Through original and vibrant illustrations, Ranganath Krishnamani captures the look and feel of Corona virus induced pandemic. Here is a conversation to unravel the art, colours, style and mindset of the artist battling the quarantine.
What are some of the unforeseen inspirations and problems you’ve stumbled upon during this lockdown?
Ranganath. I firmly believe that limitation is an excellent opportunity to kindle creativity. The confines of our home can urge us to be imaginative. My quarantine series is a self-initiated project where I attempt to capture urban life and its nuances during Corona virus pandemic. I captured our new normal by portraying human beings inside everyday objects, thus emphasising the current state. Creative inspirations can be found everywhere, outdoors or indoors, this project is an excellent example of that.
Has this Corona virus pandemic changed your perception of the world? If yes, how has it affected your art?
Ranganath. The quarantine made me rethink about my choices and my lifestyle. I enjoy nature, and I understood the value of my freedom because of this lockdown. Corona virus pandemic has highlighted the unbeatable human spirit, this along with the new way of life are the themes I’m currently focusing on.
Art is not an essential service. Has this affected your work? How are you managing such an unprecedented situation?
Ranganath. Fortunately, neither my professional front nor my self- initiated art projects are affected due to Corona. Through art, we can communicate, educate and bring changes in the society. Art is the medium I use to convey my ideas. My objective is to engage the audience and bring positive changes.
What are your thoughts on work from home as an artist? What kind of impact does this have on your working process?
Ranganath. Studio or at home, it doesn’t make any difference to me. Creative work requires long hours of focus and deliberate practice, the place does not matter. The advantages of working from home is that because of current technology, we can meet our clients, share our work, get feedback and work on it without having to travel or wade through traffic.
Corona virus pandemic has made us realise that in trying times, people turn to art and literature. Do you think that this is going to create a lasting impression in the field of art?
Ranganath. Art and literature are great methods to unwind and deal with stressful times. People have returned to their hobbies, and they now understand the value of art and literature. I’m sure that this trend will continue. I hope this period help people realise their passion and dreams, giving them the confidence to take risks and try something new.
How did your journey in art begin?
Ranganath. I’ve always nursed an affiliation towards art. I distinctly remember drawing on the walls of my house at the age of six. I began reinforcing my passion once I obtained formal education in art. My journey started with pencils, charcoal, acrylics and watercolours. And with the advent of digital art, I began exploring diverse fields within art and started experimenting with my style. I consciously attempt to create artwork with meaning and purpose that goes beyond aesthetics.
From Kathakali dancer to Taj Mahal to still life, your artworks are varied and diverse. What is your creative process?
Ranganath. My creative process is to try and do something every day. Travel inspires me; I sketch the scenes and thoughts in my sketchbook, and once I start making connections with other elements and situation, I turn it into a series. I approach all my artworks as series since it helps me refine my perspective and dive deeper into the subject. My process begins with a simple exploration of ideas; this helps me develop a central theme and concepts for the series. I try to form a connection between objects, situation and scenario, thus narrating a story from my perspective.
How does culture influence your artworks?
Ranganath. Culture plays an integral role in my artworks. I try to capture the uniqueness of our culture, which is under threat due to globalisation. The setting, objects and costumes subtly contribute to the narration. My works are a reflection of my interpretation of all that fascinates me. Irrespective of the medium, the common thread which strings my artworks together are culture and identity.
Could you shine some light on the techniques used and the process behind your colour selection?
Ranganath. My colour palette largely depends on the subject portrayed. It is generally minimal, ranging between three to four colours. Initially, I used to work with monochrome since it allowed me to focus on the form and composition. Colours have the power to change the overall mood of artwork; I started using it responsibly once I understood this. I first choose the colours I intend to work with, from there it is just a creative problem solving, where we manipulate the colours to arrive at the best possible outcome.
It is particularly intriguing to note that upon going through your artworks, most of them, though detailed, do not possess detailed facial features. Is there any significance for this?
Ranganath. I refrain from adding facial features since it deters the audience from the overall story of the artwork. Furthermore, the viewers can comfortably perceive themselves in the scene when the artwork is devoid of faces. However, this is a recent style; in the past, I have created artworks with facial features as well.
Published in Issue 50
We all started this year anticipating many things, but nobody thought of life coming to a complete halt. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced every human to re-evaluate their attitude towards nature and life. We also have been forced to lock down in our houses. Though we are no more in the lockdown, still many unfortunate ones continue to lose their lives and livelihoods. This isolation has given many of us the time we needed to finish our long pending tasks. Some have turned to art and craft for peace and solace. While most got relaxed and enjoyed their time with family, others used the focussed time to prepare themselves for the life post lockdown. On the other hand, creative freelancers found it helpful for them to focus and produce more as their work setup usually is within their homes. So, to understand how all the creatives have handled the lockdown, we reached many who have been creating and sharing inspirational artworks during this time. So order your copy if you are looking for inspirational COVID lockdown artworks and some advice on how to handle the current slowdown more creatively!
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