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Posted on 30th SEPTEMBER 2019 by eric team

‘New Creatives on the Block’ was a series curated for the ERIC Fest: Storytelling. Young illustrator, Aasiya Merali, asked senior illustrator, MURUGIAH her burning questions. Here are the answers…

1) How did you find your personal/unique style, and with so many existing artists and illustrators, was it difficult to assert your individuality?

I started by looking at the things I was interested in from my own life, science fiction movies, surreal art and films, counter culture, floral and fauna and my Sri Lankan roots. I really looked deep into my own interests within the things I just mentioned and started from there. I didn’t really look to style, I just drew the way I drew in my sketchbook, focusing on a drawing technique that felt natural to me, physically, you know the act of putting lines on paper or paint on canvas. Over time (4-5 years) of working this way I found that the quote on quote ’Style’ came through. 

With regards to the so many artists and illustrators out there, it is tough, with Instagram and other social media outlets, not to compare yourself with others. I still do it sometimes. But if I have learnt anything regarding this it would be to focus on your own work and if you are going to look at other artists and artwork, look to the ones of old. Go deep into researching artists from the 1500’s then grab some inspiration from comic books then grab some inspiration from artist you like from the 60s then grab some inspiration from artist you like today. Then the most important thing to do is to throw all of that inspiration to a mixing pot, mix it all together and see what comes out! 

2. Have you ever had to compromise on your vision/ideas in order to satisfy a client, and how do you navigate this whilst staying true to your art and creativity?

Yes, all the time! I think this is inevitable when one is starting out! I had to deal with it recently actually. The best way to look at this situation is that if you are unhappy with the way a project has gone and you had to compromise on your vision, you are still being paid for the job which means money in the bank, you are running a business after all. You don’t have to show the work to anyone. I know it can be annoying when you spend three weeks doing work you will never want to show to anyone but it's an experience that you can learn from for next time. There will always be a mix of jobs where the art direction is too heavy or you're left free to do whatever you want. The goal is balance. Eventually over time once you build a strong folio of work that you are super proud of, your clients will come to you and ask you for your own vision and ideas. Those ideas will be the leading ones, this is where that balance sways into confidence. 

3. Do you think that working with quite rigid/specific briefs is easier than more open ones and why?

I think there are positives and negatives of both the rigid brief and the more open brief. The pros: The rigid brief helps you understand working to tight parameters. It's an important lesson in time management and creating simple but powerful ideas. The more open briefs let you explore and grow as an artist. The Cons: The rigid briefs sometimes can be suffocating (but we get paid and we don’t have to show the work once it's done). In a more open brief sometimes one can lose sight of what the idea is and sprawl out with unnecessary work and detail that over complicate the project.

A bit about MURUGIAH…

MURUGIAH was raised in South Wales with Sri Lankan origins and currently resides in London, UK. His art seeks to obtain a lack of boundaries and is characterised by consistent distinct line work, working with inspiration from surrealism, pop culture, and his south asian roots across digital and analog mediums.

A bit about Aasiya…

Aasiya is an 18-year-old London-based visual-artist and is interested in creating work that tells stories and provokes conversations to bring about social change. She is currently studying towards a foundation diploma in Art and Design at City and Guilds of London Art School. 

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