January 14, 2016

Sketchnotes: Sadhna Prasad

by Sonaksha Iyengar

She never coloured leaves green, mountains brown and skies blue because that’s not how she saw them in her head. Sadhna Prasad, illustrator and visual designer enjoys using abstract images to communicate. “It’s easier because I don’t want people to know everything about me,” she says, confessing that the abstractness helps her navigate through her thoughts with honesty.

After a two-year foundation course from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore and a program in animation at DSK International Campus, Pune she decided to leave; she noticed the lack of style in her work, which became a constant worry. So she chose to do a Master of Arts in Illustration from Camberwell College of Arts, London.

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The first time she saw a call for the Adobe x Colossal – The World’s Biggest Student Art Show application, she decided it was too ambitious. After repeatedly stumbling upon the posters, she decided to go ahead and send her application. Many Skype interviews and weeks of wait later, she was shortlisted to have her ‘Unique Perspective of the World’ painted on a wall in Brooklyn, New York. She chirped, “They liked my outlook of the world and the way I brought playfulness into a serious topic, so I didn’t have to change much about my style of expression.”

Sadhna’s art combines the brightest shades of the colour wheel with repetitive geometry and seemingly strange characters that display an uncanny familiarity with oneself. “I usually start with blocks of colour, trying to see what works, and then draw the silhouettes, layering them,” she says about the process of her illustrations.

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Talking about the messages in her art, she says, “I was researching stereotypes for a project in London and it’s so difficult to change the perspective of a person without being preachy.” Sadhna experiences the world through the complexity of colours and intends to influence existing stereotypes through the ideas she subtly synthesizes in her work.

“People don’t get offended because it’s happening in a parallel world, but they are still able to relate to some elements, which at least starts a conversation,” she says mentioning her graduation project, The Wayback that follows a girl’s journey to find her missing doll.

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Currently working as a visual designer and illustrator for Ajay Shah Design Studio and Rubberband Products, Sadhna’s journey on The Roadtrip Experience Project helped her understand the kind of work she wanted to do after returning from London.

“I went on the trip without reading up on any of the places because I wanted to work on projects about the people and places as I saw them,” she excitedly talks about her recent adventure. The project that aims to bring together wanderers and artists, to unlearn and collaborate, helped Sadhna become more confident about her work.

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“I met these people who were just so comfortable about what they do and seeing them so secure about it made me realise that it’s not about the perfection,” she says. Many painted walls, sketchbooks and postcard collaborations later, Sadhna intends to continue dwelling on merging various forms of art to create an eventful experience with her work.

With a newfound love for collaborations and a rekindled enthusiasm to work on her pet project of a narrative mural on a road trip from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Sadhna Prasad has always been an ardent admirer of uncertainty. “I don’t want to know everything. I just want to be busy,” she says.

Colours as her weapons and dreamy worlds mingled with memories as companions, visit her website or Behance profile to view more of her work.

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