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Scribbles and Strokes – Interview with Pon Balaji

Scribbles and Strokes – Interview with Pon Balaji

Scribbles and Strokes – Interview with Pon Balaji

Pon Balaji is a prodigious scribble artist who creates wonders through mere scribbles and strokes. His distinct style has brought him recognition from all across the country.

Read on more to find out about this young and talented artist’s journey.

 Art can be perceived differently by different people. How do you perceive art?

It’s my space where I can pretty much do anything without guidelines and still have people to like them. Art is therapy.

Your sketches are so life-like, What inspires you to do these?

There is something in every subject that catches your attention. It may be the hair, eye, beard, expression or the very personality itself. I try my best to recreate that nuance that brought me to the reference.

How have criticisms helped you shape your career?

Self-criticisms majorly. Following a plethora of talented artists bring self-realization and inferiority complex which would reflect in my next work. To be honest, I don’t handle criticisms well at times and I tend to get stressed out.

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

Yes, Summing up my previous answers, I have moved on from the urge to create photorealistic artworks to creating crazy, imperfect, different styled, artistic works.

Are you ever faced with a creative block? If yes, how do you get over it?

Thankfully, not yet. I usually keep a note of the ideas that I’d like to execute, one after the other.

 If you could go back in the past and change a decision that you made, what would it be? 

I wouldn’t change anything from my past as they are the experiences that have brought me here.

What role does music play in the illustrations you do?

Music, interviews and discussion videos are a part of my sketching process. They keep me company, and make me forget the passage of time.

If you were to be a character of a TV show, which one and why would that be?

Watson from Sherlock.

How important is traveling for an artist? Do you seek inspiration from every place you visit?

I beg to differ that travelling is a very inspiring experience. For me, seeing/ meeting new artists, their works, styles are more inspiring.

 What advice would you give for the upcoming artists? 

There are no rules, standards or guidelines in art. If anyone says otherwise, please ignore them and be unique.

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

There are two artists. First, J Vince Low, a scribble artist who opened me to a whole new world of expressive, modernistic art. Second, Biswal, an amazing painter and ballpoint artist, living icon but most importantly, a down to earth person! 

What are your thoughts on Stoned Santa? 

Great platform for artists to get recognized and network with other artists and customers. Stoned Santa is doing a pretty good job at that.

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Interview of Harish Bhagavathula

Interview of Harish Bhagavathula

Interview with Harish Bhagavathula

Harish Bhagavathula is a scribble artist who makes life-like portraits by depicting the right mix of emotions. An artist, who not only sketches portraits but also the story behind them! He believes in celebrating art as a community and, so we agree with him. His distinct style of art has got him recognition all across the country.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation we had with him about his artistic journey and the stories behind his sketches.

Art can be perceived differently by different people. How do you perceive art?

Art is how I emote. Not everyone is good at communicating their thoughts effectively. We often try to label people who aren’t good at communicating their thoughts as introverts, unsociable, shy and so on.

Here’s where a hobby such as art comes to the rescue. Be it writing, drawing, music, dance, or any other form – art serves as a medium to express yourself in a way that’s more comfortable to you.

Your sketches are so life-like, What inspires you to do these?

I try to pick references that portray a good amount of emotions in them. Emotions add life to the picture be it extreme joy, surprise, sadness, anger, or anything else. This is very important to me while picking what to sketch.

Can you run us through your thought process while brainstorming for artistic inspirations?

Initially, it was only the emotions in certain pictures that made me sketch them out. But lately, I have started to create artwork to tell stories of people. 

I speak to many people on social media platforms. The conversations I have with them make me realize that there is another side to the person that we all do not get to see. Each one of has so many hidden emotions.

I make sketches based on these anonymous stories that I receive.

How have criticisms helped you shape your career?

I haven’t received a lot of criticism but people send me photos of artwork similar to mine which are but beautifully done. These serve as an inspiration and help me do better.

