An artist is someone who changes our perception of the world. He takes something very simple and mundane and creates magic to show us that there is so much more than what we see on the outside. His inspiration comes from nature and from the many years of working in advertising. On our interviews this month, we speak with Wasantha Ranjan a self-taught artist whose passion is to take the beautiful landscapes of Sri Lanka to the world! When speaking with Wasantha, it is very noticeable that he is a very laid back person and is someone who enjoys his work tremendously. Let's take a look at his journey so far.
How long have you been painting and who are your greatest influencers?
I have been painting for as long as I can remember. I started just after school in the 1980's and have been creating art since then. So it's about 40 years since I started. No one in my family as far as I know is involved in art, therefore, my journey through art has been a surprise not only to others but to myself as well!
Did you have a formal education on art and painting or are you self-taught?
I have no formal education on art. I am a self-taught artist. I was interested in art and have been inspired by other artists during my time, it was more of a hobby which has now become my profession. I observed them and experimented with their styles of painting. My methods of painting are an inclusion of certain aspects of their styles combined with my own. I am content with what I do and where I have come so far but the learning process continues.
Do you have a particular style? How did you become so passionate of this style?
I prefer not to be boxed in to a particular style. I draw and paint as my imagination leads me. I work on a certain palette and use a combination of shades to create and bring forth what I have in mind. I use mediums such oil paints, acrylic, pencils, water colors to create art. Most of my art are landscapes, figures and objects but since of late I have begun experimenting with abstract art. The non-meticulous nature of this has inspired me to dig deeper and I have found myself enjoying it!
What are your other passions other than art? How have they contributed for you to become the artist you are today?
I chose to live a carefree life and I think this path of life is what is most important. I read and prefer long walks which helps clear my mind and helps me focus on my work. I think at the end of the day, when I close my eyes my mind needs to be a blank slate, free from the complexities of life. I always choose to live this way. Apart from this, I have taken up drawing murals and working on sculptures.
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 work on a sketch most often; this helps me prepare the background for the piece I aspire to create. I also prepare myself mentally. I need to have that focus to work. If not, I am unable to give my best. Once I am satisfied with my preparation, I let the brush work do the talking. I believe colors are important in making an art stand out from the rest, not just the lines which create it. Which is why you will notice my work is quite colorful.
Are you engaged in new artistic adventures? How is an 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?
Yes, I love to experiment with different styles, I think this helps me learn and improve myself. It is not practical for an artist to be stagnant for long periods. My latest adventure is abstract art. I take the gist of it and recreate it with my own twist. The world of art changes every moment and we need to keep up with it.
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?
Over the last 40 years I have learnt new skills and perfected my work to become a professional artist. I don't generally praise my own work, I believe there are many more before and after me who have and will have far more skill and expertise. It is mainly my years of practice and the knowledge I gathered from other artists which have helped me to become who I am. I consider myself privileged to be able to create art which is admired and considered worthy.
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?
I have goals which keep me on track but they don't determine my path. Even though I am a professional artist, I still learn through practice and strive to create better art. This is how I keep myself on track.
How is your experience working with Aartzy? Do you think it is a useful platform for artists?
Aartzy has truly been a source of strength for me and for many more Sri Lankan artists. This platform has provided us a channel to take our work to the world, which has opened many avenues for me. Working with Aartzy and Janaka has been a very pleasant relationship, the team is hard-working and dedicated to their work. I am very happy to be a part of Aartzy.
Wasantha's exclusive collection can be found at https://www.aartzy.com/artist/wasantha-ranjan