Monday, November 25, 2019

Inspiration Strikes The Posterwala! - "My Creative Day" with Jayaram Ramachandran

"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will." -George Bernard Shaw

These are some of the words I live by. To me, posters are not just colours on a piece of paper or photographs of people with no meaning at all. To me, a good poster is like an invention that has meaning, emotion and essence of the subject, using just the right hues and designs. As someone very rightly said, "A picture says a thousand words."

Banglaore Days-Jayaram Ramachandran-HuesnShades

Very often people ask me where I get my ideas from and to be honest, I have no idea when an idea will strike and in what way, shape or form. The other day I was trying to think of a design for a book on Mr. Abdul Kalam for Bloomsbury and I just couldn't get anything. Then something came up and I had to get out of the house. I was in my car, on the road and in front of me was an auto on which there was a picture of Mr. Kalam and beside the picture, it was written, "You have to dream before your dreams can come true." That triggered a million other thoughts and I got my answer. That's the weirdest thing about being creative, you never know when inspiration is going to strike you! Sometimes you think you have an idea about what you're going to do but you just need that link that can get you a clear picture, and in my case, the auto was the link I needed to de-clutter my thoughts and a get a clear picture. This reminds me of a Steve Jobs’ quote that goes, "Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things." The truth in his words is scary. But that's one of the things that gives birth to one of the most important aspects of design, curiosity.

“That's the weirdest thing about being creative, you never know when inspiration is going to strike you!”

I've been bringing my designs to life for about 18 years but one thing I've learned is that there's always something out there, something new, something bigger, something better. And that's something one shouldn't be furious about, it's something one should be curious about. Newer the material, the more relatable it is, and the stronger the connection. But even with all the material, sometimes I lack inspiration and that's when I turn to music. Music is something that helps me get into the story and gives me the feel of it. And for me, music has been a very important part of my life from the beginning, being the son of renowned Carnatic musician Palai C. K. Ramachandran. But when it comes to my art, I turn to Mr. A. R. Rahman because I believe that no one can make you feel emotions through a song like him. My fondness for him started decades ago. As a young man, most of my friends dreamed to become successful doctors, engineers and businessmen but I made it my life's purpose to go to Chennai and just get a glance of Rahman sir. When in Chennai, I used to peek into his house from outside the gate to see him even if it was only for a second and I always had this photograph of him so that I could get an autograph if possible. I tried getting into concerts as well and I tried many other ways to just get a glimpse of this man's face. Decades went by and it had been a few years since I made my mark in the industry. One day my friend from the industry called and said that we needed to meet someone but he wouldn't tell me who. We went in his car and when we were halfway there, I knew where we were going. I was on my way to fulfilling young Jayaram's dream, only this time, I didn't need to peek. Turns out "my inspiration" wanted inspiration to design the logo for his KM College of Music! I finally met my idol, took pictures as proof that I met him, not to show anybody else, but to prove to myself that all that wasn't just a dream. At our next meeting, I took the same photo I used to take to his house when I was a young man peeping from the gate and got his autograph on it. The old, faded, fragile photo, all of a sudden became all the more valuable to me. Dreams take time to come true but in the end, they do come true after all, and that's what is important. 

“Dreams take time to come true but in the end, they do come true after all, and that's what is important.”

As an artist, I'm hungry for inspiration, and inspiration exists from the smallest to the biggest of things. You'll never know when nature will inspire you. You'll never know when your friends and family or even a stranger for that matter, will inspire you. You'll never know when you will inspire yourself. If this inspiration adds to your originality, then you are unstoppable. Creativity neither has a beginning nor an end. My journey as an artist is a journey without a destination and of the thousands of images in mind, till now, this journey, with its twists and turns, has made the most unforgettable design in my mind. To more inspiration, to more surprises and to more autos giving me great ideas!

“If this inspiration adds to your originality, then you are unstoppable.”

