(Notable People is a brand new series on SSQ that will look at the lives, works and creative practices of successful people from all walks of life)
He is a Toronto-based watercolour artist, muralist, animator, scribe and makes a living painting (read successfully). If you are someone who likes sketching, watercolour art and social media savvy, then you would’ve surely come across Prashant Miranda’s vibrant watercolour travel journals. Or if you had been to Ooty recently, chances are you would’ve seen his mural in the Ooty Club. He also recently teamed up with NatGeo for a docu on Madhya Pradesh for MP Tourism, travelling across the land drawing people, nature, buildings and the place. (See the vid below)
Born in Quilon, Kerala, Prashant grew up in Bangalore, studied at NID Ahmedabad before leaving for the Canadian shores in 1999. Eclectic journey, indeed. Just like his art. What drew me to Prashant’s work was his vibrant journals that he keeps of his life and travels – filled with colourful watercolour art which is full of life.
Prashant will be giving a talk tomorrow in Bangalore titled Sketchup 2.5 with Prashant Miranda. SSQ caught up with him for a quick q&a.
What inspires your work?
Nature, old architecture and the human body are main inspirations.
What is your state of mind when you are painting?
What do you look for when you’re looking for something to draw?
I look for something that moves me.
How do you go about choosing a subject?
I think very often the subject chooses me!
You do a lot of on-the-spot art in the outdoors. Care to shed some light on this?
I paint a lot outdoors; it’s one way of documenting what I see around. I’ve always enjoyed letter writing and receiving postcards and letters, so I suppose these carry on in some form. There was a time before email, where I mostly communicated through letters, so I kept in touch with family and friends through letters and postcards, these continue in some form now (via the travel journals/postcards). My printed postcards are sold or given away.
What’s in your travel-painting kit?
I carry my sketchbook, watercolours, pens and pencils. It all fits into my bag. Watercolours are my favourite medium, it’s portable and dries quickly. I love colour and my paintbox has all the colours in the universe!
Which artist has influenced your work the most?
I’ve been influenced by myriad artists over the years. From the impressionists, successionists, children’s book illustrators, comic book artists, textile artists, miniature artists and so on.
What is the most challenging part about being an artist?
Keeping your voice unique, and not being tainted by what others think your work should be.
What is the best part about creating art?
The freedom I get by doing what I love and want to do.
What is your creative process?
That differs from what work I’m doing. It differs if I’m painting for myself, or a client commission, a children’s book, mural or animation film.
What do you believe is an essential element in creating a good piece of art?
Truth. Keeping the channel open, and honestly letting whatever has to flow through you do its thing.
Tell us about your commissioned work?
I’ve been commissioned to do paintings, murals, animation films and so on. I accept work whose content moves me or remains true to my style. You can see some of my work on my blog www.prashart.blogspot.com on Instagram @Prashola and on Facebook
What’s the coolest art tip you’ve ever received?
“Half the art is knowing when to stop” -Arthur William Radford
How and where do you sell your art?
I’ve been an independent artist for 13 years now, and sell my work through exhibitions, group shows and commissions. I do teach art and design. I’m visiting faculty at NID, Ahmedabad. And have done workshops and such at Shristi, Bangalore, Pearl Academy Delhi, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, Sheridan College, Ontario, and am fakulty (no, that’s not wrongly spelt ) for an Online SketchBook Skool.
Why do you do what you do?
Because I love it. It’s my passion, and I will die if I don’t do it.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
What role does an artist play in a society?
To give a voice to those who don’t have it.
What has been your seminal experience being an artist?
Art is a powerful tool and can help others. I have been introduced to various issues such as homelessness and the elderly, education and literacy, children’s programming, indigenous issues, trees and the environment etc. through my art and this has all been very moving.
What kind of art do you most identify with?
Many indigenous cultures do not have a word for art. It’s all art, and I connect with all of it.
What is your dream project?
To work on my third Tree animation film, “Treelogy”.
Who or what are your current art inspirations?
At this moment, I’m re-reading Tintin. Herge is great. I’m always looking at other artist’s work. There are too many artists whose work inspires me even to begin penning them all down.
Because I love it.
If you are interested in art then you will enjoy Prashanth Miranda’s and subsequent discussions in the city tomorrow.
Talk: Sketchup 2.5 with Prashant Miranda
Time: 11.30 am -2 pm
Place: Koramangala Social
All pics courtesy: Prashant Miranda