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

As artists, we already have a different perception of life. we are great observers, and like to observe things and reflect out thoughts through our work.

Have you collaborated with any other artists and brands, if yes how was this experience?

I worked collaborated with some musicians to create art for their albums.

Apart from this, I follow something called #drawwithmango experiment, a simple art challenge I conduct on Instagram where many of artists like me work around a theme to create artwork. This has been a great experience for me that has helped me to discover many wonderful artists and feel like I’m part of a beautiful community.

Are you ever faced with a creative block? If yes, how do you get over it?

I cannot draw whenever and wherever. It just doesn’t happen. I don’t know if I should term it as a a creative block. I can’t treat art like an assignment. As I said, it could be a story of someone I heard, a conversation I’ve had with someone, or something happening around me that triggers my urge to draw and when it does, I got the skill to.

If you could go back in the past and change a decision that you made, what would it be?

I’ve been creating art since I was a kid. But it took me ages to come out and share what I do with everyone. I wish I could’ve done this earlier but again, you’re never too late to start.

What role does music play in the illustrations you do?

A lot! It’s the lyrics that fascinate me. Songs are nothing but lyrics sung musically and lyrics have a great impact on me, especially the old ones which are very impactful.

If you were to be a character of a TV show, which one and why would that be?

I think I would be George Costanza from Seinfeld. Self-loathing, Slow witted, a man of temptations and also self-absorbed.

What advice would you give for the upcoming artists?

I’m not sure if I am qualified to do that. But, one thing I would say is that never compare artists. Art isn’t a race and the same goes for life. There is no better art or a bigger artist. It’s all in your head. You create art only and only for yourself and if it also impresses someone else, it is a bonus!

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

There are so many of them but there’s one person I learned a lot from, Karthik Abhiram. Around one and a half years ago, I drew simple outline sketches and posted them on social media. I wasn’t even sure if anyone noticed them.

Karthik recognized my work and appreciated my work. That gave me a moral boost to do better.

I love the way he interacts with every artist big or small, with equal respect. I try to do the same, by encouraging artists around me. In the end, it’s all about celebrating art.

What are your thoughts on Stoned Santa?

One thing I noticed is that not all artists are good at networking, marketing, and selling. Here’s where they could use the help of platforms like Stoned Santa, trying to bring their work closer to people. Also. happy to see you interviewing artists from around the country and introducing them to the world. Kudos to the team!

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Interview of Sangeeta Prayaga

Interview of Sangeeta Prayaga

Interview of Sangeeta Prayaga

Sangeeta Prayaga is a self-taught Mandala artist and an illustrator who hails from Bangalore. She is Revamping this age-old art by adding her own elements to the traditional design to make it look more beautiful. She also creates adorable illustrations that have created quite a buzz on social media.

We interviewed Sangeeta to find out the secrets behind her ornate art and what inspired her to become an artist.

Art can be perceived differently by different people. How do you perceive art?

Art for me is meditation and a technique to calm myself, a channel through which I can tell my stories and escape from negativity. In short, art for me is my happy place! 

Your Illustrations are so unique, yet send a very strong message. What inspires you to do these? 

I channel my inner voice of positivity through the illustrations of baby elephants called Ganpat Rao and Gaja Lakshmi. I strongly believed that the world needed a therapy elephant, that’s when Ganpat Rao was created, and everyone on my Instagram instantly loved him! For these illustrations, I take inspiration from my own day-to-day life, the positive lessons I learned from my past and the ones that I am learning from my present!

Can you run us through your thought process while brainstorming for artistic inspirations?

I get inspired by the interactions I have with people and my personal experiences. I journal every little thing I learn or realize about life, people and then use them to make the illustrations. That’s one of the reasons why Ganpat Rao sounds so wise!

How have criticisms helped you shape your career?

Thankfully, I take criticism well! I come from a family full of artists. My sister, who is an artist herself, has played an important role in my life when it comes to my growth as an artist. She has always given me constructive criticism and helped me shape my thought process while creating art.