Here's a video of  "Aliveni Enthu Cheyvua Mahesh Raghvan musical featuring Meera Sreenarayanan and Sreeram Ramachandran
Directed by Jayaram Ramachandran
Written by Jayaram Ramachandran and Sreeram Ramachandran

Jayaram Ramachandran-HuesnShades

Jayaram Ramachandran who has a passion for colours saw himself getting into fine arts as a student and later into graphic designs. Movies always beckoned him and that led him to Ace Cinematographer-Director, Santosh Sivan. He never considered posters as a mere advertising tool but for him, it is a platform through which, he is able to express the movie maker’s thoughts and fantasies about their piece of art. He started his poster designing career with a few Hindi films and multilingual art films. It is through the Malayalam movie Pazhassiraja in the year 2009 that he gained immense recognition. He runs his Design shop Posterwala Design Company in Chennai and assists Mr. Santosh Sivan in various projects.

This is the second episode of the mini-series "My Creative Day". You can check out the FIRST POST by clicking the link.


Monday, November 18, 2019

FOCAL POINT - Annual Art Book Fair - Sharjah Art Foundation

We set out to Focal Point on Friday evening eager to get our glances and grab some exciting stuff from the various curated tables set forth by Sharjah Art Foundation's annual art book fair. This year it was at Bait Obaid Al Shamsi Art Square. a 174-year old heritage site located in the heart of the city, within the Al Shuwaiheen Arts Area and opposite Sharjah port. Originally built in 1845 and renovated in the 1990s and then again in 2017, the former residence hosts artist studios, exhibition spaces, SAF exhibitions and Sharjah Biennials.

It was a pleasant evening, the winter slowly setting in except for the weekend traffic which took us one and a half hours to reach the almost specific point when our GPS unexpectedly took the liberty and took us on a bylane tour! Finally, we had to seek human intervention and got to the book fair. Since there wasn't a parking space my daughter and I almost flung ourselves out of the car as cars were lining up behind but thanks to the timely signal. 

When we stepped in, the sun had begun to set leaving a golden glow through the canvas roofs and the faint shadows dancing against the walls and the tables, the hip music, the colorful flags, the bustling crowd had a carnival effect on us. We instantly loved the setting, the ambience!

Focal Point 2019 - HuesnShades

This second edition of Focal Point had over 150 independent publishers and artists presented across 55 booths and curated tables. Over three days from 14th to 16th, the visitors, am sure, must have discovered art books, art projects and journals, catalogues and monographs, comic stips, zines and booklets, picture books, bookmarks, pins, stickers and tote bags. The focus this year was on zines and comics. Focal Point was divided across five sections - Edit, Independent, UAE, SAF Publications and Magazines. Each one had a colour code for easy identification of its location in the brochure. SAF/Edit is the Sharjah Art Foundation's curated presentation of printed matter from across the world with a focus on the UAE and MENASA region. They had publishers like Arab Comics, Art 21, Asia Art Archive, Fantagraphics, Illusion Comics, Jabal Amman Publishers, Khoj, Minaa Zine, etc. Independent publishers included one of our favourites, Tara Books among others like Blaft Publishers, Africa Institute, Perimeter Books, Afterall, Tosh Fesh, Lendroit editions, Tok Tok Magazine, Lars Muller Publishers, Sharjah Architecture Triennial, etc. UAE publications included catalogues, zines, etc. from art institutions and galleries from across UAE like 1X1 Gallery, Art Jameel, Emirates Fine Arts Society, Green Art Gallery, Ishara Art Foundation, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah Museums, Tashkeel, The Third Line. etc. Magazines like Canvas, Selections and Tribe were present too.

Visitors also had the opportunity to participate in the workshops organized by SAF for kids and adults that were free but needed registration. They had workshops like zine-making, freehand drawing, bookmark making, How to draw manga and pen and ink illustrations. 

