1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I am Praveen Yarramilli, bought up in Visakhapatnam, a town on the coastal belt in South India. Coming from a middle-class family with supporting parents and two siblings, as a kid I found myself scribbling on walls and behind my dad’s business cards. The love for art continued through high school, where it reached a point when I desperately waited to pack my bags and go home to paint every day. I found myself totally lost and consumed in the act of applying paint on paper.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
The objective of my aesthetic is to reach an overall balance in terms of form, colour and composition, where the whole stands larger than the sum of its parts. I achieve this by minimising the colours, diagonals and curves in each work to a minimal, without compromising on the overall feel of the aesthetic. I love sunsets and the contrasting play of light and shadow during that time, it feels like time has come to a halt. This explains the heavy use of saturated colours and deep dark shadows in my work.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I enjoy mediums that allow for experimentation, rework and iteration. That is, I like to create multiple variations of each work and continue to iterate until I achieve the desired effect. Which is why I enjoy working digitally, it allows room for making mistakes, observing and learning from them and reiterating quickly. I also enjoy working with Indian ink, Gouache and Acrylic markers.
4. What is your artistic process like?
My artistic process always starts with an experience I have had in daily life and the inherent need to express the feeling to others. The subject first has to appeal to me, invoke a feeling or intrigue me. Sometimes this feeling is quite strong and it immediately gets me down to creating work, in other cases, I take my time, research further and see if the feeling lasts or if it was only superficial. I then start collecting picture references. This helps me look for interesting patterns, motifs and details that I would have otherwise missed. Using these references I create my first draft, the focus is on composition to start with. Once I am fairly pleased with the composition I then get to colouring. This is where I iterate a lot until the whole artworks begins to come alive with colour and the visual hierarchy remains intact. Once the colour palette is set, I use the same for the other artworks in the series. It is really lovely to witness the entire process unfold.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
What inspires my work are people, places, cultures, nature and our daily lives. But as I learn more, human psyche and the nature of our evolution seems very fascinating too.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art plays a major role in my life, I have consciously chosen to be a full-time artist in my life. As an engineer, I had to depend on my technical skills to earn a living. And in a skill-based role like that it is very easy to become a clog in the vast machine of the industrial age we live in. Something I didn’t want to do to myself. But when it comes to art, it encompasses the whole of life, you observe life and the world around you and understand the way things work. Art becomes a reason to look at life, observe it and understand it. You work through life and then life works through you. That is the beauty of art for me.
7. Where did you study?
I studied engineering in my bachelors at a local college in Visakhapatnam and later studied Masters in Design thinking from Design Programme in IIT Kanpur.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ah, I have no idea. Hopefully, creating a body of work that means something to me and people who encounter it.
9. What about in ten?
haha… that is way beyond my imagination!
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
This might sound totally unrealistic, but I eventually want to explore the possibility of visually communicating with the subconscious human mind. Through this understanding, I want to explore if we can make people reflect and hence alter the nature and structure of the human mind and evolve as a collective species. Weird, I know.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I am a south Indian, so I enjoy hot Rasam, rice and Indian curry. But then I also love Sushi!
12. Favourite book?
‘Think on these things’ by J.Krishnamurthy
13. Favourite genre of music?
I love Pink Floyd, but not necessarily all psychedelic music.
14. What are your hobbies?
I enjoy watching well-researched documentary films. Taking a walk on the beach, sitting by myself and having a cup of tea or indulging in interesting conversations.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Oh, I have no idea, perhaps an employee at a corporate office, working daily and struggling to come to terms with it.