Today we’d like to introduce you to Priyanka Ram.
Priyanka, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am an artist deeply situated in a type of social writing, painting, and community-based music practice. I’m aiming to do these things in my art practice under a type of business model, one which utilizes my 15 years of experience as a writer in marketing and advertising. This model seems to be able to bring together a lot of distinct experiences, interests, and pursuits under something cohesive and directive.
The impetus of all this was my background as an advertising copywriter for over 10 years before entering grad school at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. So in essence, before learning to think culture apart, critically, I was in the mode of creating the landscapes of advertising and entertainment and have been thoroughly trained to think on brands, messages, commerce, demographics, communities, identities, etc.
Since then my main mission is to bring colorful and abstract “contemplative frames” for the mind and body spaces through painting and music. Hopefully, it’s peaceful and interesting and does the objective of letting an eye/ear/body wander around.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No! It has been one of the most strange and difficult paths I never expected to take. Part of it was a lot of life circumstances that forced me to take stock of my peace, priorities, and interests. Grad school really helped me break apart and define these circumstances. And since grad school I really made it a point to listen to myself and trust the awkward and seemingly detoured paths.
In terms of advice all I can offer is: listen to your own timeline and pace and figure out what you need under your specific circumstances. And baby steps somehow lead to a pretty solid path and swift gait over time. So I guess, “trust time” and don’t worry about taking it slow is my ultimate advice, including to myself, everyday. It’s taken me 16 years since graduating from undergrad to see things slowly stitch together and it’s mostly come from unexpected and unplanned places.
Please tell us more about your artwork, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m an artist in 2019 America running a business while trying to contribute to the culture, the art world, and music communities. I am attempting to do this through a lens of social and domestic interiors and exteriors. I do this through my abstract paintings as well as the musical modes I compose. My music has been shared in community spaces and I make abstract paintings on commission building on landscape painting and color theory philosophies from my painting practice.
The more recent collaborative commissions have been a real eye-opener in my art practice and has opened up spaces of trust and conversation with clients I never expected. I have done pieces for both people’s homes and offices and work with interior designers. The really wonderful thing is that this process has shown up as social/relational practice when it comes to a part of my painting practice and adds another element of excitement, which I hadn’t expected.
Since my work is heavily concerned with the digital and the internet I continue to work as a freelance advertising copywriter to keep an eye and ear in digital spaces and technologies and to feel informed and inspired by the reality of our commerce world.
I also have a long term plan for an alternative category generative e-zine named Tomato Babies, which hopefully is an archive of useful information in helpful categories like Alt Economics or Alt Medicine. I’m also currently working on a book manuscript about spirituality and technology with a mentor who is thankfully guiding me and holding me accountable in what otherwise feels like a daunting process.
I do all of this under a corporation, Priyanka Ram Co., to maintain a sense of flexibility and independence. A long term plan is to possibly turn this more into an arts & culture non-profit to share public projects, the e-zine, as well as music with greater ease. I can honestly say I am at the beginning of seeing all this possibly come together so wish me luck.
Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
Lots of things I think have been leading up to all this. Part of it is growing up in India from the ages of 3 to 8 and seeing all the color and being influenced by a lot of performance arts culture and eastern spirituality. As well, I faced a strange childhood growing up and I think trying to get out of all that really helped me focus on what’s right and good from moment to moment, which happens to be pursuing the path of color and sound for me.
- Oil paintings on commission for Home or Office: $300 – $5,000 from 8″×8″(in) to 5’x5′(ft)
- Color & Sound Portraits (a color/sound wheel that reflects one’s birthday+birth location as well as personal musical mode): $250 each w/ pricing for group and family portraits available.
- Website: www.priyankaram.com
Shiloh Cinquemani, Priyanka Ram