Focal Point 2019 - HuesnShades

We got talking to representatives of many of the curated tables who were eager to explain it all and it was wonderful to get to know them and what they did. I did buy a couple of lovely pieces too. My daughter was particularly in love with the "Tamil Pulp Fiction" tote by Blaft Publishers. Dhwani, a graphic designer with Tara Publishers was lovely and lively talking in detail about each piece and she exuded the energy and love that she so cherished for each one of those works. I met a couple of awesome artists, one of whom I know for the last couple of years, whose comic book I ended up buying as it did have some awesome comic strips and some favourite people in it. 

Focal Point 2019 - HuesnShades

Focal Point 2019 -Tamil Pulp Fiction - HuesnShades

Focal Point 2019 - Corniche - HuesnShades

We had been there on Friday and so we could hear the band, Sways N Edges, playing which really added to the ambience. Visitors on 16th would've heard Adiga; both local bands. After all the book hunting if the visitors happened to feel hungry or wanted to grab a snack the food and beverage vendors were at hand too.

Focal Point 2019 - Sways N Edges - HuesnShades

It was a beautiful evening well-spent and we did return home without much hassle, heartily. It's actually wonderful to see Sharjah Art Foundation coming up with so many initiatives and projects as part of bringing in the community and the kind of awareness that they are creating not only among artists of the region but also among the masses. This needs to be emulated! Kudos to the whole team and the participants!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. 

Please do not publish/post this article anywhere without the written permission of the author. Sharing this post with proper credits is ok.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Inktober Cats

Whoever had taken part in Inktober would probably still be under the veil of it's hangover if you are like me. This is My Inktober post and am sharing some works I did over the 31 days of October. In case you wish to know more about Inktober, do check this POST.

As mentioned in my earlier posts elsewhere my first Inktober of 2017 was about Insects. Second Inktober, I was a bit more ambitious and took up Temple Sculptures which really was a tough nut to crack as it needed elaborate and intricate work which consumed a lot of time but I enjoyed every bit thoroughly, observing and learning a lot. This year my time and space were limited so I had to take up something easy but wasn't sure what to delve into until the last minute like until the last week of September. I thought of subjects like birds, then animals particularly dogs, squirrels, cats, etc. then portraits (that's in my list for quite some time. I have worked on it every now and then. I find it quite an interesting subject) and then finally decided to go ahead with cats.

I decided to give myself a limited time, say 10 to 15 minutes. It was most rewarding for me since I am a slow worker and setting a time limit was fruitful. Also, it turned out to be more intuitive in a sense not allowing much thought. Sometimes I wasn't happy at all particularly on the first 2 -3 days and I sometimes started over discarding what I attempted but by the fourth day I got the hang of it. 

My Inktober Cat Series:

 Day 1

 Day 3

 Day 6

 Day 7

Day 8

 Day 12

 Day 13

 Day 14

 Day 16

 Day 21

 Day 25

 Day 28

 Day 29

Day 31

I have posted all my 31 drawings on my Instagram in different posts though. Do check out the rest there.

Linking it to the Awesome ladies at PPF.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Curiosity Drives Me - My Creative Day with Lauren Rudolph

Just a little introduction to my new mini-series where some special guests would talk about their creative experiences sharing what sums up their typical creative day. I have always found it interesting to know how each creative whether it's a fine artist, writer, singer, dancer or anyone remotely involved in any form of art spends their typical creative day. If you are one such person, then you would definitely love this mini-series. 

Without much ado, let me handover it to my first guest of honour - Lauren Rudolph.

Love and Light

Curiosity Drives Me

Last week I was on vacation in Ireland with my family and I have to say it’s a stunning country. While standing at the edge of the sea as the waves crashed and the huge clouds rolled by I thought, I created this moment.  By bringing myself there and creating the conditions to make that happen and making the choices I made, I created that moment. Every day is a creation and every moment.  I had that feeling that the canvas we paint on exists beyond just one space and that the life of an artist is all about creating the life. That being said, I do have my ways of allowing for creative days and this is where they begin…

“Every day is a creation and every moment.”

