Musings: Interview With Vamsi Krishna

Self-taught artist Vamsi Krishna’s impeccably composed abstract representations of the organic, are unusually evocative of the symmetry and chaos he wishes to portray simultaneously. It his careful consideration of detail, that brings his geometric portraits to life.

Vamsi is currently based in Bangalore, where he works as a full time UI/UX designer. We caught up with him recently for a little chat.


INTERVIEW

We’re glad we could finally get to this chat, welcome- Vamsi! Tell us a bit about yourself.

First off, thanks for considering me for this interview. I sincerely appreciate it.

I think of myself a free-style digital artist and photographer, mad about geometric art, progressive music, and black coffee. I do a fulltime job as a UI/UX designer in Bangalore. Mysore is the place I call home.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering however I took my hobby so seriously that I’m now earning a salary because of it.

I came to Bangalore in 2004, pretty much a runaway, to find a job and live on my own. I, almost immediately, found one and I worked at that corporate setup for a little over 10 years before shifting jobs. Once I had a little money on hand, I bought myself a used film SLR (around 2006 or so). I went digital around 2008 and did a fair bit of photography with still life, landscapes, and concerts at the center of this creative period. The last 4 years of my job involved product photography and videography which I believe is a result of my obsession with still life and photography in general. Also, it was around this time that I started dabbling in vector and mixed media art.

Apart from all this, I collect coins and currency notes, music CDs, and coffee mugs and enjoy reading books and listening to music.

When did you realize art was an essential element of your perspective?

Art had always been the center of anything I did for as long as I can remember – be it drawing and sketching, filling colouring books, or appreciating a gorgeous sunset with my parents. My father who is an accomplished artist, is perhaps my first influence with respect to art.

I have painted several posters and tee-shirts for my friends in college, some of which are still present with them!

Are there recurring themes that can be found in your work?

I think the most recurring theme in my work is symmetry with a touch of chaos – which is perhaps why my subjects are usually flowers, insects, skulls, electric poles, bare tree branches, water, etc. Among these, one can find strong emphasis on subject and colour palette selection, and aesthetics of presentation.

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Wings by Vamsi Krishna

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

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Kaleidovision by Vamsi Krishna

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration?

In recent times my biggest influences are Joshua Davis (http://www.joshuadavis.com) and Martin Sati (http://www.martinsati.com) – both accomplished digital artists with very unique individual styles. I also draw a great deal of inspiration from the work of Maurits Cornelis Escher. Otherwise, I enjoy studying the works of renaissance, impressionist and surrealist masters.

One of my images, which was inspired by the work of Salvador Dali, was one of the 50 Commended Images in the Open Competition of the Sony World Photo Awards 2014 and went on to be displayed at the Somerset House in London during the exhibition – a very proud moment for me! (http://www.worldphoto.org/images/image/591345/?FromImageGalleryID=21078 , http://www.worldphoto.org/images/image-gallery/21078/)

Talk us through your creative process. How long does it take you from ideation to the finished product?

Well, it takes anywhere between a few hours to a few days and sometimes more to create a piece worth displaying.

I generally try to create at least three images based on one theme. For example, in the series of insects (that are present on Cupick), the initial idea was to create three of them and do away with the style. However, I got so hooked to it that it has indeed become something of a signature style of my own.

The general process starts with an abstract idea and I add shapes and symbols that may, when put together, convey the idea in a tangible form. I don’t usually have a final product in mind; the process is very organic and there’s no real ‘end product’ per se. For example, the idea behind most of my recent vector work is to use the simplest and the most basic closed geometric figure – the triangle – to create images. Similarly, I’ve also created some work using arcs of circles which make up the shapes and the intersecting segments are filled with colour.

I generally use a reference image to get the basic shape of the subject. Once done, I do away with the reference image. I then proceed to fill it with geometric shapes and colour. For the more ‘abstract’ work, I start putting shapes and fills together in Illustrator and then proceed to play with properties such as variations in size, scatter, and spread using custom brushes. So, the idea is to create a sense of abstractness using absolutely regular shapes. You’ll find an example of this is my work titled ‘In 3 Dimensions’.

Also part of the creative process is curating old work. One of those curating exercises in 2012 (see link below) resulted in my solo exhibition – ‘A Study in Silence’ – where I displayed the best of my still life images in black and white.

(http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/XIJzq52rSmy4qQf5yRhXiO/The-TimeOut-Mint-Planner-18-October-2012.html)

The entire set is located here: https://prometheus1706.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/a-study-in-silence/

We are eager to learn about the tools you use. Could you give us a quick preview of your inventory?

My tools are rather basic. For my current style of vector art, I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I also use SnapSeed and Pixlr Express to process and manipulate images on my phone.

I either create my own palette or sample colours from my photographs using http://color.adobe.com. Once I have a 5 colour palette, I blend them between each other in 3 steps, effectively creating 17 shades. The colours in my images are confined to this palette. The idea is to work with a limited palette and try to use it as creatively as possible.

I also use a Wacom Intuos 5 tablet for some of my work.

Would you mind letting us have a peek at your work station?

Nothing fancy at all – just a laptop with a mouse.

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Prince Of Peace by Vamsi Krishna

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

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Jumbo by Vamsi Krishna

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

How is it tackling a commercial project and getting back to your personal artwork? How do you go about the approach and manage to make time for both?

I don’t usually take up commercial work. When I do, I stop my personal work. *sips beer*. So, it’s either this or that.

Whilst working on commercial projects, what are the challenges you face?

Well, IMO, the biggest challenge is communication, since more often than not, clients are not artists and a great deal of talking and demonstration has to take place to make sure we both are on common ground. There was this one project I worked on a couple of years ago where the 20th version of the work was accepted by the client – albeit with a great deal of reluctance. Zen-like patience is key for commercial projects.

If were to choose from all your work till date, what would you pick as your most favourite artwork?

Perhaps the series of black and white still life images I curated from my collection is my favorite of all. I believe they’re the most aesthetically complete set of images I’ve ever shot. You can find them here: https://prometheus1706.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/a-study-in-silence/

Procrastination- how would you define your relationship with it? And how do you deal with it?

Well, I’m not much of a procrastinator to start with. So, the things I do last are the ones which take up the least priority in my opinion.

What is the one thing that keeps you going?

The fact that we’re living in an era perfectly conducive for explorations in digital and mixed media art is a very exciting thought for me – someone who has been chronically obsessed with digital art ever since he got his hands on Photoshop.

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Creation by Vamsi Krishna

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

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Siamese Dream by Vamsi Krishna

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

Does music play an important part in your creative process? Could we get a peek at the top songs on your playlist right now?

Oh yes indeed! I’m more of an entire-album-at-a-time person. While I listen to a great deal of 80’s rock and metal, I am not averse to other forms of music. My current playlist includes Kansas, Yes, Depeche Mode, Live, and others.

If you weren’t an artist, what do think you would be doing?

Well, I can’t think of anything else – I’ll still be producing art in some form or another. In my opinion, the realm of art is vast which includes a wide variety of disciplines such as performing art, installation, cuisine, etc. So, I’d probably be a musician I guess.

What’s the most dangerous thing that appeals to you?

None whatsoever – period.

If you could give one piece of advice for aspiring artists reading this right now, what would that be?

In my opinion, the enthusiasm and willingness to try out different styles of art is key to keep oneself ticking.

How has the journey with Cupick been thus far?

My journey with Cupick has been wonderful. I’m glad to be part of Cupick from about the time of its inception and to be able to connect to so many amazingly talented artists as well as art admirers on this one platform.

 

Check out Vamsi’s artwork at Cupick.com/prometheusimaging

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