Charisma Panchapakesan’s collagelike drawings combine subjects and scales to create narratives playful in tone and highly naturalistic in style. Her curious juxtapositions of animals, objects, and spaces are replete with symbolism and metaphor while remaining understandable and familiar. Holding two professional degrees in the field of Architecture, she combines her knowledge of precise technical drawing with a sensitive hand to create relatable works with quiet humour.
What initially drew you to your medium/media of choice?
From my training as an architect, I have learned to use drawing as a tool for communication. Each work begins by organizing the composition, lineweights, and values, and every mark made has a purpose. I enjoy experimenting with lots of different media, but even when I use a paintbrush, I use it as I would a pencil; it is just how I feel most comfortable communicating my ideas.
What aspect of your art do you hope really comes across to your audience?
I try to make art with a narrative that people can connect with. I hope that my audience can enjoy the quiet humor I try to express within my works.
Who inspires you in your life, whether it be artistically or otherwise?
I draw inspiration from many places. My South Asian-Canadian background has influenced my use of wildlife in my works, as animals play such an important role in Indian mythology. As an architect, the urban environment I live in constantly gives me new ideas. Artistically, I am inspired by the paintings from the Renaissance and Baroque eras and the focus towards naturalism in the works. And lastly, I take inspiration from my children and often try to insert elements of play into my pieces.
What keeps you going as an artist? Where do you find that creative drive?
I have made a habit of drawing every day, whether it is for work or pleasure. Sometimes, drawing can be an escape and a way to relax; other times it is a way to feel productive and satisfied. I usually work on many pieces at once and try to move through them quickly so that I can constantly feel challenged.
Tell us about your primary goal for the future. Has this goal changed over time?
When I was starting my artistic career, I spent a lot of time documenting the world around me through my drawings. Today, however, I am less of a passive observer and seek to create my own narratives in my work. I have always endeavored to create art that I find beautiful, both for its own virtue and to enhance the meanings of the stories I try to tell.