I also seek feedback from my customers after each purchase to improve my product and store! 

Are you ever faced with a creative block? If yes, how do you get over it?

Yes, I have faced creative blocks. There are days when I have no creative ideas at all. On those days, I doodle anything and everything that comes to my mind. I would say drawing something is better than not drawing anything at all.

If you could go back in the past and change a decision that you made, what would it be?

I don’t think I would want to change anything. I am what I am today because of all the good and bad choices I’ve made. I have no regrets and I  just work towards becoming a better person every day. 

What role does music play in the illustrations you do?

My favorite artists are, Ludovico Einaudi, Michael Jackson and Billie Holiday. I listen to them all the time while drawing and their music helps me to get into “THE ZONE”!

How important is traveling for an artist? Do you seek inspiration from every place you visit?

Traveling plays a key role in the artists’ life! I had recently been to Vietnam. There’s so much to learn from the people there. I created illustrations that told stories about the strong women of Vietnam, the delicious food, and the experience of having a Ca Phe! Ganpat Rao loves sharing what he learned from each place he visits.

What advice would you give for the upcoming artists?

Always have a strong purpose for your art. Your artistic skill is your superpower. Use it well! 

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

Alicia Souza, hands down! She does put “aw in art”. When it comes to Mandalas, Rashmi Krishnappa and Saudamini Madra are the ones I look upto.

What are your thoughts on Stoned Santa?

First of all, love the name! Also, love the idea and your work. Gifting has always been an issue for me. I am bad when it comes to gifting and my husband will agree with that. I love how Stoned Santa has a gifting expert who can help people like me to find the perfect handcrafted gift. This is something most of us need. 

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Interview of Suresh Trivedi

Interview of Suresh Trivedi

Interview of Suresh Trivedi

Suresh Trivedi is an artist who creates astounding pencil sketches that precisely capture the most intricate details. He specialises in portrait sketches and believes that art completes him. What started off a hobby, has now progressed into his career.

Read on more to find out more about him and his artwork.

Art can be perceived differently by different people. How do you perceive art?

Art for me is an exhilarating experience. Nothing can make me feel complete other than art.

Were you self taught, if no could you tell us about your mentor?

I learnt the basics of art by myself, but as the years passed I felt the need to be mentored and grow professionally. That’s when I was introduced to the pencil guru himself – Sir Sadashiv Sawant, who taught me to sketch shades, shadows, highlights and a lot more! He logically trained my eyes to observe the reference subject that has to be drawn.I am ever grateful for his teachings.

Who are the artists whom you look upto?

I am inspired by simple and flawless sketches. Sadashiv Sawant Sir, Biswal Sir and Ajay Rathod Sir are some of the artists whom I truly admire.

As an artist, what is the most asked question to you?

As an artist, mostly asked questions to me are that of the materials I use in my artwork like: ‘which pencil do you use?’, ‘which paper do you use?’ and ‘How do you get the jet black shade?’.

How have criticisms helped you shape your career? 

I was criticized for spending my time on creating art while this was not my profession, yet. Instead of feeling let down, I took it up as a challenge and gained professional training. It’s been 2 years since I left my job, to purse art full-time. 

Can you tell us about some of the interesting projects you have worked on?

I have worked on several interesting projects, but the ones close to my heart were the White Tiger Project and Waterfall Project.

These projects were very challenging anda test of my dedication and patience.

How has your perception of seeing things changed after sketching over a period of time?

As an artist, I have developed a keen eye for details. Every person or thing I see is a melange of shapes, shadows and highlights. I have started to see the beauty in the most mundane things

If you were to learn an alternate art form which one would that be?

I have always wanted to explore different styles of art. Water Color painting is something that is on top of my bucket list.

Have you ever faced a  creative block? If yes, how do you get over it

Just like every artist, I too face the creative block. I try to overcome it by taking a break from my routine and trying out something different. For instance, I usually take a break from drawing portraits and try my hand at landscapes or doodling.

