Anirudh Srinivasan – Engineer turned Artist

It took me 3 full years to curate and make sketches for my first solo art show – “Tatvik”.

~ Anirudh Srinivasan

At the age of three, Anirudh Srinivasan, picked up his first crayon and began scribbling on the walls of his home. Today at 22, the young Chennai-born sketch artist’s walls are intact, but his home is filled with art works ranging from hyper realistic sketches to topical drawings.

These works are now making regular appearances across art spaces in Chennai. One such display of his art was Anirudh’s first solo show, Tatvik, the success of which is a testament to the warmth with which his works are being received. These displays aren’t milestones, but merely the beginnings of his trajectory as a sketch artist.
Although Anirudh completed his undergraduate studies in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the revered SRM university of Science and Technology, his formative years have been dominated by graphite and charcoal.

How would you describe your body of work? 

I have experimented with different forms of art over the years and have always enjoyed dabbling in newer forms of art. It has been only a few years since I decided to specialize in Hyper-realism, an art form that became extremely popular during the 70s. Hyper-realism is all about making paintings or sketches that resemble high definition photographs and it’s very difficult finding differences between hyper-realistic art and a photograph.

The first instance of me picking up a pencil was out of jealousy, I wanted to be better than someone else. I was such a dumbo, I still am. Jealousy taught me art and art taught to rise above jealousy.

Earliest memory of your connection with sketching?

I would have probably been just three years old when I started drawing. I remember scribbling on the walls of my room with crayons and making sketches of things around me that I found interesting. I drew a house next to a small lake, that was when I started learning how to draw basic shapes. I still happen to have a few pictures of myself making sketches when I was a kid. I have always felt the urge to invest more time in drawing as it gave me a sense of satisfaction. I really have a steep inclination towards expressing myself in a very creative way.

Anirudh Srinivasan started sketching at the age of 3.

What is art to you? (REMOVE)

(REMOVE) Anything that delivers meaning is art. There is a reason why I don’t appreciate the blur in modern art. I feel modern “art” conflicts with the very basic Nothing helps me feel better, but my expression on a canvas.

What is your creative process and how often do you sketch?

Before I begin sketching, I first decide on the kind of art that I am going to do. There are so many forms of art. Abstracts usually don’t take much time to create but I would have to spend a lot of time gathering ideas. Abstract sketches are more authentic and almost everything is drawn from memory. Hyper-realistic sketches, which are mainly hand-drawn portraits, take a lot of time to complete. Making a hyper-realistic hand-drawn portrait requires a lot of time and patience since a lot of focus on detail is required which develops over several years of solid practice.

I sketch for an hour every day. Practicing daily has helped me gain confidence and improved my work significantly.

Why do you prefer graphite and charcoal over other media? Do you experiment with other media?

Most of my black and white sketches are done using charcoal and graphite. One of the reasons as to why I prefer charcoal is that it takes lesser time as compared to oil or acrylic paintings. It is also easy to get used to such a medium. Cross-hatching is a very convenient method and I usually prefer using it for pen and ink sketches as it is not very time-consuming. When I work on bigger charcoal pieces I rely on smudging and blending. Making black and white sketches are comparatively simple. But I have always loved making paintings with watercolors and acrylic paints. I am more focused on working with a specific medium these days.

How do you choose the subject matter for your sketches?

I am quite known for making portraits of popular celebrities around the globe. I have done close to three hundred sketches since I joined college. Most of them are portraits of actors and musicians across the globe. I have drawn Clint Eastwood, Frank Sinatra, Emma Watson, Vikram, Taylor Swift, Shraddha Kapoor, Amy Jackson, Disha Patani, Parvathy Nair, Esha Gupta, Gal Gadot, and many more.
I also draw quick sketches related to current affairs, which eventually make the rounds on the internet. I once made a cartoon sketch of a person tossing an old 500 rupee note into the bin, highlighting that old currency notes would no longer be in use after demonetization.

In 2016, for the 15th Anniversary of New York City’s World Trade Center, I did an abstract sketch of the Twin towers which was a tribute to all those who lost their lives during the tragic 911 incident.

You recently held your first solo show,” Tatvik”. How did the experience help you as an artist?

I had my first solo art show, titled TATVIK, last year in Chennai, where I displayed black and white sketches, abstract paintings and a few colored sketches of celebrities and still life objects. The show was for three days and was conducted in ArtHouz India, Alwarpet. I got the opportunity to meet professional artists from whom I learnt a lot. It took me three full years to make those sketches and curate them. It really was an amazing experience for me as every single person who came to the show had something interesting to share after seeing my work. That was when I realized that each person would have a different way of interpreting art.

Who or what inspires you to sketch?

The passion to create something beautiful itself served as a major driving force for me to make more sketches and paintings. My mom and grand-dad were the ones who inspired me initially. They were both art enthusiasts and they were quite good at sketching. My fascination for art grew when I started to learn and admire the works of many classic European artists.

Being an artist, I have also been a great admirer of Pixar Animation Studios and Electronic Arts since childhood. The way they animate and bring characters that we see on the screen to life has always fascinated me. When I was young I used to make quick sketches of Pixar characters in my sketchbook. At a very young age I discovered that art was something I really loved.

What do you think about the art landscape in India? What problems do young artists like you tend to face?

From what I have observed, I can confidently say that the appreciation for art has  slowly started to grow. Things aren’t the same anymore, we now have so many platforms on the net to showcase our work and it is now a lot easier to find willing buyers in the city.
Many are not even encouraged to pursue a career in arts due to the misconception that there aren’t enough prospects. should realize that, in the future, there will be more demand for the ones who can think critically and innovatively.

How has Instagram & Facebook helped you showcase your art?

Instagram and Facebook would be brilliant platforms for any aspiring artist to showcase their works. People who are into art and music benefit the most. It helps your work get all the attention it deserves and gives you the opportunity to connect with other artists. Some of the celebrities I drew have helped me share my sketches on their Instagram page. People who follow those celebrities would be able to see my portraits and the reach is simply amazing.



What is your dream as a sketch artist? Where would you want the trajectory of your life as an artist to take you?

I do not know if becoming a full-time artist would help me put bread on the table as
classic art is slowly losing popularity in many places. We must acknowledge the fact that we live in a digital world and there is so much demand for design and animation. I would love to work on projects that combine design and technology, which indeed requires innovative thinking. My dream is to become an art director, and I hope in the years to come I learn and grow more as an artist.

Do you have any advice for young artists in the country?

Anyone who creates anything beautiful to make this world a better place to live in is an artist. I strongly believe that anyone can become a good artist. Practicing hard and loving what you do are some of the key factors that will help you become successful in any field. We must follow our heart and not let anything stop us from achieving our goal. It is important that we learn from your mistakes because making mistakes would give us the opportunity to learn something new.

What are your thoughts about Stoned Santa as a platform for artists and creators? 

Stoned Santa is family. It has given me the confidence that my art actually has the ability to sell. I believe it is far ahead of other such platforms because it focuses on more than just business, it focuses on creating a community of artists to make art great again. 

Editors Note - Akansha Bahl

Anirudh’s work is grounded by the observations of its cultural domain. His work is perceptive and chronicles what the young Indian watches and experiences today and is thus accessible to all those who can afford consideration.

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