Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lakshmi Mohanbabu, Artist, Architect & Fashion Designer, Tells Her Story

Having grown up in Afghanistan seeing all the destruction and chaos, cultivated a keen desire in me to create rather than to destroy, thus started my sojourn of design. I studied architecture at the Manipal Institute of Technology. On completing my degree in Architecture I joined a prominent architectural firm, Benjamin and Benjamin, in New Delhi.

However, I allowed myself to grab any chance that would give me an opportunity to draw, paint, or just create. I got work illustrating books with the World Health Organization, the Voluntary Health Association of India, and the National AIDS Control Organization, to name a few. The subject was very interesting and it gave me an insight into yet another aspect of life. My unconventional approach led me in yet another direction when I decided to study Fashion Design at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi, a premier design school and the only one of its kind at the time.

The way I saw it there was no real departure from my training as an architect. Both Architecture and Fashion deal with the design of a protective space -- Clothing is the immediate space around us, and Architecture is the bigger space. Paintings and sculpture create focal points in the larger interior, or architectural space, just as jewelry and accessories create areas of focus in Fashion. The fundamentals of designing a painting a sculpture, a building, or furniture deal with an understanding of function, form, structural and material properties. Over the years I was able to connect the dots and delve into all areas of design.

Traveling and interacting with people from across the globe instilled in me a desire to share my worldview with a message that I believe would have a positive impact on people. As an artist, I feel I could spread a message for the betterment of society. Having extensively traveled in Europe and Asia, studying architecture and fashion design I was able to incorporate various cultural aspects into my world of art and design.

My experience teaching at NIFT Delhi and Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore has made me a perpetual student of Art, Architecture, Jewelry and Design for it is my belief that learning never stops. Having traveled the world with significant time especially in Europe and the Asia Pacific has enabled me to incorporate cross-cultural elements, philosophies and interactions in my designs, be it in painting, jewelry or art.

I believe I was born to study the history of art techniques and explore the unexplored reaches of fine art - not restricting myself to painting  - but in the design of jewelry, furniture, sculpture, shoes, building, clothes, etc. and create a new world. 

Over the last few decades of my journey, I have created a plethora of work in various mediums such as Pen and Ink, Pencil Color, Charcoal, Acrylic, and Watercolors. My paintings and jewelry have been in circulation with private clients for the past few decades. I currently have design studios in both Singapore and India.

This is Week 2 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Lakshmi's story today. To connect with Lakshmi and see more of her work, please visit the following links:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Katey Ladika, Photographer & Digital Media Artist, Tells Her Story

If you hear a photographer describe their work as My Life Through a Lens then chances are their images are as cliché as their word choices I am not one of those photographers. It seems I have a need to create, instead of just a mere desire for it and that has lead me to love the adventure for the artistic phenomenon.

Adventure. Such a simple word, yet it is a huge determining factor in my artistic style. Each day is a personal expedition into the unknown and, frankly, it has led me to new experiences and opportunities that I never felt possible. I spend a ton of time stepping outside of my comfort zone just because it makes me happy to be doing something cool. I like to describe it as a constant need for motion. I believe it was Newton who stated that an object at rest will stay at rest until acted on by an outside force... My art IS my outside force. If I'm not moving or exploring, then I'm not particularly happy. It's a blessing and a curse all wrapped up into one, but I think this weird enjoyment for the unknown is what has driven me even further into my passion for art and my love of photography.

My art. My art is my life, my passion, and my love. I have spent eight years getting as close to perfect as I possibly could with my work. I know I have a lot to learn in my field still, but I am excited to learn it. Oddly enough, while capturing the image, I do not see my subject matter as clearly as those cliché photographers I have mentioned above. Instead, when I put my face up to the viewfinder, I see the world as a mass of color and shapes. I use the abstracted image in my head to create my composition.

Though I may abstract an image in my own eyes, each of my photographs is done in an extremely strict fashion. I have my own set of rules for my photography that I always follow. As I have come to create my own personal style, I have determined the Dos and Donts for my artwork: Do add visual dynamics through shadows, dont have motion blur. Do allow yourself to have complete artistic freedom in your design style, dont rely on Pinterest for all your ideas. Do monitor all aspects of color in your image, dont forget about the classic loveliness of a successful black and white photograph. As you can see, it is easy to say that I am stricter toward my photography than most aspects of my life, but a strict photographic style is a large part of my tale.

How I edit certain pieces of my work is also a very important key in my artistic portfolio. I can spend hours upon hours dabbling in Photoshop just because it is something I enjoy. For that reason, (and the fact that I also create works of graphic design, desktop publishing, and videography), I tack on the title of Digital Media Artist as well.
Eight years have gone by since I first picked up a camera. Some would say, Well, what is eight years -- barely a decade, wars have lasted longer than that., but if we take the time to look at where I was when I started my photographic journey, a mere child with an eye for the more artistic aspects of life, then it may be stranger than assumed.

On a family vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, I found myself annoyed with the average beach surroundings. A wave here, a palm tree there, and a group of 16 people who were perfectly content with simply parking their behinds in the sand and staring at the sea foam. As I attempted to keep sane in the overwhelming heaps of boredom, I took my mother's Point-and-Shoot camera from her purse. A few hours later, my family was in complete awe at what I had captured. At the time, I was just eleven years old, but apparently I was using a camera like a seasoned veteran. I will be blunt in saying, eleven year old me didnt particularly care what my elder counterparts were saying, but when twelve year old me was given a camera for her birthday, my life changed for the better.

