Finding his niche in digital artView(s):
Digital artist Prabath Wijayantha speaks to the Mirror Magazine on his work and why the inspiration he draws from comics plays a big part
Prabath Wijayantha was into comic books long before he began illustrating them. “I love comic books. Always have. ..Of course it was a childhood ambition back then, but even then it was a very successful form of visual art and it was clear that comics would be a great starting off point for a career. Add that to my love for the medium and that was it really.” With the instinct of a born story teller, Prabath has an imagination that won’t be contained – he has since branched out into different forms of digital art, creating dramatic alien landscapes and eerie hybrid creatures.
Some 50 individual pieces will be on display at ‘Legacy’, the digital artist’s first exhibition in 8 years. After having done two in quick succession in 2004 and 2005 at the National Gallery, he decided to sit back and let his audience catch up with him. Prabath didn’t think people were open to digital art then. “Nowadays, I feel it is better received than a decade ago. More people are aware of the medium and it is not seen merely as a gimmick by as many folks.”
Prabath works hard to ensure his work is original and inventive. “I would say the drive to set my work apart from what else is out there and to try and make it look not merely appealing, but unique, that I think is my greatest source of inspiration,” he says, adding that it can be a fine line between being different and just plain bizarre. “The trick is to leave enough of the real world in it so that the audience can connect to it.”
Among his best work, Prabath counts the illustration for ‘Armour of Light,’ which he drew for Liquid Comics. As someone new to the business he found himself in charge of creating the element he had most enjoyed about comics – the artwork. “The art has always been the main selling point for me,” he says. Working with a script proved an interesting experience – sometimes one would be limiting, when another simply had the visuals popping up whole in his mind.
“The point is that being a good artist is not enough; you have to be a storyteller too… So you got to think more on the lines of a cinematographer or a director, because you are the one creating the scene from several lines of dialogues.” Currently he’s “slavishly” following the batman run by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. (“It has been just this insane roller coaster ride with some incredible writing and fabulous art”), All New X-men and the Indestructible Hulk. The last he’d buy just for the dialogue alone – “It’s that good.”
While he’d be the first to admit that recognition for local digital artists is hard to come by, outside Sri Lanka it’s a viable career. “Every time you watch a blockbuster, or play the latest next gen platform game, you know there’s an incredibly talented group of artists behind it,” he points out.
For many artists, traditional and digital art have begun to merge – someone might begin a sketch on a piece of paper and complete it on the computer.
Prabath argues that whichever medium they’re working in, an artist must still possess creativity and talent, making both pieces of equal value. He just wishes the public would see it that way.
‘Legacy’ is open to the public and will showcase both Prabath’s digital and traditional art, alongside his first ever short animation project “The Lost Lights.” The show will take place on May 10 and 11 at the University of Colombo Gymnasium from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Prabath will also conduct a workshop on both days from 3pm – 5:30pm titled ‘Demystifying the Digital’. It is open to all. Find Prabath online at http://daysoframpage.daportfolio.com/
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