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In this journey of life, we meet people who change us, those who inspire us and those who strive to do better every single day. Those are individuals who create wonderful revolutions in society. They fashion a ripple which cannot be stopped. Our artist in conversation today is Prakash Mena, an inspiring human being who goes beyond the norm to produce beautiful art and captivate an audience through his work. We hope you enjoy this interview!

How long have you been painting?

My journey begins 26 years ago; I have been a painter since my childhood. Some find it intriguing as no one in my family is involved in arts. I believe I have an inborn talent which I have nurtured through the years. I am glad I chose this path.

Who are your greatest influencers?

To be honest, I don't follow any other artist specifically, I will observe their work but I don't want to idolize any person. I am influenced by social media as there are so many new artists and new work which is inspiring. I prefer to work alone most of the time.

Did you have a formal education on art and painting or are you self-taught?

Yes, I have formal education, I studied commercial art for 5 years and followed an Art teacher diploma for 2 years. I also teach and love photography.

Do you have a particular style? How did you become so passionate about this particular style?

I am a realistic painter, I love wildlife, landscapes and birds. I prefer to create realistic art as much as possible. I take photos of places and beautiful sceneries on my travels and use them later for my paintings. I love nature and always tried to recreate what I saw on my adventures.

What are your other passions other than art? How have these passions contributed for you to become the artist you are today?

My passion is to do social work; I help the poor in my area the best way I can. Sometimes, from my weekly earnings, I help the families who require financial support. I also love to drive and race, though the latter happens occasionally, driving is something I truly enjoy. Apart from this, I go on adventures, mountain climbing and trekking when possible. The landscapes and the animals I see are captured through photographs. I use them as references for my paintings. It is a wonderful experience. I think I should mention that I am a polio patient, so I have a disability. I don't let this hinder my journey in any way. I wish to say to anyone who has any shortcoming to not focus on what they cannot do, but look at what they can do inspire at least one other person.

Could you walk us through your process? Percentage wise, how much time do you spend preparing for the painting and how much time on the actual painting itself? Is preparation an important part of your process?

I am a realistic painter, and I draw inspiration from nature. Before I start painting, I observe and read the photo for a long time, this can be a week to a month, I take in every detail, the colors, the sharpness of the images. Once I am thorough with the details, I gather my utensils, and begin painting. I generally take a few hours to finish a painting, mainly because I take breaks in between. As you can see, the biggest percentage is spent on studying a photo as that is where I gather all the info.

Are you engaged in new artistic adventures? How is artistic exploration important to you as an artist and to your process? How do you then decide what to incorporate in to your style and what to leave as pure fun?

To be honest, as I mentioned before, I don't follow artists, but I do look at the new tools, colors and methods introduced, mostly online. I am looking at working on sculptures and statues at the moment and abstract art, I don't know how successful I will be but I am willing to take on this challenge. Let's see where that take me.

Was there a particular moment where you could tell that your skills had just crossed over in to being an exceptionally good painter instead of a pretty good painter? What did you do to make that leap?

My main goal is for people to be inspired by my work. It is not about the money per se. It is not that money is not important but self-satisfaction is more important for me. I love it when people share my work, earlier when I started, I realized my reach was limited, as I improved myself and my art was recognized, I realized I have become a very good painter. This is not a title I give myself, but I am glad I have been able to inspire at least one person.

How do you push yourself? Do you set goals for yourself? And if so, what are those goals? Do you think setting goals is important for an artist in his/her artistic journey? If so why?

It is important for all of us to have goals, be it short term or long term. They keep us inspired and moving forward. A person without goals is stagnant. Right now, I am looking forward to exhibiting my work at an exhibition in Istanbul and I am working on that. I also hope to travel to Spain and Poland to showcase my work as well.

How is your experience working with Aartzy? Do you think it is a useful platform for artists?

Aartzy, has been and is still a wonderful platform. My journey with this team is almost 3 years now, it was a friend who suggested me to join Aartzy and I am so glad I did. Janaka and his team are very nice and helpful. I wish to work with them for many more years!

Prakash's entire collection can be viewed through here.

Manesha Peiris (2022)