If you could go back in the past and change a decision that you made, what would it be?

In hindsight, I wish I had done my undergraduation in Fine arts, rather than Pharmacy

What advice would you give for the upcoming artists?

I would suggest the budding artists to not spend their money on expensive art supplies, rather spend it on getting mentored by a professional, as the end of the day skills come first.

How important is traveling for an artist? Do you seek inspiration from every place you visit?

Travel is a goldmine for anyone who needs to create. It shakes up our thinking and inspires us to create wonders. To me, nature has been the biggest inspiration of all, and it never disappoints me. 

What are your thoughts on Stoned Santa?

Stoned Santa is doing a great job by creating a platform for budding artists and helping them to get recognized and earn. On the other hand, it is making handmade art accessible to art connoisseurs. 

Looking for the perfect gift?

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Interview of Harisha | Portrait Artist

Interview of Harisha | Portrait Artist

Interview of Harisha Jangid

Harisha Jangid is a pencil portrait artist who creates marvellous life-like portrait sketches.

She captures not only the features of her subject accurately but also the character.  She draws people and pets. Working with color and carbon pencils, her artwork is refined and charming.

She is a self-taught artist who believes in judging the work by its quality & details rather than its quantity.

Now let’s take a look at Harisha’s journey in the field of art.

Art can be perceived differently by different people. How do you perceive art?

I believe art is what mirrors our deepest feelings onto a canvas. I mostly focus on making people happy with my work by making their imaginations and dreams come true (Like putting two different images together & making it look real).

Your sketches are so life-like. What inspires you to do these?

When I was new to social media, the number of increasing followers inspired me. As time passed, I started to focus more on the quality rather than the quantity. 

When people say, “your work brought a smile on my face” or “your work inspired me to do something like this”, I get inspired. I believe every artist reaches a point where the ‘likes’ & ‘followers’ don’t matter. Most importantly, it is the process of creating art itself, that inspires me!

Can you run us through your thought process while brainstorming for artistic inspirations?

Most of them are commissioned projects and all the celebrity portraits are random requests of their fans or a tribute to the artist who inspires me. I add some elements as per the customization requirement or theme, if any.

How have criticisms helped you shape your career? 

Fortunately or Unfortunately, I have never been ‘criticized’. I ask some of my friends to note down all the faults honestly and let me know where I can improve.

On the other hand, I was not appreciated either until 5 years ago when I found this beautiful soul on Twitter, Priya Kumar, a Motivational Speaker, and Author. I drew her and she loved it, that was the first time my work was appreciated. 

Since then I love appreciating people for their good work and everyone should. The words ‘great job!’ might change someone’s life, Right? 

 How differently do you perceive things after sketching?

Drawing has made me more patient. Everything around me seems so beautiful and I have started accepting everyone around me as they are. I am always looking around to get an inspiration for my artwork.

What are you thoughts on creative block?

Sometimes a block occurs because you have many ideas on your mind; commitments to fulfill and the volume of orders. You feel paralyzed by the options and obligations or simply knackered from working too hard and too long on something.

If you could go back in the past and change a decision that you made, what would it be?

I feel my mistakes are a part of me growing up. But on a lighter note, I would wish to have not opted for science in my 11th grade, and focussed on art instead.

What role does music play in the illustrations you do? 

I guess everyone on this planet loves music. Music is like an energy drink. While drawing, I love playing calm music in the background as it also boosts my creativity.

What advice would you give for the upcoming artists?

Give your best, never stop trying and keep exploring different styles until you find your niche.

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

Naming one would be very unfair, I have been inspired by many. But, the two most important people are Priya Kumar and Sonu Nigam. They are my role models.

I didn’t even know what my goals & dreams were, until I met them. Priya ma’am ‘s dedication towards her work is truly inspiring. Sonu Ji on the other hand, has been performing on stage for 42 years! I have seen him practicing backstage before he goes and conquers the stage. 

