by the night, hailing from Hyderabad. She creates vivid and mesmerising mandalas that can satisfy the OCD in all of us. She believes that art is meditative and can induce mindfulness in all of us.

Read further to learn more about her work and what inspires her to create the stunning and luminous mandalas.

What is your definition of art?

Art is anything that helps me escape from the real world where I can have fun, paint and go crazy. It is also extremely therapeutic.

Do you practise art full time?

I am a UX-UI designer by the day at a startup in Hyderabad. I practise art in my free time. Although both my career and hobby are in the creative field, they are very different.

How were you drawn towards mandalas?

During my college days, I stumbled upon the front page of a magazine called Creative Gaga, which had a mandala drawn on it. Back then, I wasn’t aware that it was called a ‘Mandala’. I was instantly captivated by the design and the artform that I started trying out on my own. It was only after a friend told me that it was mandala, that I started researching about how beautiful and spiritual the art form is.

Do you believe that mandalas should have some element of free flow rather than perfect symmetry?

 It can be absolutely free flowing and need not be restricted to a grid or mathematical circles. You can always learn the rules and be free to break them. Mandala is an expression of how you feel, it can take any form or shape as long as you are enjoying the process of creation.

Which other artforms do you enjoy creating?

I like experimenting with watercolor florals, lettering and any form of abstract art.

What can one learn from your Workshops?

I conduct doodling and mandala workshops. I teach them how to draw the basic patterns, what materials to use, how to get inspired and give many references to try it on by themselves. It’s wonderful to see many participants come back with new work after attending the workshop.

Could you name a few artists that you get inspired by?

I cannot pick one or two artists as the art community as a whole is very inspiring. There are so many talented artists whom I follow who create beautiful mandalas, breathtaking landscape paintings and florals. Each artist has their own creative spark and I like to see how each of them interpret things differently.

Plans for the coming years?

I plan on taking up more commissioned projects along with conducting workshops. I am also planning on starting my own line of merchandise.

Do you connect with mandalas on a spiritual level?

I might not connect with mandalas on a spiritual level, but it is definitely meditative. It helps you shut yourself from the outside world and focus on just the art.

Advice to budding artists?

Draw your hearts out. Do it for the sheer fun of it. You should do it for the joy you get while making a piece rather than doing it for numbers and fame.

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