HYDERABAD: In this day and age of rat races, a person who followed their passion to be an artist and is thriving in the unconventional career may come as a surprise. But a small chat with Sri Priyatham, a digital artist from Hyderabad, proves that all it takes is hard work, perseverance and a little strategy to make the most of your passion. What started as a deep-rooted interest, then turned into a livelihood for this youngster and how! From commissioning portraits to now organising nation-wide art workshops, Sri Priyatham has come a long way.
How it all started
"I was six or seven when I realised my interest in drawing. I used to get beaten up for doodling Pokemon in my notebooks back then, “Priyatham chuckles adding, “By the time I was in 10th I knew this is what I wanted to do in life," shares Priyatham. As he couldn't find courses corresponding to his interests he pursued commerce in his 11th and 12th after which he joined the Bachelors for Fine Arts at JNTU. He narrates, "I joined the course during the Telangana agitation and so I barely got to extract anything from the course. I practised and honed my skills by following over 2000 to 3000 artists online and learning from them as I go.” Known for his stylised pin-up style portraits, Priyatham gathers inspiration from Disney and Warner Brothers.
Before he even made plans for the future, Sri Priyatham got his first gig at 18. “One of my friends asked me for a commissioned portrait. By then I did not even know that çommissioned portraits ‘were called that. I was clueless as to how much to charge as well. But since then there has been no looking back,” says Priyatham with a smile.
The big break
Priyatham’s first big project when an autograph collector, Shanker approached him for portraits of the Indian Cricket Team and the England team for him to get autographs on. “That was a big boost, as my work was exposed to cricketing biggies and Shanker too promoted me through that a lot. After that I also worked for a season of IPL, “he says. And as word of mouth went on, Priyatham found a footing as one of the most sought-after artists in the city. Not very long after that, the 26-year-old, who’s work goes by Pencils and Digitals - Art of Priyatham went international. The headquarters of Microsoft and NASSCOMM in the USA flaunts the youngsters artworks. He credits social media for the success. “Ï work from home - from my room. And all my work is online on my social media and social media has been quite beneficial for me. Both to promote my work and to connect with artists around the world, “he says. And without an office to head to every morning, Priyatham admits that it’s his passion for the art that motivates him to keep going.
A solid support system
Sri Priyatham’s choice of profession is what typically would be a nightmare for any middle class parent. But the artist feels that he has been privileged to have parents who believe in him enough for him to follow his passion. “My parents have been very supportive. In fact my father is a staunch believer in dignity of labour. Even when I wasn’t a great student at school, he would only say, ‘it’s ok even if you end up being a mechanic as long as you do that right’,” quips.
Sharing the love
Taking the suggestion of the many people who told him to share what he knows to other upcoming artists, Priyatham recently began his own series of workshops called The Art Factory. “The Art Factory is meant for artists to share ideas and to build a collaborative space for art here in Hyderabad, “he says adding, “I also plan on taking these workshops to Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. The process is going on and it will happen soon.” Priyatham has even bigger plans for the future. “My aim is to tie up with international artists to build coworking spaces in the long term. I also plan on launching one-on-one online course where I would be tutoring besides a full-fledged art tutorial channel on Youtube,” he concludes.