The alarm chimes and it is 5:30 am. I am a morning person and I have always loved the quiet space it allows me. I have two young children so getting up before they do, feels essential to me.  I start my morning with a mediation, which is typically around 15 minutes long. I find this a wonderful way to enter the day. I am no meditation expert, but it somehow grounds me and brings me a feeling of connection and peace.  My mediation is followed by a morning ritual of picking a card at random from an oracle deck and opening a page at random from a book I love called, “Spiritual RX” by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. Rituals speak to me and connecting to the unseen all around us is to me a creative act as well.  I exercise three mornings a week and I have to say that for the first time in my life, I truly enjoy it. I feel strong and to me, it is a way to create a body that I feel settled in. I think in the past there was a belief that I held that I can’t be an artist fully and be fully a physical person at the same time. I let that belief go and I know that has to do with allowing myself to expand in ways and not limiting myself. After getting my children ready for school and dropping them off, it is time to create art.

“Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying”

There is another book I love called “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. This is an incredible book that is very easy to read and it is all about overcoming resistance. He says, “ The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying”. I often don’t feel like sitting down to create honestly, especially when I’m starting something new or finishing something. I have to make the mental commitment and then just sit there and do the work having the faith that whatever is going to emerge is going to emerge. It’s like diving into the deep end of the pool off the high diving board for me. Once I take the leap and get going I feel energized and completely plugged in. My medium of choice at the moment is oil paint. I love it!! I love its possibilities and feel that each and every time I sit down to paint, I’m learning something new. Curiosity drives me. I was never a good student in school, but now every moment is a chance to learn. That is what inspires me the most.

“Curiosity drives me. I was never a good student in school, but now every moment is a chance to learn.”

While creating I love the companionship of some sort of audio. Last year I think I listened to 20 books on Audible (which I highly recommend). Mostly the books I listened to were spiritual in nature mainly connected to Buddhism and self-help/growth. I love that topic and always have. If I get tired of books I listen to podcasts usually based around the same topics. I love podcasts too! One day I may love to have my own. Lately, I have been listening to my favorite radio station that I stream from Martha’s Vineyard, Ma called MVY Radio. It’s listener-sponsored and the music so deeply inspires me! 

I am a portrait artist and my ideas often come from journaling and connecting inward. My desire is to tell stories that reflect my life experience and the stories of people who inspire me. I love to create collages choosing images at random and putting them together to create images that evolve from my intuition. As I grow as an artist I’d love to play with this further and create paintings that are full of depth, life and storytelling.  During the average day, I try to get 5 hours of painting in. If I am not painting during the week I am teaching which is my other love. I find connection through teaching and am very inspired by my students.

As the day winds down and my children come home from school I am then in the role of mother. Balancing these two lives is a creative act as well. There is a fluidity to this sort of existence and some days the two roles spill into each other like today. As I write this, my children are home in the other room and I am in this one. It’s not always ideal and boundaries have to be set but we try to work on mutual respect and the importance of space. As I said earlier, all of these things go into creating life. A creative life is multifaceted and ever-changing and I love it.

“Balancing these two lives is a creative act as well.

Transcendence - Lauren Rudolph-HuesnShades
Transcendence - Lauren Rudolph

Lauren Rudolph-HuesnShades
About the Artist: Lauren Rudolph was born in New Jersey and currently lives in Nyack, NY where she works as a portrait artist and instructor. From a very early age, Lauren was drawn to portraiture. She has always had a fascination with the face and the essence of what it means to be human. Lauren began her college education at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and received her BA in art from the University at Albany.

Early in her creative life, pastels were her medium of choice, but she was deeply inspired by paint which she has explored through both acrylics and oils. She feels that there is a life and an energy in painting that is full of depth and that there is so much to uncover. At 42 years of age, she feels that she is now truly the student she desires to be, always open to learning, growing and allowing the artistic process to lead the way.