Every word from them for me has inspired me to do more & better. I am ever grateful to them.

Shierley Lin and Heather Rooney are two of the most talented artists whom I admire.

What are your thoughts on Stoned Santa?

“You guys are awesome! I saw your amazingly designed website and concept of personalized gifts! Such a great effort to put a smile on someone’s face. Keep going. More power to you.”

Author: Harsh Verma

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Meet Anjali Mehta

Meet Anjali Mehta

Meet Anjali Mehta

Using illustrations as a mode of education and spreading ideas and issues ranging from animal endangerment, body positivity, women’s rights, feminism and breaking the stereotypical bars of society’s perception of men and women, Anjali Mehta creates energetic, bright, bold with confident mark-making art while most of them celebrate modern femininity in a way that has captured the attention of many.

Now let’s hear, what she has to say about her journey as an illustrator.

 

Art can be perceived differently by different people. How do you perceive art?

 As a necessity to survive and a catalyst for change. 

Your Illustrations are so adorable, yet send a very strong message. What inspires you to do these?

Yes, I was doing my MA this year and I used to attend lectures by different artists every week, which inspired me to question my practice and think about – “what my art is doing?” and “what I want my art to do?”. Once I gave that thought I realized I just don’t want to make pretty things I want to add meaning to it, so it can help empower someone or spread a message. Since then, I’m working around that.

Can you run us through your thought process while brainstorming for artistic inspirations?

Its a very long process for me, but now its a part of life rather than a brainstorming session. I usually take mental images of my musings and things I’m reading, sometimes I take notes on my phone of things I like to draw on. Then mostly on my own, my brain comes up with images and compositions of what I can do with the images and inspirations I’ve observed to create something new. The ideas come to me at random times, so it’s important to keep taking notes whenever you can. 

As an artist, what is the most asked question to you?

The most common ones are ”what is your inspiration?” Or “what is your art about?”.

How have criticisms helped you shape your career?

They are a very important part of your artistic practice. If something doesn’t force you to change your existing comfortable methods and try something new,(which can be scary) your practice and talents cannot go forward.

Could you tell us about your experience of working with H&M?

Oh, it was a very small gig, The person who I was in touch with, Sidharth, was a very cooperative and creatively open client. I did those drawings and he liked my work, we did a few changes according to the brand guidelines and it was done. The whole event was cool to witness because seeing your art on the H&M logo and all the other communications in-store was a good feeling!

How differently has your perception changed as an illustrator?

My observation skills have changed completely, also the way I look at things will be very different from someone who isn’t an artist. Others might feel like that’s just a bird sitting on a pole, but for us, it could be beautiful composition if observed artistically. To be honest everything around you can be made into art you just need to see it.

If you were to learn an alternate art form which one would that be?

Probably, learn to play musical instruments, preferably a violin. 

Are you ever faced with a creative block? If yes, how do you get over it?

Yes, the only way I think for me is to keep creating, don’t stop, if its not the best work you are doing, it still is leading you to your best work.

If you could go back in the past and change a decision that you made, what would it be?

That’s difficult to answer, I don’t regret doing something so strongly. On a lighter note I would have bought a bigger Ipad, the one I have is good but I realized later that the bigger one would have been better for my artwork.

What advice would you give for the upcoming artists?

That’s tough, but I’ll just say believe in your art and keep making it. It will help you in many ways. Also, don’t run after being famous on social media, those things don’t matter. 

How important is traveling for an artist? Do you seek inspiration from every place you visit?

For me, that is the most essential. Travel can teach you things which no book can. And once you see the colors, flowers, paints from a different place and a different artist, it has the power to inspire you to create something beautiful like you haven’t done or seen before.

If you were to be a character of a TV show, which one and why would that be?

I relate to half of the characters I see on TV, it’s difficult to choose one. Maybe buttercup from Powerpuff girls, cause of her attitude towards things, it’s very me or Gina from Brooklyn Nine Nine, simply because I would love to be her, haha. 

 

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