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Art is the expression of ideas and emotions through a physical medium, like painting, sculpture, film, dance, writing, photography, or theatre. If you love the creative process, maybe you'll devote your life to art. Our artist in conversation today is someone who has created masterpieces. He is none other than Hiran Sumith Fernando, an extremely gifted artist who creates paintings using acrylic and black and white rotring pen. And also he is doing wall paintings by using marker pens.. We are excited to bring this conversation to you!

How long have you been painting?

I have been painting for almost 25 years now. I have been painting since in my childhood. I studied art as a subject when I was at school.

Who are your greatest influencers?

One of my uncles was doing artworks from long time ago. He recognized my potential and helped me as much as he can and directed me towards it. When I was studying at Prince of Wales College, my first teacher was Tissa Gunawardena, a famous art teacher. From him I learned a lot and his inspiration increased my love for art.

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

No as I said before, I studied art as a subject only in school time. I was able to work with Tissa Weerawardena, a famous artist who is drawing paintings for large pandals after my school days, for several years. It was only after that that I entered painting as a profession. Now I am extremely dedicated to my chosen profession.

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

I have no limit to my imagination. I am an impatient artist who tries different strokes. Currently I am doing paintings and line drawings mainly inspired by nature and abstract. I love travelling a lot and I think that's why I became so close to nature.

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

I was working as a art director in some films and tele dramas before. And have made some designs in major films like Siddhartha the Buddha. And as I said before I love travelling when I am free. It relaxes my mind and when I travel as I live more with nature so it's much easier for me when I draw something.

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?

Yes of course. It's a very important part. I never start to draw something at once. First of all I think how to start drawing it from my mind. After that I create a sketch of it and start to draw. If my brush didn't draw what I thought, I try to draw something meaningful without changing it. I think a good artist should have that quality. I can complete any painting like within 1 week.

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 into your style and what to leave as pure fun?

I always try to do something new. Because art has the power to change the way we see the world. Just like human beliefs, art changes over time. So we need to try with new techniques. And I always love to meet senior artists and discuss about their experiences and thoughts with the industry. And If a senior artists give me any advice, I would love to accept that highly.

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

I have participated many exhibitions and many locals and foreigners have purchased my paintings a lot. I have been a part of Kalapola for over 3 years as well. And I have had a stall in Colombo City Centre and I had been doing it over 3 years. But now most of times I am doing paintings from my own house and it makes me happy and relax.

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?

Not only for artists, but also for everyone it is necessary to have goals in their lives. Because then we can work for it. In the next month I'm gonna fulfil one of my main goals in my life. It is an exhibition which is going to held by me in Panadura Town Hall in 21st January 2024. It is special that my birthday also on that day.

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

I joined with Aartzy recently. But in this short period I realized how important this online platform to me. And I felt like I wish I could have joined this earlier. And I can take my work to all over the world through this. Finally I am truly grateful from the bottom of my heart to Mr. Janaka and the Aartzy family for helping us this much.

Imalka Shashini

Hiran's entire collection can be viewed through HERE.