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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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