By Jenna Weis
Portraiture has been a significant foundation to the art world. For centuries artists have been commissioned to paint for some of the most influential people in the world as well as the everyday folk. To master the craft is one thing, but to bring the subject such life and vibrancy is the true artistry as graphic designer Kasmira Monhanty does in her portraits. Mixing tradition with the modern techniques of Photoshop and Illustrator, Mohanty compares her preferred medium with the Impressionist era stating “The invention of the paint tube changed the art world forever and most did not get what Impressionists were creating until later on. I think the same is happening now. I’m grateful to be part of that experience”
Mohanty’s artistic journey began quite modestly compared to what you see here. As a photographer for somewhat typical gigs, an experience teaching photography to students in need of inspiration set the bar for her work. She saw such a positive and energetic reaction from her students to their own portraits which forced her to discover the sense of value a self image can ignite for someone. “A portrait was no longer an image on a flat piece of paper, but a living breathing entity. Till this day I cherish those images” she says.
Mohanty decided to abandon the palette and brush for a computer, digitally creating her work with Photoshop which took her years to master. A common thread in these portraits is the original patterns she uses quite generously. Inspired by ancient Rangoli designs, Mohanty designs and redesigns these images off the cuff, sometimes with symbolic undertones. Using her piece entitled Tara and Ellyn as an example, she explains “I used the Gemini symbol to create a pattern and in the space that was left in between I put two circles representing the phrase ‘two peas in a pod’.”
Bold confident colors with complex and simple patterns engage the viewer. There is so much to take in visually, but what is truly amazing is despite the combination of colors and patterns that tend to make an image flat, here the subject is so alive and soulful. You get a sense of a true living and breathing person before you. These portraits are a definite must see at SPARKBOOM’s Artspace Unplugged event August 9th from 6-10PM at 20 Terry Street in Patchogue. RSVP here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenna Weis grew up on Long Island and graduated from Commack High School in 2007. She received her Associates Degree in Visual Arts from Suffolk Community College then went on to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University. This is her second summer working for SPARKBOOMTM, first as Lead Blogger. She hopes the blog will really engage readers to want to see more of the artists work at our SPARKBOOMTM events and help further promote the artists themselves.