This month's Featured Artist is a tour de force. His works are bold, charismatic and beautiful – and his series 'Garden of Thoughts' is spell-binding. Here, we talk to Sreejith about his inspiration behind the series and how it came about
How did you come up with the idea for your 'Garden of Thoughts' series?
I used to do a lot of realistic portrait works 2-3 years back. After a certain point it became a bit monotonous because I felt that it didn't really communicate with the viewer. There was no room for the viewer to think. That's when I decided to do start over. I knew that I didn't want to let go of the realism part but at the same time I wanted my works to be a bit more surreal. And that thought ended up as Garden of Thoughts.
Tell us a little bit about this series – are the drawings linked? Most seem to be with two people – can you tell us your thoughts behind this?
Once I decided on the look of the series, the next step was to decide what I wanted to communicate with the viewer. One thing I was certain about was that I wanted the viewer to relate to my artworks on some level. And so I decided to take human emotions and nature, two very complex entities, and combine them to create setting simple that is thought provoking.
I've tried to incorporate a lot emotions from love to lust to sorrow, all those emotions that we've been through at least once in our life.
What do you like drawing most of all?
I like to draw people. I don't think we appreciate the beauty in people enough, be it the physical or emotional attributes. I've always felt that art is one of the ways in which I as an artist appreciate the beauty in others.
How did you get started? Did you study art?
I am a completely self-taught artist. Everything that I know about art, I've learned from the internet and my fellow artists.
What inspires you?
People and music inspires me a lot. I observe people a lot. The way they move, the way they talk, how they laugh. You never know what is going on in their life. Every single person you meet has a different story to tell. That thought has always inspired me to create art. Because if at least one of the hundred people who looks at my art feels a little better, that, to me, is the greatest achievement.
What are you working on at the moment? Is it hard for artists nowadays, or easy to rise through the ranks thanks to social media?
I started Garden of Thoughts with the idea that I wanted to do a visual interpretation of the emotions that we go through. And over time, that idea evolved into mental health awareness, which is something that is very important but gets very little attention.
So right now, I'm trying to revive the series, but this time with a more serious mental health awareness theme.
It's definitely a lot easier than before. There is a much bigger audience and it's easier to get your art out there.
What is your dream? Where would you like to be in five years?
A couple of my friends and I are planning to bring up this online platform for local artists to exhibit their artworks and sell them. Since it's pretty difficult for new artist to find an exhibition space, we will help them get one and set up the exhibition for them. Setting it up and making it a full blown venture is the dream right now.
I'm not that kind of person who plans everything ahead. I've always kind of gone with the flow. But then I'd love to see myself doing a couple of exhibitions and maybe set up a gallery.