- Sambhavi Sinha
5 Amazing Mural Artists of Instagram
Murals have been part of human nature since literally the beginning of mankind, and part of Indian culture in particular since before there was even a single ‘India’. Many traditional art forms, descended from the cave paintings of our early ancestors, were born from the human desire to tell stories, birthing art forms like Madhubani, Warli and Gond – and that’s just in India. As murals become mainstream in Indian urban spaces- Our artists today are the flagbearers of building this new artsy India. Check out their story:
1. Kartikey Sharma
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/kartikeygraffiti/
Kartikey is a Pune based muralist and artist who dreams of paint the biggest wall in the world one day. He is inspired by the story of Van Gogh, particularly his work ethics. The first thing that stands out about his paintings is the vibrant colour palette, which he combines with geometric shapes to create a final product that is trippy and surreal. He loves to use spray paint in his work, drawing inspiration from everything around him; people, places, incidents, as well as the works of artists like Rob Gonsalves and MC Escher and their play on form and illusion. His favourite painting he’s done is a mural called ‘Maya’, in June 2021, a beautiful black and white portrait including his signature geometric elements.
Kartikey’s advice to young artists and muralists is to stop thinking so much about everything and just put in the work. “The more you do is better. Focus on quantity, and quality will follow.” One of Kartikey’s dreams is to singlehandedly paint the largest wall in the world.
2. Anpu Varkey
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/anpusan/
Anpu Varkey is an artist whose style combines the spontaneity of impressionism with the fine details of pointillism. Her work is both colourful and monochrome, fluid like watercolours as well as with the careful blending of oil or gouache paint, big or small, detailed or simply impressions; an exploration of a variety of styles, techniques and mediums. One of her favourite works is the painting in Mahim of the upside-down girl, which reminded an elderly man from the neighbourhood of his own childhood, inspiring him to write his own poem.
Anpu believes that her art belongs to the street and to its citizens. When working on a new project she often tries and see what’s around it, or who the audience is, how can she connect to larger group of people from different demographics to enjoy the work, irrespective of their caste, religious preferences age and gender.
Her works have prompted encouragement from the people of those neighborhoods, and even invitations for lunch and tea. In her own words, “You never fully realise how much what you do affects the people living close by.”
Anpu along with German artist Hendrik Beikirch painted the tallest mural in India; Mahatma Gandhi at the Delhi Police Headquarters. Watch THIS video to checkout the story of the Gandhi Mural.
Her advice to budding muralists is this; forget what you’ve learnt and start learning again when you’re on the streets. It’s the freest, most fun space, with the process to be enjoyed more than the outcome.
3. Sneha Chakraborty
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/lbc_sneha/
Sneha Chakraborty travels the country to paint murals. Her main inspiration is people; her dream is to paint every wall in the world, telling the stories of the people they belong to. The first thing you might say upon looking at her paintings is ‘oh, that’s beautiful’. The best part about murals, as she says, is that they happen in the open; art, especially community art, is deeply linked to the psyche of that community, and influences their interactions with their space. She may be the painter, but the final product is a community effort, something that belongs to those people as much as it does to the artist. One of her favourite murals is one of the first she ever did, a teal landscape which is the perfect example of her style; natural elements, a simple palette, and a fantasy-like feel. An artist she draws inspiration from is Marco Grassi; influences of his hyper-realistic renaissance-like style are apparent in Sneha’s paintings, but the feeling from them is completely different; where renaissance paintings strict and distant, Sneha’s paintings are friendly, earthy, and approachable.
Sneha hosts super fun art workshops for people from all age groups. Her workshops are known to have an environment that is free and unjudgmental.
4. Mamta Singh
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/artistmamtasingh/
Mamta Singh is an artist from Rajasthan whose art style has the same spontaneity and fluidity of doodles, except on a larger-than-life scale. The murals go through many iterations and changes before they are finally complete, be they personal projects or commercial. She incorporates beautiful patterns into her paintings, taking inspiration from tribal and traditional Indian art styles like Gond. These busy details give the final piece a feeling of fun and playfulness, while still being equal parts of a larger whole, no matter where you’re standing. It’s not just a painting that happens to be on a wall; it’s a pattern that becomes the wall, and is the kind of beautiful that you don’t need to be an artist to fully appreciate. Mamta draws inspiration from contemporary artists as well, such as muralist Camille Walala, who in turn is inspired by Fauvist artists like Henri Matisse; these influences manifest as sure-handed and purposeful lines and forms in Mamta’s paintings.
Mamta has painted over three hundred murals, including on surfaces like floors and furniture. She doesn’t limit herself to a single surface or medium, or even a single mode of expression, wanting to widen her already impressive repertoire to include performance arts as well.
Another dream of her is to create a community, to connect people from all over the country with her doodle workshops and allow them to freely express their creativity. This is a goal she is already working towards; read more about Mamta’s workshops on her instagram page, and join the community!
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/kanaknanda/
Kanak Nanda’s murals are, in a word, ethereal. Though her educational is not in art, it is clear that she has an eye for beauty. She experiments with various art styles, mediums, and textures, her murals are most strongly rooted in her choice of palette. Her knowledge of colour theory allows her a unique level of insight into the way the colours she chooses affect her audience. The textures she creates in her abstract works through careful blending and organic shapes have the cotton-candy quality of romantic and impressionist painters like Turner and Monet. The most striking thing about her murals, are the colours and painstaking blending she uses, almost like marble with veins of gold. The patterns in her work take inspiration from meticulous and elegant art forms like East-Asian painting and Islamic architecture and motifs. Her murals have a sense of playfulness, but tempered with refined technique and a knack for contrasting styles and colour schemes; a mix of childlike wonder and mature execution.
Kanak has painted live for Sula fest, Ballard Estate festival, and in GVK International Airport; her artwork was even part of the biggest Marvel fan event for Avengers: Endgame.
Kanak is a consultant with Asian Paints, and has helped them create textures for the last 4 years, and she is the only Indian brand ambassador for an Italian paint company called Novacolor.
“Every canvas is a journey all its own.” – Helen Frankenthaler
When are you painting your first canvas?
Let us know in the comments below what your thoughts on murals are, and don’t forget to tag the artists and @skyshot.in on instagram if you try your own hand at mural painting!
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Sambhavi Sinha, Content Writer at Skyshot Media.
Anubhav Gaur, Founder, Skyshot Media