With a yearning for extravagance, draped in psychedelia, Monisha Miriam personifies the erratic flights of her unquenchable imagination, through her artwork that imbibes the blinding hues of the colourful and ecstatic world, she so desperately wishes to explore.
In a conversation with us Monisha reveals her lifelong love for art, her influences and the jubilant fan girl underneath the artist.
Welcome- Monisha! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Madras. I work and live in Bangalore now. I’ve been a game artist for a couple of years now. I work with an Indie Game Development company called Hashcube.
When did you realize art was an essential element of your perspective?
It’s in the genes. Great grandad was a doctor but an artist at home. My grandmother and mother are artists too but never made it professional. Both were teachers. I could always draw and that was the only thing that I was interested in. I did like English and history when in school but felt very out of place in the Indian education system wasting time on things I didn’t understand =D So I knew very early on that I had to do art for a living or I wouldn’t survive.
Familiarize us with your style; What do you take inspiration from?
I am very experimental. I never stick to one style. The current phase was borne out of necessity. I haven’t lived at home for the last five years and I don’t have studio space so I haven’t been able to paint. So I stick to drawing with pens and digitally re-working it. Inspiration comes from a lot of places. I love animals, all kinds and they feature a lot in my work. I love to read but because of lack of time I’ve been watching a lot of shows and I had always wanted to get into production/art design. That’s also why I do a lot of fan art.
Are there recurring themes that can be found in your work?
I rarely think through things before drawing. I just start and it ends the way it wants to. I know it sounds vague but most of the time I barely mark out spaces in pencil and just drawing with a pen and see where it leads me. I do tend to use a lot of black and feature animals. It’s almost always dark because I have to make a lot of “cute” art at work and drawing at home brings out my other side.
Talk us through your creative process. How long does it take you from ideation to the finished product?
Like I said, I rarely think it through. My best works have been ones that just happened randomly. I rarely plan and draw. I’ve never liked pencils so I’ve gotten myself used to always drawing with a pen and eliminating the process of having second thoughts or being hesitant.
“I AM VERY EXPERIMENTAL. I NEVER STICK TO ONE STYLE”
We are eager to learn about the tools you use, give us a quick preview of your inventory.
Pens- Pilot parallel pens for calligraphy and different ranges of micron and steadler microtip pens ( .005 – 3). I love fountain pens so I use a Fine tip Lamy and a Medium nib WHSmith.
I also use rotring pens now and then. I use illustrator and photoshop to colour.
Would you mind letting us have a peek at your work station?
I could send a picture of my pens! I don’t have a workstation yet. I moved to Bangalore just a couple of months back and nothing is ready!
We learned that you attended the Birmingham Institute for Art and Design. How has the experience shaped your artistic vision?
I had to unlearn everything that was forced on my by the unbending Indian education system and look at everything in multiple brand new ways. That really helped me get creative in ways I hadn’t been before.
Procrastination- how would you define your relationship with it? And how do you deal with it?
I like to finish my work in one sitting. It unsettles me when I don’t. So when it’s personal work, there’s never procrastination once an idea pops in the head.
What is the one thing that keeps you going?
I get quite unstable when I don’t draw for a while. So I just have to keep going.
Name top three influential or inspirational artists off your mind.
Michelangelo , JMW Turner and Aaron Horkey
What remains your most favorite work thus far?
Favourites keep changing! The most recent one becomes a favourite for a while!
There is a painting I love, done during my college days.
We got to know you’re an avid explorer. What is the one place you’ve not explored yet that you’d love to visit?
Machu Picchu, Cairo, Rome, Florence etc. There are plenty on the list!
“I GET QUITE UNSTABLE WHEN I DON’T DRAW FOR A WHILE. SO I JUST HAVE TO KEEP GOING”
What about music? How influential is it while you work at getting a creative output, oh and- let us have a peek at the top songs in your playlist right now.
I get too involved if I listen to music so I don’t listen to music while I work. It’s always documentaries or tv shows that run in the background! I love history so it’s usually something in that line and a lot of crime documentary.
What’s the most dangerous thing that appeals to you?
Extreme sports! Sky diving, base jumping etc
If you could give one piece of advice for aspiring artists reading this right now, what would that be?
Just keep drawing whatever happens in life. That’s the one thing you’ll never lose.
How has the journey with Cupick been thus far?
Very good! It’s been really nice to have my work printed!
Discover more of Monisha’s work here.