Agni Janakiram’s use of earthy tones and intricate details evoke warmth that seems to have been lost in the monotony of life. An appreciation for nature and and even larger appreciation for simplicity, is what make Agni’s creations delicate and irresistible.
In a conversation with us, Agni speaks about her passion for art, especially sculpture, and her recent collaboration with Acid Toad (Gaurav Basu).
Hi Agni! It’s a pleasure to have this conversation with you! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from Chennai but lived in a lot of other places before that as my dad kept getting transferred for his work (Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Bombay). I moved to Bangalore for College at CKP which was a 5 year course and sort of stayed on since then.
I’m a teacher, that’s my normal day job. I’ve been teaching for the past 5 years. I teach Art and Sculpture at Roots Academy, twice a week, as it’s based on the Montessori style of teaching art and any form of self-expression is encouraged. The other days I freelance and do collaborative projects or my own work on a commission basis.
What motivated you to take up art? We’d love to know what inspired you.
I’ve always been surrounded by Art, my mother used to paint so to keep us occupied when we were younger she’d draw something on a paper and my brothers and I would just paint.
I took a year off after my 11th and 12th though I studied Arts, we didn’t have Visual Art but I enjoyed my subjects greatly (Psychology, Sociology, History, Adv. English, French). And ,got started on my Art portfolio , I used to go to Julis Mcwan for a Visual Art Diploma and then go work at my brothers Ad Agency. So when I joined CKP I was fairly certain I wanted to do something more than Commercial Art. And explored other mediums (Graffiti, Sculpture, Installations).
I re-discovered my love for art and sculpture from the 3rd year of college where one of my teachers really pushed me to explore different mediums etc. I think that’s also what inspired me to become a teacher as well. Where Art is meant to be shared and taught and critique is taken in good spirit and there is no ego. But to be honest there is enough bad art out there that motivates me to create good stuff (at least so I think)
Are there any recurring themes in your artworks?
There is a woman … who mysteriously appears every time I grab a pencil or a pen no matter what I do she never leaves the paper so even my boyfriend decided to name her “Lata”.
Talk us through your creative process. How long does it take you from ideation to the finished product?
I love being organized , I wish I could just look at a canvas and start painting immediately but I like to sketch my vision out first , plan my colors etc., but I do switch things up or improvise a bit depending on the medium as I go along sometimes. Most of my best ideas come to me when I sleep. If I’m not happy with something I redo it and usually something better comes out after. So trial and error is a great creative process.
We are eager to learn about the tools you use, give us a quick preview of your inventory.
Would you mind letting us have a peek at your work station?
What keeps you busy? We would love to know more about the projects you’re currently working on/ would like to work on.
Other than school, I’ve been actively involved with a lot of collaborations with Acid Toad. We are at the moment trying to launch our own Creative Studio which acts as a collaborative think tank.
I’m also working on my own series of Sculptural Forms mostly in Terracotta, and hope to eventually have a good enough collection to show by the end of this year. I’d love to paint a wall soon that’s definitely something I would like to work on.
How do you divide time between commercial and personal projects?
Sometimes the commercial work does bleed into personal project space but I try to keep the weekends for personal work and when I chalk out calendars for clients we keep personal work time/unwind mode in mind.
Procrastination- how would you define your relationship with it? And how do you deal with it?
Oh I love it everyone needs to procrastinate at some point your brain needs to shut down and cool off for a bit. I always write a to-do list/calendar so I give myself some down time if I complete and tick off work things. It’s a good reward system.
My dog lives with me now so he’s the ultimate stress buster, catching up on some TV shows/movies/gigs /chilling with friends is how I unwind.
What is the one thing that keeps you going?
The curiosity to learn and re-learn things without getting cocky about it.
Are there any artists whose work has had a significant impact on you?
Too many to write down but a few that come to my mind ranging from Painters, Sculptors and Illustrators are Bharti Kher, Jamini Roy ,Salvandor Dali, Ron Mueck, Octoplum, M.P Gautheron, Erica Williams, Ken Taylor , A.J Fosik , etc.
What is your most favorite work thus far?
Quite a few through each one I’ve learnt something new or got better at something.
If you were not an artist, what do think you’d be pursuing?
What’s the most dangerous thing that appeals to you?
If you could give one piece of advice for aspiring artists reading this right now, what would that be?
In the words of Roald Dahl and this excerpt that sums it up aptly “I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is. Go at it Full speed, Embrace it with both Arms, Hug it, Love it and above all become Passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.
How has the journey with Cupick been thus far?
It’s been good , it’s a nice platform which is easy to use and looks impressive…now I hope I sell something J
Visit Agni on Cupick to discover more of her work.