Art & Design blog: Drawing and illustration
Rajesh Soni is an Indian artist living in Udaipur, Rajasthan where he manages Gallery One. He is well known for his hand painted digital photographs, sketching and drawing. Rajesh is the son of artist Lalit Soni and the grandson of Prabhu Lal Soni, who was once court photographer to the Maharana Sir Bhopal Singh of Mewar. The skills of hand-coloring photographs were passed down to Rajesh through the intermediary of his father.
Rajesh has also collaborated on various creative projects with American photographer and writer Waswo X. Waswo since 2007. Their joint work featured in the exhibition ‘A Studio in Rajasthan’ which toured India and led to further exhibitions throughout Europe. Their next joint exhibition, organised by Tasveer Gallery, is titled ‘Photowallah’ and opens on 8th October at Exhibition 320, Delhi.
At what age did you start to take an interest in the field you work in?
Since the age of 12 I have been interested in art because I saw my father panting. He was my first teacher.
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
I am so happy and lucky that I chose art in my life. I have been showing my work in countries including Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland. In India I got the chance to work with Waswo X. Waswo who is an American photographer living in Udaipur for the past 12 years. I work as a hand colourist for his black and white photos.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?
It’s not easy being an artist and it’s not easy to find honest people who will support your work.
What are your top three favourite songs?
‘Beautiful’ by James Blunt, ‘Lean On’ ft. MO by Major Lazer & DJ Snake and ‘Anga La De’ from the Bollywood movie Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela.
What is your favourite art gallery and why?
I love my own art gallery, Gallery One Udaipur because each work is unique and different.
Have you got any exciting projects coming up in the near future?
I am working on photoshoots about the lives of women and their amazing support.
If you weren’t an artist what other career would you have chosen?
What advice would you give to younger people who want to work in the creative industry?
Be happy and enjoy the moment. Don’t run after things!
To see more of Rajesh Soni’s work, please visit his Instagram account; rajeshsoniudaipur
XETH: At what age did you start to take an interest in the field you work in?
HJ: If you ask anyone in animation how long they’ve been into animation, they’ll pretty much always tell you that it’s since they can remember, and I’m no exception. I’ve always just loved drawing and loved watching cartoons. I was really into Garfield comics and Asterix and Oblix. The whole language of comics appealed to me so much…telling little stories through a series of pictures. I loved writing stories and loved drawing so it was a very natural progression into animation for me. I was definitely a fairly odd and obsessive little kid, so I think the process of animation really appealed to me – and still does.
X: What’s your proudest achievement so far?
HJ: I think making the list of one of Vimeo’s best vids of 2015. And more recently having a film accepted to Annecy Film Festival. It’s been an aim of mine to go there for so many years, let alone have something of mine screened there.
X: What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?
HJ: For me personally, it’s working alone and at a computer for the majority of projects I work on. And the sheer volume of hours that goes into making an animation. It really is all consuming and can start to drive you a little mad after a while! It’s kind of this really weird self torture you put yourself through, drawing 24 drawings for each second…but then seeing something you’ve created come to life is incredibly rewarding. Even if it did cost you your sanity and 6 months of your life!But I definitely work best bouncing ideas around with someone else and as cheesy as it sounds I always find so much inspiration in other creative people when I do get to collaborate with others in my field. So I think I’d like a little more of this going on.
X: What are your top three favourite songs?
HJ: Wow, that’s such a hard question! And I’m not sure I can answer it. But three songs that I love and are often found blasting out of my speakers are ‘This must be the Place’ by Talking Heads, ‘You Can Call me Al’ by Paul Simon and ‘Poem On The Underground Wall’ by Simon and Garfunkel. I don’t think those are very ‘cool’ choices though…sorry.
X: What is your favourite London gallery and why?
HJ: I have to be honest and say I’m actually a terrible creative person in that I rarely go to galleries and exhibitions – but that’s mostly due to lack of time rather than out of choice. I’ve always loved the Hayward Gallery because they have brilliant exhibitions on and I have such fond memories of going there when I was little with my mum. I also absolutely love the Wellcome Collection as you just can’t fail to feel inspired after a visit there. On the whole I probably spend more time in museums over galleries…I find them so inspiring. The Grant Museum of Zoology is a particular favourite….creepy things in jars and skeletons of animals draped around… there are endless things to draw in there. Also a great place for a first date…
X: Name three creatives who have inspired you over the past 10 years?
HJ: Allison Schulnik, Michel Gondry and Matt Groening
X: Have you got any exciting projects coming up in the near future?
HJ: I’m currently working on another video for The School Of Life and developing a new kids cartoon for the BBC with one of my best buddies who is a writer, which is an absolute dream come true for me! It’s early days but still very exciting.
X: If you weren’t an animator/illustrator what other career would you have chosen?
HJ: Dog Farmer
X: What advice would you give to younger people who want to work in the creative industry?
HJ: My advice would be, stay true to your creative instincts and have conviction in what you’re doing. It can be a tough industry and I know it’s a bit of a cliché but I do genuinely feel that if you’re enjoying what you’re doing that is reflected in the work and other people tend to enjoy that too.