Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Inspiring creativity through his frame of perspective

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Bringing alive his art, Sri Priyatham, a Hyderabadi illustrator, speaks to The Pioneer about the artistic culture in Hyderabad, challenges, and more.

Tejal Sinha

Back in our childhood days, who doesn’t remember getting home from school and the first thing we’d do was watch Cartoon Network and POGO? Obviously, something that we’d enjoyed the most! Haven’t there been times when we’ve wondered how they even create these characters? Well, it was the same with Sri Priyatham, a Hyderabadi-born and a TedX speaker who is on the verge of creating not only some amazing masterpieces but also raising respect for the world of Art.

Every time one thinks of art, the only thing they think of is a drawing or a painting that’s done using a pencil or a brush. But no! There’s a lot of imagination, inspiration, creativity, and motivation that go into creating a legitimate art.

Something that really took us apart when we saw his artwork was the way he brought reality to it. You see his work, and you’d get confused if it’s truly an illustration or if it’s real. He always chooses to work on something that relies on story illustration. In fact, he was one of the 16 artists shortlisted for the Global Artist Outreach Programme, in which artists from across the world created digital illustrations based on their interpretations of Seasons 1 and 2 of the popular web series Stranger Things. Recently, he has also worked with Netflix on the illustrations for The Indian Predator.

Considering the choice of his profession, he says that Hyderabad as a city still has a long way to go. “I wouldn’t say it’s obscure here, but it is very rare to find that it belongs to the minority. I am an illustrator and artist, and it has been treating me well in that context considering the kind of opportunities that we have right now, though it’s not very much. It is better than what I expected in the last few years. It’s not extremely bright, but I don’t expect a miracle from a technology- or IT-driven city.”

His relationship with art had started ever since he was a kid, and just like many of us, he too grew up watching Cartoon Network and being fascinated by the characters.

Going ahead and talking about the artistic infrastructure here in the city, the JNFAU alumna stated, “Hyderabad is honestly not too encouraging, especially when it comes to awareness. Here you just have JNFAU and a couple of affiliated colleges for fine arts. There’s no proper teaching of the fine arts, but then again, the corporate sector has been encouraging in the last few years, at least to begin with. Hyderabad, I can say, has slowly begun to take baby steps. We have begun recognising art as a mainstream platform and not even as a profession, but at least to let people know that there are certain sets of people who are practising that for a living.”

No doubt, there’s a lot of inspiration that goes behind the scenes, and Priyatham couldn’t agree more. However, for him, he said, “Pop culture has been something that has been a driving factor. Like I said, art inspires art. Art is always inspired by fellow artists or anyone who is creating something out of their own interest. So that has always been my driving force. It’s all a different ballgame altogether. The major process is creatively driven.”

He further shared, “There is no set ground rule or association to be taken care of. Like I said, there is no professional community for my profession. It is tough to find work in these times because it is often diluted by people who don’t create art but just dilute the competition. Here, when it comes to art, it just goes by saying ‘boring’, ‘do you even charge for something like this?’ and it goes on that line. So it always begins with awareness. I always wanted people to be open about art in general and look at it as the mainstream field that people generally follow professionally, like in Western societies. So that has been my consistent problem. Art is not just about entertainment; there are certain creators behind it. Once you develop that discipline, that is when the value is created, respectfully.”

Priyatham is currently focusing on his academy, which he’s going to come up with anytime soon in association with Unacademy. Sharing more about it, he said, “It’s an online academy where I’m currently designing a bunch of courses for a lot of aspiring artists where everything is focused on beginner-friendly to inspire and push more aspiring artists.”

Coming to the end of our conversation, Priyatham also explains to us the difference between making an illustration for a commercial project and one for an OTT project.

“Most of the time it is the same, but the requirements are different. The commercial projects are extremely mechanical. There is a template, and you need to follow that, and you need to sharpen your skills here and there. You have to listen to your client and not be able to use much of your creative mind since they have a certain commerciality attached to them. Meanwhile, in OTT, you get to use your creative liberties.”

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