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Meet muralist Janani Madushika

By Nuskiya Nasar

Muralists are one-of-a-kind artists who are beyond talented. Not only are they great at painting, but they are also extremely creative. Here is one such talented muralist we interviewed for The Sunday Morning Happinez.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I prefer to introduce myself as an aesthete who seeks beauty in this world. Although I am a software engineering graduate and I’ve spent my career as a software engineer, I’ve always wanted to shift to a life of art. It is the profession that I love and I find so much enjoyment in being creative. I believe that I’m blessed with artistic ability.

Tell us about the jobs you have done other than being an artist or muralist?

Mainly I’ve engaged in two different professions. I started my career as a software intern. In the past few years, I’ve been working as a senior digital marketing executive and a senior software engineer.

How did you transition from a career in software engineering to one in art? What prompted this change?

Looking back, it makes me happy to see my career growth. However, even during my childhood, I always dreamed of being an inspiring artist. As I matured, I felt that my inner mind didn’t want to settle as a software engineer. I felt that my soul was unhappy about not doing what it craved. Although I was successfully climbing the ladder as a software engineer, my passion never failed to push me to the place where I chose art over technology. In the last year, I’ve realised that the time has come to transition. 

What were some challenges you faced during this transition?

I had to face many challenges during this transition. One of the major challenges that I faced was battling with my own mind. I had to convince myself that I’m making the correct choice. Another challenge was to convince my parents to agree with my decision, where I chose passion over profession.

I had a permanent income with decent money each month. When I look back, I’m happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone and followed my passion. I don’t have any regrets because I’m doing what I love.

What art do you most identify with?

I am passionate about all forms of visual art but I think I most identify with mixed media and theme-based art. I’m into fantasy art and people call me a fantasy concept artist and a muralist. Recently I did a project under the concept of living paint which is called a human canvas. I used one of my sisters as my subject. It has gone viral.

How long does painting a mural take?

It depends on the scope of the project and the complexity of the mural. If it is an outdoor mural, it will usually take around 1-2 weeks to complete depending on the weather. Interior murals take about a week to complete.

Tell us about the venues for your murals. 

I started my mural journey by painting my own bedroom wall. When it comes to commercial murals, I began my journey on the wall of Cafe The Vibe, Kandy. Thanks to them, I’ve gained the confidence that I need to do this as a profession. I’ve done murals in some Java Lounge branches, Cloud 9 Cafe, Bed Box Dambulla, and some residential properties. Creating murals is an awesome experience that builds skill, knowledge, and confidence.

Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” What’s your take on this?

As Pablo Picasso said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” I completely agree. That is a great purpose, which has only been pursued through art. Living without art would be really tasteless and colourless. Human existence is not just about our physical reality. It has an emotional reality and an aesthetic aspect, without which living would be nothing more than a dull and insipid journey towards nowhere. It is also through art that human beings get the opportunity to express themselves. Art is like a door toward the outer world. Through this door, human feelings, emotions, and thoughts flow outward.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to all aspiring muralists out there?

Trust yourself, you’ll know when the work is right. Don’t depend on other people’s affirmations and rejections. Try and balance your passion with getting some kind of income. And don’t expect it all to happen at once; go for the long game. Most of all, be patient with yourself and just keep going.