Jagadeesh Narayanan is an artist by passion on a quest to make art accessible to all. Art is the tranquility that he has always yearned for and wants to share with the world to make a difference.
Using art to make a difference in someone’s life, especially those going through trying times, Jagadeesh Narayanan’s philosophy is simple. Watercolour painter by passion and a digital artist by trade, he can find inspiration in the most mundane of things and truly turn them into works of art.
CG. Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?
Jagadeesh. I was in sixth grade when I witnessed someone drawing for the first time. I wanted to watch him draw, but he wouldn’t let me near him, claiming that if I stood nearby, he wouldn’t be able to concentrate. I tried peering in through his window but was caught and forced to leave.
That’s when I decided to start drawing for myself and the pivotal moment when I knew I wanted to become an artist. I was constantly drawing, and then finally in 12th standard, I realised I didn’t want to waste any more time and study art professionally. A typical Indian household, my parents objected, but I was adamant and kept my dream alive despite being told that I can’t live my life by studying art, and 2 years later I did it.
CG. As a trained artist, could you talk about some specific techniques and insights you acquired through a formal education in art which contributed to the artist you are today.
Jagadeesh. I passed the Kerala Government Certificate Examination. Following that, I did not pursue a professional degree, but learned basic computer skills, Photoshop and other design software. I can quickly learn any software because, unlike most people, I did not learn the tools first and then design. As a result, I am capable of utilising any software in a variety of ways.
Because I could not afford to study professionally, I use my knowledge for the benefit of the common man. Everyone should be able to afford a digital painting, so that they can display good art in their homes. Meeting Milind Mullick Sir was a turning point for me. I was able to observe him at work, which was a huge source of inspiration for me, and I launched my YouTube channel as a result teaching everything about watercolour painting. I realised that many people were experiencing the same difficulties that I had when learning to paint. As I was mostly self-taught, I decided to share my knowledge and guide such aspirants.
CG. As a painter of landscapes and realistic portraits, you make use of vibrant colours in interesting ways to add a unique touch to your paintings, can you elaborate on that?
Jagadeesh. It is inspired by my mentor Milind Sir. I had been following him since I first began studying art, and his use of colour inspired me even after I met him. Also, who doesn’t enjoy bright colours?
CG. Do you have an essential philosophy that guides you in your creative expression?
Jagadeesh. My philosophy is to make art accessible to people from all walks of life. My work is inspired by the idea of making a difference in someone’s life through art, especially for those going through difficult times. Watercolour painting is both exhilarating and a passion for me. I paint watercolours primarily for the satisfaction and fulfilment of my mind. However, I believe that digital is easily accessible to people, and that it can be used to create oil paintings digitally.
“Everyone should be able to afford a digital painting for their homes and Jagadeesh Narayanan, a prolific artist is on a quest to make art accessible to all with his multi-disciplinary skills in painting.”
CG. With a diploma in graphic design and experience in the fields of web and textile design, how do you bring the concepts of design into your art?
Jagadeesh. Designing has had a significant impact on my work. The use of album arrangement has greatly aided me when creating digital portraits. Because of my design skills, when I do a painting by hand, I can decide how to improve it, whether by using different colours, changing the brightness, or changing the composition. I can predict the outcome right away. I can plan a manual painting well using digital software because I first learned design.
CG. Is there a specific environment or material that’s integral to your work?
Jagadeesh. I am simple. I prefer plain air for watercolours and find subjects even in the mundane of things from my daily life. I’m not particular about the environment I work in as long as I can be inspired from nature and my surroundings. I want to create art that inspires others. For digital paintings, I’m confined to using a system and software, but my designs and artistic knowledge add that unique touch.
CG. What piece of your artwork would you like to be remembered for?
Jagadeesh. I prefer fantasy paintings but haven’t had the opportunity to fully explore them. My favourite is one that combines a peacock feather and a fish. I held an exhibition of such paintings titled “Roopantharam” which included some of my favourite fantasy creations. Such paintings take a lot of time and effort, with drawing, sketching, and planning over multiple iterations. Although I would like to be remembered for my work through such creations, the truth is that I do more watercolour landscape work.
CG. If you mentored younger artists who are beginning their art careers what single most important piece of advice would you offer?
Jagadeesh. I’ve noticed that everyone wants to start with a full-scale painting, but the foundation is drawing. Move on to painting only after you have mastered your drawing skills. Your drawing ability will be reflected in your painting. Second, even if you are a traditional artist, learn digital art as well. With new insights, we can bring about changes and improvements. We live in the digital age; the only way forward is to update ourselves. If you are interested in art, you should definitely acquire some digital skills as well.