Growing up with an above average artistic talent was a strange occurrence. Throughout middle school I seemed to be coddled by teachers who thought it was cute that I wanted to be an artist, all the while they were trying to push me to try for a real career. Of course, the stubborn child I was never diverged from my path and continued to learn the photographic trade. In high school, I met a whole different perspective on my love and creation of art.

(Now, I wont say that I am good at photography. I will say that I like what I create and I am proud of it and that my images have also left me with 180+ art awards to my name, but, as with most things, some will love it while others will hate it.)

From an art teacher who refused to help me accomplish my dreams (actually telling me to stop entering my work into galleries and such because I should Leave it for someone else”) to people who actually were angry that I allowed myself to fully embrace my passion, I cant say that my life as an artist has been a walk in the park. Actually, there have been a great deal of hurdles I had to overcome before I was able to really allow myself to embrace the art world, but it is because of those hurdles that I have such a high level of respect for all artists in the industry and for the creation of all forms of art, in general.

After teaching myself for five years, I was given a full scholarship from Scholastic, Inc. to study Fashion & Commercial Photography at Maine Media Workshops and College in Camden, Maine in the summer of my Junior Year of high school. I spent the summer gaining a better understanding of the aspects of portraiture and I found that, hey, I was actually pretty good at it. Prior to that summer, I was a self-deemed Nature Photographer, but through my time at Maine Media I was able to find my true niche in the realm of Portrait Photography. It is sometimes odd to me to think that I had found something so incredibly important to me at such a young age and that I actually was successful at it, but I know that I am truly blessed with this ability.

So, with an eye for design and a passion for creativity, I first held my camera at the age of twelve. Nearly eight years later and a hefty amount of time spent behind the lens, my photographs have taken on a personality of their own. Mixing my knowledge of fashion photography and the strict ethical codes of photojournalism, I have left myself with the ability to capture moments like no other!

Currently, I reside in the beautiful mountains of the Alleghenies (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to be exact!) where I am completing coursework for the prestigious Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Robert Morris University. I hold the Assistant Photographer position at RMU Sentry Media and am the Photo Intern for Pittsburgh City Paper. My work has been showcased all of the United States and abroad, including cities such as NYC, Washington D.C, Paris, and London!

Finally, I find a vast importance to add a thank you to those who have helped me become an artist. The first being God, as he has blessed me with this gift and this understanding of the visual world and I am so thankful he has directed me thus far. Second, I must thank my amazing family. My mother, brother, father, and grandparents are always there to help me when I fail or assist me in the purchase of a new camera. They are my rock. Third, I must also give a huge shout out to my friends who are all amazing models and amazing inspirations. Thank you all. You make my world a little more colorful!

This is Week 1 of Artists Tell Their Stories 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Kateys story today. To connect with her and see more of her work, please visit the following links:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Artists Tell Their Stories List of Artists for 2017





Katey Ladika
Photography & Digital Media
January 11th


Lakshmi Mohanbabu
Multi-Media Interactive Installations
January 18th

Patrick Smith
January 25th


Martina Sestakova
Photography & Textiles
February 1st

Anita Wexler
February 8th

Petra Terslova
Oil Paintings
February 15th

Belgin Bozsahin
February 22nd


Ann Dunbar
Mixed Media
March 1st

Richard Morris
Writer & Book Author
March 8th

Jennifer Thomson
Veil Painting
March 15th

Alan Binstock
March 22nd

Wayne Wright
March 29th


Padma Prasad
Writer, Painter & Poet
April 5th


Jim Copening
April 12th

Antoine Hunter
April 19th

Jen Rouse
April 26th


Marcos Smyth
Visual Artist
May 3rd

Cornell Kinderknecht
May 10th

Ahmed Ibrahim
May 17th

Jeffrey MacMillan
May 24th

Lorrie Anne Minicozzi
Traditional Paintings
May 31st


Lisa Bick
Encaustic Mixed Media
June 7th

Jim Pastor
June 14th

Suzana Gaal
"artezen" and Writer
June 21st

Hilde Lambrechts
June 28th


Doug D’Souza
Jewelry Designer
July 5th

Nikki Serra
July 12th

Bonnie Brown
Hoop Dancing
July 19th

Gale Fulton Ross
July 26th


Julian Douglas
August 2nd

Ellyn Weiss
August 9th

Sara Thee Campagna
Primary Robot Creator
August 16th


Robin Antar
Stone Carving
August 23rd

Jamie Kirkell
Silk Painting
August 30th


Heather Williams
September 6th

Jennifer Jones
September 13th

Patricia Zannie
Mixed Media Collages
September 20th

Charles Gushue
September 27th



Carole Stevens Bibisi
Colored Pencils
October 4th

Susan Slack
Author, Musician & Dancer
October 11th

Lauren Rader
October 18th

Solomon Asfawbeka
October 25th


Gaetano Cannata
November 1st

Gila Rayberg
November 8th

Sheri Nadelman
November 15th

Patrice Kennedy
Writer, Illustration & Healing Arts
November 22nd

Cynthia Farrell Johnson
Book Illustrations & Paintings
November 29th


Kim Reyes
Body Painting & Makeup
December 6th

Aklilu Temesgen
December 13th

Roslyn Zinner
December 20th

Hiep Nguyen
Circle Painting
December 27th