"Expressions" by Lakshmi Mohanbabu, 2015
With the recent introduction of her Expressions series to our humble Addicted Art Gallery, we thought we’d get some facetime with this multi-talented lady.
There were certainly no sad expressions during this chat with Lakshmi Mohanbabu.
Let’s get acquainted…
Q ~ ADDICTED: Can you please tell us about your upbringing and how you came to be an artist?
A ~ LAKSHMI: I grew up during the Russian occupation in Afghanistan where my father worked for the United Nations. In spite of all the turmoil around us the interesting aspect was that the international community was very small and close knit. I do think that this had a great influence on my attitude towards people and different cultures which has had a very positive impact on my approach to art.
I am the youngest of three sisters. The twins were always in the limelight and I remember spending most of my time doodling in a corner. I loved observing people and drawing them. For this reason, I was always assigned to make posters for any events in the UN community. Very often I would include people in the posters which would be a source of great amusement when some of them would identify themselves in them.
Lakshmi with her mother (Asha) and twin sisters (Parvathi and Bharathi)
I knew I wanted to pursue a creative profession even though I liked technical subjects which is why I went on to become an architect.
I continued to paint and illustrate books even after studying fashion design and moving on to jewellery design. It was a path that got created along the way.
Q ~ ADDICTED: Can you tell us about the process you went through to find your style?
A ~ Lakshmi: I don't like being bogged down with a particular style. I strive to create a style that is definitely my own even if two series of paintings appear stylistically different. My background as an architect and a fashion designer as well as my interest in architecture, costume and design history has influenced my approach and style.
From Left to Right:
- “Drop Drips – Red”, Acrylic on canvas, 2016
- “Interactions – Primary Blue”, Acrylic on canvas, 2016
- “Interactions – Secondary Green”, Acrylic on canvas, 2016
- Lamp Installation, Paper, 2004
Q ~ ADDICTED: What do you want people to feel and take away from seeing your artwork?
A ~ Lakshmi: I want the person viewing my work to want to come back and look at my work and question what it is about. Since most of the work has a strong research base with a lot of cross cultural influences I want it to create a positive impact, one that would get someone thinking about the message I have to convey ie unity in diversity.
Q ~ ADDICTED: Is selling the artwork as important as making it?
A ~ Lakshmi: Making the artwork is meditative. I wouldn't be able to create something purely with the idea of selling it in mind even though I know selling it is important. Having the artwork viewed by people to me is more important.
Q ~ ADDICTED: What do you listen to while you’re creating your art?
A ~ Lakshmi: I usually listen to opera. It would depend on the piece I am working on. Music may be replaced by an audio book that makes me feel I am not working alone but have someone talking to me as I work. I just need background noise.
Q ~ ADDICTED: How do you tune out other influences and listen to your own inner voice?
A ~ Lakshmi: That is something I normally don’t have a problem with. I feel it just happens automatically.
Q ~ ADDICTED: You reach that moment of flow and someone interrupts it, what do you do?
A ~ Lakshmi: I don't like being interrupted but I always finish what I am working on before responding to anyone. Usually I don't hear anyone which does help!
Q ~ ADDICTED: What one thing would you teach a child about art?
A ~ Lakshmi: Observation. To observe everything and analyse - people, objects, space, relationships, moods, shadows, light etc. Having done that, to try drawing everything and maintain a sketch book to jot down ideas.
Q ~ ADDICTED: Do you collect other artists work? Which artist would you like to bring back to life and why?
A ~ Lakshmi: I have never collected other artists works but do collect art books or anything that motivates or inspires me.
If there was an artist I could bring back to life it would be Leonardo da Vinci. I would love to see what he would create in this hi-tech world and what futuristic designs he would create relative to the world we live in today as he created works that were a few centuries ahead of his time!
Q ~ ADDICTED: What one song, movie scene, or TV commercial jingle can you recite?
A ~ Lakshmi: 'My way' by Frank Sinatra.
Q ~ ADDICTED: You’re in the paint store. What colour would you be and why?
A ~ Lakshmi: I would choose black. Black absorbs all colours and I like to observe and absorb all influences. Secondly, I would always be in demand! No artist can do without me.
Q ~ ADDICTED: Who was your favourite NSYNC (boy band) member?
A ~ Lakshmi: Justin Timberlake.
Q ~ ADDICTED: What would you do if you found a penguin in your freezer?
A ~ Lakshmi: I would probably use the opportunity to paint it.
Check out Lakshmi’s Expression series here.
Until next time, keep dreaming!
Blair & Elena, Art Junkies xoxo
“Dreamy – Chimerical Haze” by Lakshmi Mohanbabu, 2015