Call it paint wizardry. From stroking forth a minuscule panda eating a pizza on a one-and-a-half inch ‘canvas’—the shoes of a six-month-old—to match with a replica on his dad’s footwear; to painting a skateboard duo in sorbet hues for a mother and daughter. Or, spray painting wooden crates in ghetto style art for actor Sonam K Ahuja, and a funky ‘Birthday King’ splash-out on Saif Ali Khan’s son Ebrahim Khan’s distressed denim jacket that he wore on his birthday recently—it is a fun, fabulous palette that underlines Mumbai-based creative artist, Kanika Ranka’s colourful streak.
Her five-year-old baby—The Studio Project—is a design firm that conjures wearable art, surface no bar. Yes, from designer bags to shoes to clothes, and everything in between, this graduate from the Art Institute of Chicago can truly paint on most anything. How does it work? “All you have to do is give me the item you want to personalise,” she says.
“I chat at length to grasp the personality of the person for whom the item is intended. Whether there is love for a cartoon character or a passion for travel, I grasp the essence of the persona, as my artwork must reflect the personality of the person who will use it eventually. I create multiple digital layouts to tweak and finalise the visual with the client,” says Kanika, who imports her paints from the US.
She begins by cleaning the surface, bringing in multiple layers of colours, and varnish for a dust proof and water-resistant complexion. “Maintenance of your precious piece then requires only a gentle dab with a soft, damp cloth, if you desire,” she says.It is her fine detailing and dexterity that won the attention of Nita Ambani for the weddings in the Ambani family. “I painted 40 white leather trays in two days. They were to work as gift carriers, had to be identical, and in keeping with the wedding theme that circled in pastels—tiny pink flowers in bloom. I remember staying awake for 48 hours at a stretch, working till the delivery was finally wrapped up,” she recalls.