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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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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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Meet Jasjyot Singh Hans

Meet Jasjyot Singh Hans

Meet Jasjyot Singh Hans

What do you call an artist who catches your attention by his amazing illustrations, and then makes you contemplate through the unconventional drawings and at the same time makes your jaw drop with the striking illustrations for the fashion industry? 

Well, we know him by the name Jasjyot Singh Hans. His art has made it into journals, newspapers, clothing, walls, and hearts of the people. Here are a few insights from the conversation we had with him.

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

I think of art as an expression of one’s identity. What we draw or create is often a reflection of our own thoughts and beliefs.

Your Illustrations send a very strong message. What inspires you to do these?

I believe regardless of the final outcome, my artwork usually, revolve around themes that are quite personal to me. My work mostly expresses nostalgia and expands on ideas of body image, beauty, and identity, all of them being quite close to my heart.

Your urban depictions are beautiful. What kind of ambience do you look for the most?

I like the idea of creating something large scale much more than the work that can be seen in my sketchbook or website. There’s something really powerful to witness my work at that scale and see it spreading the message of strength and togetherness.

There are such times too when it’s just about creating something that feels playful, something that could put a smile on people’s faces. But whatever it may be, the idea usually comes together keeping the location and the canvas (wall) size in mind. 

Have you ever collaborated with an artist or a brand? If yes, How was the experience?

Yes, because as illustrators, collaboration is central to what we do. We often rely on a body of text/ context to create imagery around. The experience varies on how close the subject is to the illustrator per se, but personally, I find the process of working on varied themes in different styles very interesting and invigorating. 

How has your perception of seeing things changed after starting illustrating?

I feel like the perception of things/ subjects keeps evolving as you create more artwork. So many times I get work on subjects I know little to nothing about but through research, I’m able to expand my knowledge. This helps me in making my artwork more impactful and present it in the best possible way.

Could you tell us about your teaching experience in Baltimore?

I just finished teaching illustration for the first semester at Towson University, Baltimore. I never thought imparting what I know about the industry would bring me as much joy as it actually does. There are certain things that I don’t particularly feel comfortable with (like dealing with paperwork/ scheduling/ public speaking), and teaching has really helped me stay on top of these things.

I still have a long way to go on this journey as a teacher, but so far I’m enjoying mentoring the next generation of illustrators!

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

Creative blocks are part of the creative process and it’s best not to dismiss them. I usually listen to new music, read a book, sulk, watch a movie, take a nap, go out to a new neighbourhood, etc.

Most importantly, what helps me get over a creative block is drawing through it! It sounds silly, but you have to work your way out of it. It’s different for different people, but this usually works for me. 

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

I strongly believe that my past has helped me in becoming what I am today. So I don’t think about it as a set of mistakes but something has contributed to my growth. Hence, I would not really change anything.

What advice would you give for the upcoming artists? 

Just one thing – PUT IN THE DAMN HOURS 🙂

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Interview with Surya Shetty | Water color portrait artist

Interview with Surya Shetty | Water color portrait artist

Interview of Surya Shetty

Surya Shetty is a brilliant water-color and digital artist who creates prodigious paintings. Just like every other Indian-kid, he studied engineering only to realise that his passion lies in the field of art.

Reading an interview of an extremely passionate man is enough to fill anyone’s appetite who is hungry for true a unbiased inspiration. Let’s take a look at his journey.

When did you start drawing? How did you develop an inclination towards art? 

I started the following art passionately about three years ago, during my final year of engineering. It all started with mindless doodling and then gradually developed into fine art. Art gave me a sense of freedom  and I just got hooked onto it.

When did you decide to take up art? How has the journey been so far? Were your family and friends supportive? 

Surprisingly, I always thought I would end up doing an IT Job, but destiny had different plans for me.

I started drawing as a hobby but as time passed, I realized that art is my passion and this is something I would love to pursue. The journey has been great.  I have had the opportunity to work on some really interesting projects with some great minds, from portraits to murals.

Currently I am working with Dunzo as a visual designer. Instagram has played an important role in encouraging me to pursue art. My parents were not very happy with my decision initaially, but over time they came on-board after seeing that I was doing well.

What made you choose watercolors as your preferred art medium? 

Watercolor is an unforgiving medium but it comes with its sense of beauty. I love colors and the only watercolor would allow me to play with colors the way I wanted to.

What is the first feature that you observe in people while drawing their portraits?

Eyes. The rest of the portrait is shadowed by the eyes.

How do you think technology has changed the dynamics of art?

As I said Instagram had a big part in exhibiting what I could do and it got me commissioned work. 

If we take digital illustration software, it has opened art to more people.

 

Any current projects that you’d like to talk about? What’s your ultimate dream project?

Just going with the flow for now.

Being an artist, you might have faced criticism. How do you deal with this?

I am always trying to learn. So I consider it to be constructive criticism and try to improve on the next one.

What are the things that you’re tired of listening, as an artist?

“Can I get a free portrait?”

Many ask me this, and I don’t know what to say. 

If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Absolutely nothing. I am too young to be advising my younger self. I am still learning and figuring out a lot of things. Some years down the line, maybe I’ll have some piece of advice to share with my younger self. 

Your thoughts on Stoned Santa?

It has been a great platform to start my career in the art field. It got me a lot of visibility. It has been a fun ride with you guys.

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