Gitanjali Sukumar, aka Lotta Farber, is an artist, illustrator, designer and art photographer working from anywhere and everywhere there is inspiration and a good hot chocolate. She has to her credit several solo and group exhibitions between Sydney and Bangalore along with illustrated children’s and coffee-table books that are currently being sold around the world. Her works are always full of life, colour and reflect her positive energy. She loves to explore her adventurous and playful side through themes of nature and animals. Here’s an exclusive Paintcollar interview of this talented young artist!
How did your artistic journey begin? When did you know for sure that you wanted to be an artist?
I was really young, around 2 or 3 when I realized the one thing that kept me happy was a bunch of colour sticks on a piece of paper. This love for art only grew stronger… I found I loved biology (because of the drawings we got to do of various flora & fauna, not to forget my love for animals) and art class of course. By the time I got to year 7 I decided art was what I really wanted to work on, pursue and explore. I’ve never looked back since.
Have you received any formal education in art?
I did 2 years of foundation in art at Chitrakala Parishat in Bangalore. I then went on to do my Bachelors in Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales, College of Fine Arts – Sydney.
Are you currently a freelance artist or do you also have a day job?
I currently freelance… or rather, I work fulltime under my own label ‘Lotta Farber Design Studio’ which covers most aspects of design solutions such as logo and template design, textile prints, book illustrations, packaging, jewellery design, stationary design, patterns, wallpapers and more.
You sell your art name under the moniker ‘Lotta Farber’. What’s the story behind that?
I was beginning to illustrate for children’s books and I found that more kids (abroad, where my books are being sold) always learnt the title of the book, author and illustrator. While it came to the latter, they could barely pronounce my name.. So I thought it would be fit to come up with something fun, easy to pronounce and easy for the kids to remember as well. Lotta Farber basically is a loose translation for Lots of Colours. Lotta – slang for lots of. Farber – colours in German. And Lotta Farber was born 🙂
What subject matter do you most commonly draw inspiration from?
A majority of my work’s inspiration comes from nature. Most of my pieces are critter-themed, mirroring my love for animals of all kind.
Can you give us a quick look into Lotta Farber’s creative process, from idea to finished product?
An ideal day/project starts with a storyboard, depending on a client brief or, if i’m working on my art – a concept. Concept ideation is put down on my sketch pad and I try and come up with 2 or 3 solid ‘stories’ that I want to work with. I then develop on these stories to come up with my final piece of work.
Especially with my art, the theme always revolves around something that has inspired me. For example, I have an entire series of paintings influenced from my trips to the sea side and snorkelling adventures. Another series I worked on was solely based on the peacock and its colours and feathers and features and its influence in history.
What media do you usually work with?
I primarily work with oils and acrylics although lately i’ve been exploring a lot of mixed-media as well. I’ve also been work on a bit of digital art, and they are all based on my original drawings that I work on initally, then play with photoshop and such and create my digital works.
Do you have a favourite colour?
I love colours! All colours! Its a terribly difficult choice to love one one colour… Sometimes they vary on different days according to my moods but its impossible to pick just one 🙂
Having studied art outside India, do you feel that they are any significant differences between how society embraces and interprets art in India and abroad?
13 years ago, when I started my art course here in Bangalore, I felt a bit oppressed. I felt I wasn’t pushing my boundaries enough and facilities here weren’t helping me expand my boundaries either. I wasn’t exposed to the digital side of art at all, it was mostly hand work and working on the same themes (facial portraits, pots & pans for still life and such). Doing the course at UNSW College of Fine Arts was a whole different experience… and one that was everything and more I needed to get out of my comfort zone. The possibilities they offered were so vast, initially I was overwhelmed by it. I couldn’t be happier that I chose to do my Bachelors in Fine Arts there though.. I felt like I had rediscovered my skills and love for art there.
Are you working on anything special right now?
I’m currently working on exploring and merging my fine art with my illustrations. I’m still exploring but I’m liking how its turning out! Hopefully, you will be able to see that with some of my recent work that will be up on paintcollar.com shortly 🙂
If you could work on a dream project, what would it be?
One of my dream projects is to be able to work on creating amazing textile prints for the big names in fashion. My art on their clothes would be opening up a whole new door of pushing my creative boundaries further.