Getting to know Illustrator Artist – Swarnavo Datta

It is said that Art is like poetry that enriches the soul, connects one to its deeper realizations and awakens the soul to a higher perspective. In the words of the master Leonardo Da Vinci, “A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light

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With changing times, Art is not confined to canvas and oil painting only. We now have various forms and mediums of art and we feel that traditional or digital, every art piece is beautiful. The effort, love, and dedication that every artist puts in his or her work is something to be appreciated, valued, and treasured always. Instagram is a great platform where you can showcase your talents in any field, but especially in Art. So we at Weekendtrivia tried to connect to artists across the globe and tried to know them better for us and for our viewers.

Broadly defined, An illustrator is an artist who specializes in enhancing writing or elucidating concepts by providing a visual representation that corresponds to the content of the associated text or idea. The illustration may be intended to clarify complicated concepts or objects that are difficult to describe textually, which is the reason illustrations are often found in children’s books.

Today we have with us a quirky, unconventional and witty artist with us – Swarnavo Datta. An art lover since childhood, he keeps his passion alive in the after-hours of his corporate job and on weekends. And he persuades in earnest to keep his dream of having his own studio one day alive. He is also the innovator of the Square Paper art trend. Also, he is a Tagore and Boroline loving Bengali from Kolkata 🙂

Let’s see what he has to say about his work 😉

Follow him on Instagram@swarnavod

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P.S. All the pictures and videos are owned by ©Swarnavo Datta and reproduction in any form, without prior permission, is prohibited

Swarnavo Datta

Q. Please introduce yourself.

I am Swarnavo (feel free to call me Swar). I am an illustrator from Kolkata currently based out of Bangalore. I come from a stereotypical rice eating, Tagore and Boroline loving Bengali family.

Q. What made you start your art page? Please share what is your Instagram profile is all about and how did your journey start?

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I started sketching when I was a kid. Maybe around 3 years of age. My parents noticed my interest in art and signed me up for weekly art classes. Ever since, art has been a constant throughout my life. I always wanted to have an exhibition of my artwork. For others to see. A few years back, I happened to post one of my doodles on my Instagram page. I really liked the response I received from people who saw it. That dopamine kick was enough for me to make it regular.

Initially it was quite haphazard, but slowly things fell together. I found a theme for myself, started making art more consciously.

As an artist it is a big deal to open your sketchbook to the world. To get over the sense of judgement from others (mostly from myself). Putting up my artwork on Instagram really helped me overcome this hurdle.

Q. Is being an artist your full-time profession or do you work elsewhere? Is it possible to make out a sustainable career out of art in today’s world?

I do have a regular 8 to 5 corporate job. Art is mostly reserved for after-office-hours and weekends.

It is definitely possible to make a sustainable career out of art. A lot of my friends and acquaintances have been able to do this successfully. More and more are now taking the leap of faith. I am headed towards a similar direction as well. A studio of my own one day.

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There are different ways to look at this point. One is what your definition of success is. Where do you want to be in life? Why do you want to take up art as a career?

While this option may not always provide you a constant source of income, there are so many ways around it. This is definitely not an easy option though. You need a tremendous amount of self-discipline and rigour to make it work. You need a lot of supportive people around you.

Q. What would you consider your biggest achievement so far?

So many of them. 2019 was a big year for me. From illustrating for books, magazines, brands and of course participating in Comic-Con Bangalore.

2020 has started off with a big bang as well. I will be speaking at a Literature Fest in February. That too is a big deal for me.

Q. What is your signature style of art that represents you as an artist? What does your work aim to say? Do you address current world scenarios through your work?

Art is a way of expressing myself. It may not always be aesthetic, or full of meaning. It is whatever I want the medium to say.

My signature style is not in the art/technique (since I keep experimenting) but in the way, I exhibit the artwork. Over the years, I have made the square paper format a signature. A quick glance at my Instagram page will show you exactly what I mean.

About the theme, I like positivity as a theme. Most of my work tends to aim towards that flavour.

Q. What is your favourite medium to work upon? And your favourite work tools?

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Digital. I dabbled with most of the traditional mediums, but digital ended up sticking.

Since I travel a lot, my iPad becomes the most convenient tool to carry around. From the tray table in a flight to cafes. I carry it everywhere.

I also enjoy urban-sketching with minimal tools. You will always find a small pouch in my bag with the essentials. A pocket sketchbook, a pencil and a fine-liner or a ballpoint pen.

Q. When you start a new piece of art, how do you get the inspiration/motivation it? How long does it take approximately to finish one piece of art?

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I borrow inspiration from what I see around me while travelling. People, environments, behaviours.

Internet and graphic novels also happen to be big sources of inspiration.

The time depends completely on the artwork. There are sketches which took me more than 12hours to finish (in a single sitting).

Q. Who are your biggest influences?

This list is pretty huge. Upamanyu Bhattacharya, Debangshu Moulik, Alicia Souza, Prashant Miranda are at the top of the list.

Q. How do you manage your family life along with other commitments and running a page?

As I said earlier, you do need a really supportive (and patient) gang around you to make this happen. Let’s just say I am blessed to have these pillars in my life. They make it easier.

Q. What are the biggest challenges that you face as an artist? Is creative block a common problem?

Time is the biggest challenge for me. 24hrs is just not enough.

Creative block used to be a common problem. What helps now is carrying a pocket sketchbook. I keep journaling ideas in it from time to time. So when I am stuck, all I need to do is to open it and find something to sketch further. All ideas need not be life-changing and grand. Sometimes an illustration of a tiny flower can give you a lot of satisfaction.

Q. Which current art world trends are you following, if any?

Children’s book illustration. Google this and you will find amazing artwork. All happy, colourful, imaginative. I am really trying to work on this style now.

Q. Apart from being an artist, what are your hobbies?

I play the guitar. I sing. I travel. Take photos. Love to cook and eat. Movies. Podcasts. Games. Oh, and reading.

Q. Please share your experience with different brands/projects you have worked with?

For me, it’s a big deal when a brand approaches you for a campaign. It gives you a larger sense of validation in the work you are doing.

Luckily till now, my brand collaborations have been super smooth and fruitful. Fingers crossed on this one.

Q. There are a lot of shoddy people on social media who either try to discredit others or stalk them. How do you deal with such people or negativity in general? Does it bog you down or affect your mental peace?

Counting my lucky stars again. I have a bunch of lovely people following me. So full of positivity. That’s a big source of positivity for me on a daily basis.

About negative comments, I try to analyse them before reacting or commenting. Sometimes it’s just a better idea to let go off some people. It gives you more space to concentrate on the brighter side.

Q. Would you like to give a word of advice to all the budding artists who are trying to make their mark through their art?

Practice. Practice the correct thing. Put in your hours every single day and you will see results. It does take time. A lot of time. It’s all about the marathon and not the sprint.

Get your basics in place. Don’t think about perfection all the time. Consciously make mistakes. That’s the only way to learn.

Q. What are your future plans for your page and profile? Are you happy with the way it has shaped up?

Oh absolutely. My page is one of my biggest assets. Something I have carefully nurtured over time and continue to do so. I am proud of it.

I want it to grow. Have a larger network of positive and nice people around me. A blue tick wouldn’t hurt :D.

Q. Lastly, any word for our blog? Thank you for your time!

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Thank you for reaching out. Means a lot to me. I wish your blog all the success and may you continue to impact more and more lives.

Thank you, Swarnavo for taking out time to talk to us, and having such a wonderful and heart-to-heart conversation. We love your work and look forward to your continuously bringing more happiness and sunshine to our feed! All the best 🙂

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