Well into the second year of Covid-19, more and more creatives are coming out of the woodworks, with most of them having lost their steady corporate gigs due to the pandemic.
This week, The Morning Brunch reached out to Randeepa Ranasinghe, who not too long ago was a kitchen artist in Dubai. For nearly eight years, Randeepa worked as an artist creating party decorations, be it for Christmas, Halloween, bar mitzvahs, or New Year’s Eve events – you name it, he has done it. As a kitchen artist, he was responsible for a variety of work such as food sculptures, chocolate carvings, and ice sculptures. However, he said the job description was not limited to food-related sculptures and that they would expand and contribute with whatever background one needed in order to round up the aesthetic of an event.
Despite being steadily employed in what he thought was his life’s calling, as the height of the pandemic hit, his company was forced to let go of their employees, resulting in their creative hires scurrying back to their home countries with no real opportunities left.
Not one to let life’s unfortunate circumstances bring him down, Randeepa decided to put his artistic skills to use and explore the possibility of using his passions and hobbies to generate a revenue stream. And so came along his brand-new art gallery, “Loka Art Gallery”, featuring surrealist artwork speaking of the deeper themes of life; impermanence, being present – all stories told through incredibly detailed graphite pencil drawings.
The artist shared that as someone who has never received any formal training in art, he wished to really throw himself into his work and improve as rapidly as possible to be able to put to paper what’s in his mind. Three months ago, Randeepa had not even attempted graphite pencil artwork, but now he primarily draws stunningly beautiful artwork that looks absolutely unreal.
“I started off as most artists do; I started by using liquid paints and worked my way up to doing complete works of art with pencil because I felt I have to expand my skills and also present something slightly different,” he said.
Randeepa shared that some of his favourite pieces are the ones that require a couple of viewings to truly grasp its meaning. He said that nearly all his artwork embodies deeper meanings, which he has embedded in the lines. He said he hopes they inspire others as much as they have inspired and enriched his life.
When asked if he is for or against explaining the artist’s thinking behind art pieces, Randeepa said he doesn’t fall into either camp, adding that if the customer or viewer requires an explanation, he isn’t against sharing his thoughts. However, it is preferred that the person who is experiencing the art does so by relating to their life’s experiences, making that piece theirs.
The Loka Art Gallery is situated in Pasyala, and Randeepa said he must express his gratitude to his good friend Chathuranga, who is currently residing in Japan and who lent him the shop space to house his gallery, allowing him to create and display his work in the name of friendship. He said he has been fortunate to have the support of those around him to get back on his feet.
The artist said he is somewhat grateful for the circumstances that led him to this juncture in life, as he feels that even if the pandemic clears out and he is once again faced with the opportunity to return to his past occupation, he will not return but will continue down this new path he paved for himself. He said he hopes to expand his gallery and soon include some sculpting as well, stating also that he doesn’t only do his own originals, but will take orders and create works based on what one wants to depict, as well as portraits.
Tel: 0776 078 423
Facebook: Loka Art Gallery