September 3, 2015

Sketchnotes: Surasti Puri

by Pratika Yashaswi

“All things beautiful come to an end. It might be a bougainvillea flower slowly crisping under the sun, a movie that never returns for a sequel, that fugitive word that evades capture but sits teasingly at the tip of your tongue or a simple thought that briefly resided somewhere in your head. All I do is attempt to capture a beautiful thing just as it leaves. Most my illustrations are personal works and might not say very much but for me they speak plenty.” says Surasti Puri.

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I can’t decide what captivates me more, the combination of colour and form, or the white space they’re suspended in: so tastefully are her pictures composed. The characters with their distant, oblivious expressions fill me with the eerie feeling of being an awed voyeur with a tug of why-can’t-I-be-as-light?

Even her landscapes are filled with peaceful solitariness. Unlike most, Surasti finds it easy to name her favourites. “The fantastic scenarios and imaginary jungles of Rousseau, the dreamlike states and visual poetry in the paintings of Chagall, the women of Frida Kahlo, Klimt and Egon Schiele.”
The inspiration is pleasantly obvious to someone who is familiar with these artists.

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“I think about what I want to draw or paint but sometimes its just drawing a line and seeing where it goes and then leaving it to trial and error. I do love to have simple lines but usually as the illustration progresses I get into the patterns, plants, decor, symbols, basically everything that would add to the meaning or context of the central subject. For me it important to communicate a/the thought, a way of having a conversation without saying a word.”

Surasti studied graphic design in Bangalore at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology and is now preparing to go for her masters in Persian painting / art history next month in the UK.

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Her favourite and most artistically formative project is Mirages of the Past, which she worked on as her graduation project in college. “Having four months all to myself to work on just one thing and nothing else was complete bliss. The project is memorable because of how challenging it was and the iterations that I went through before deciding on a direction.

It was a project, like I mentioned earlier that allowed me to combine my love of cartography, fictional-speculative writing, design, illustration, art and at the same time, most importantly learn about the history of a city I knew little about i.e. Bangalore. It was as if I discovered fire, creatively speaking and now I can make all kinds of things that I never thought possible.”

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You can browse the rest of her work on her Behance and her blog.

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