Maheswari Janarthanan

Maheswari Janarthanan

San Diego-based artist and illustrator, Maheswari Janarthanan grew up with a penchant for drawing. It was one of the only activities she enjoyed in school. So she went on to study Visual Communication and worked as a graphic designer. A few years into her job, she realised her true calling was illustration. Then, there was absolutely no looking back from. She quit her job and started working as a freelance artist. 

Below, Maheswari tells us all about her practice, her ceramic series and more.

The Practice
I don’t know how to explain it, but I create things, whether it is painting, pottery or any kind of art, because I love it. It makes me so happy when I create a piece, especially a ceramic one. People have asked me the meaning of a painting and I would say I don't know, I just created it because I was drawn to certain elements and colours.

Maheswari Janarthanan

The Process
I am not a very organised person. I don't always have initial drawings before working on a piece. Sometimes I do, but most of the time, it is spontaneous. I will be working on a piece and suddenly I will get an idea or inspiration to create something else.

Functionality versus Aesthetic
I don't find it difficult to make primitive folk art style functional. Whether it is painting, pottery or fabric art, I try to bring in my style. Even when I am decorating my apartment, I try to bring in elements like thrifted and antique items. I think they bring so much character and beauty to a space.

The Pandemic and Beyond
Initially it was difficult because of the uncertainty of what is going to happen, but I think we all are learning to adapt to things and changes as we move on. Right now, I am working on ornaments, candle-holders, et cetera, for the holidays. Next project would be something to do with fabric. I am planning to buy a tapestry loom and learning how to weave small rugs.

Text Unnati Saini
Date 14-10-2021