How Indian Mythology & Gods Inspiring the Western Illustrator
Palehorse, an illustrator from the US is highly influenced by Indian mythology and Gods, which is reflected in his art. From creating abstract manifestations of Ganesha to showcasing glimpses of Ramayana, his work has a cultural connection, with an alliance of traditional folklore.
A digital illustrator and fine artist from Petersburg, USA, Palehorse, who is deeply connected to spirituality, it translates onto his work which comprises of screen-printed gig posters, skate decks, T-shirts and gallery artwork. Highly influenced by Southeast Asian and Latin cultures, the art he creates is also refined by his travels, Indian mythology and spiritual practices.
CG. Where are you from and what kind of work do you do?
Palehorse. I'm a professional illustrator and spiritual seeker with a studio in St. Petersburg, USA. After graduation, I began my career as a graphic artist and opened a collective studio space, with a tattoo artist. In addition to tattoo art, underground punk music, straight-edge hardcore and skateboarding also played a significant role in the style of work I connect with.
CG. Your work has abstract adaptations of Gods and deities. What is the story behind that?
Palehorse. In 2007, I embarked on a trip to Thailand, where I explored some magnificent temples and it was there that I received a visual introduction to Eastern spirituality and Ramayana through the ornately decorated murals and icons all over Bangkok. After these experiences, I decided to work with traditional design elements specific to Thailand, combined with Indian themes, Tibetan symbols and a touch of Balinese influence as a basis for my style.
CG. What fascinates you the most about Indian mythology?
Palehorse. A book called 'The War of Art' was my first introduction to the idea that artists are guided by 'muses'. After that, I was drawn to Hindu deities as potential muses which I found thrilling as I could transform my illustrations into a spiritual offering to the deity. I learned that the Ramayana was the original epic quest and the effect that it has across cultures, is absolutely staggering and I resonate with Hanuman! From there, I ventured into the 'Bhagavad Gita' and every morning, I spend time with Yama, meditating on his teachings and ask Ganesha to clear the obstacles on my path.
Sadly in the Western culture, most of us have grown up never learning how to properly interpret mythology but I can now see the similarities of Christ to Buddha, or the perfect manifestation of Rama or Hanuman.
CG. Tell us something about your favourite project and the project you are currently working on.
Palehorse. I really enjoy creating screen-printed gig posters as this is a wonderful opportunity to create personal artwork that has the potential to be appreciated by fans. When I incorporate my versions of Hindu deities into posters for bands like Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age and Primus, I get to inject these powerful symbols into my own culture. I'm currently working on a piece for a sci-fi television series and also planning to incorporate more, large-scale public murals this year, so look out for some Hanuman and Rama walls coming soon!
CG. What is your design process like?
Palehorse. When I create a new piece, I'm excited to begin a deep relationship with the subject. All of the time I spend alone sketching and visualising, I do my best to get clear enough to tune into the spirit of it. Each element, word and aspect has an underlying meaning that is ripe for visual exploration. The artwork becomes a tool for me to talk about spiritual practice with people of all walks of life.
CG. Which software or techniques do you use to create your designs?
Palehorse. I create my digital illustrations using Photoshop CC, along with a 32 inch Wacom Cintiq Tablet. I've been printing on gold leatherette tapestries, layers of assembled wood panels and acrylic glass, LED light boxes and utilising laser etching on metallic substrates. Lately, I've been practicing with hand-drawn and painted calligraphy.
CG. What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
Palehorse. My goal is to support my family by creating artwork that is inspired and inspires others to explore their own truths and embark on their own unique adventures. I enjoy growing and sharing what I'm learning in real-time with my audience