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The magic of Indian mythology and its epic tales takes people by awe and surprise all throughout the world. They are intrigued by it in a way which makes them believers and followers of the same.

Indian Mythology

Considering Indian mythology as an ontological cosmological model, Giampaolo feels that it describes human sense in a poetic manner expressible by art.

Kamala Subramaniam’s colourful version of the Mahabharata, explaining the tragic attempt of humanity to elevate themselves from lower individual consciousness to a universal spiritual liberated condition, inspired Giampaolo to create his illustrative versions of the Mahabharata.

Indian Mythology

Before illustrating characters, Giampaolo does an intense research and study about them. He combines the understandings of the characters and the scenes from the explanations of the Mahabharat, descriptions from Bhaktivedanta and Srimad Bhagavatam’s texts and also the interpretations of a sanyasi as some of the information is purely from oral traditions.

Indian Mythology

To have a better understanding of the Indian culture and mythology, he even visited India in 2011. He spent some time at the School of Drama, New Delhi where he had the opportunity to go through the texts about history of Indian costumes. He returned back to Italy with his mind impregnated with details from the past.

Indian Mythology

Hand-Art: An Exclusivity

The difference between hand-made art and digital art is extremely similar to meeting people in actuality and meeting people over social networking sites. The coming in of digital art has not washed away the other forms of art. In the past, there has been a wide variety of expressions using various techniques and these pieces of art have been more dominant than the present day art pieces, barring a few. The beauty of the hand-made art lies in the human touch it has, which is missing from the digital art. It is exclusive in the way that one can feel the surface and texture of the hand-made painting by touching it and also feel the gestures and the strokes used by the artist to create the master piece.

Indian Mythology
Indian Mythology

The Emotional Attachment With the Illustration

Choosing the scene to illustrate is an emotional process for Giampaolo. When reading the book, he reads it rationally while understanding the plot, the tales, the intricate relations and the feelings that the scene expresses. This helps him visualise the story in his mind simultaneously while reading. He illustrates the scene that moves him the most on an emotional front. For instance, the end of Bhishmadev Pitamah on the bed of arrows was something that Giampaolo did not wish to illustrate, but the emotional sentiment that the incident has, which explains the characteristic of a great warrior that Bhishma was, is what moved the artist and got him visualising this scene.

Indian Mythology

Art is Self-Rewarding

He is immensely submerged in a continuous cycle of art production to create works to be exhibited at the end of a cycle. At present, he is working around the idea of “order and chaos”, which starts from a chaotic distribution of colors, followed by carving figures of women, animals etc to re-establish the lost consciousness on known models to overcome the terror of the unknown. A big fan of Indian mythology, he is soon going to start illustrations on the epic story of Ramayana.


He believes that one always learns from their mistakes and that practice is the best teacher!

Indian Mythology
Indian Mythology

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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.

Indian Mythology
Kali Maa. Devil’s Reign, Brooklyn, New York. A bold and classic adaptation of a Hindu deity with black light on metallic paper.

Indian Mythology
Ganesha. 'Aftershock Music Festival'. A vibrant and fierce Ganesha radiating immense power from his eyes is depicted on the event poster of a music festival

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.

50th Anniversary Poster - Nat Geo

Indian Mythology
Inward-Looking Path. Majestic and nonchalant, Lord Shiva, rendered with shades of blue with visuals of Ganesha on a plain background

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.

Indian Mythology
'Compassionate Protectors' 10-Skate Deck Totem

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.

SHINE Mural Festival Group. Ganesha, displayed in a combination of two colours stands out of the intense background and gives a feeling of magnificence.

Indian Mythology
A woman, who appears to be liberated and at ease, is surrounded by ferocious beings, and roses, was created in collaboration with artist 'Tes One'

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.

Indian Mythology
Liberation through Realisation. A metallic gold poster that represents several interpretations of Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Inward-Looking Path. 'Represent'. The artwork depicts Lord Krishna who is tranquil and emits a feeling of command and vigour

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.

Indian Mythology
Collectionzz Rock for a Cause Poster Series. A silk screened poster created for charity support of 'The Living/Dying project'

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!

Indian Mythology
Balance. Palehorse 'Represent'. Depicts a dynamic and aggressive personality of a goddess, with a blend of the shades of a handful colours

Indian Mythology
Premonition of the Striped Jaguar. Palehorse Solo exhibit 'Lucha'

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.

Indian Mythology

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.

'Yama', the God of death, is illustrated with textures of browns and is surrounded by powerful symbols like 'OM' depicted in gold

EXPO LUCHA! Screen-Printed Event Poster

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

Erawan. Foo Fighters / Live Nation. An adaptation of Ganesha with touches of minimal colours strikes a balance

Published in Issue 46

This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!


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