Hi everyone, my name is Mohan Ballard, and I'm a practising Illustrator/Freelance artist who produces commissions of city scenes and just general wonders of colour!
What inspired you to become an artist?
Ever since an early age in school, all I've ever wanted to pursue was a career in the arts. Throughout my whole academic life, most of my courses and qualifications I have achieved have been in an Art form. I used to, and still do, love Animation and Cartoons. Like most kids, every Saturday morning I'd wake up and watch the early cartoons. I also loved visiting Art Galleries, with the National Gallery one of my most favourite places in the world. With this love of art came the need to draw absolutely anything and everything!. I used to start out copying portraits from books, and I also loved to draw characters such as the Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog. It was when I finished school I decided to take art all the way, completing numerous college courses to do with Art and Design, and then onto my Illustration Degree which I took at Southampton Solent University. Since then I have been signed up by a Gallery in East London who sell and promote my work, and I have also been fortunate enough to receive many commissions for private work and also commercial, such as producing a painting for the Mr Men and Little Miss 40th Anniversary in 2011.
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What design tools do you use?
I am quite traditionalist when it comes to my tools and how I produce my art. I predominantly use Acrylic Paints. I first draw my intended piece onto specialist thick grade art paper. Then when this is finished, I proceed with the process of painting the piece. When the whole painting is finished, I then scan the painting into Photoshop using an A3 scanner, which I can tell you proves difficult as I produce large paintings!. So I scan the painting in 6 parts, and then 'stitch' the image together in Photoshop. I then add only slight, small changes like light and tonal differences. Everything else is kept the same.
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What is your ideal work environment?
My ideal work environment is my home studio which consist of two desks and all my materials and supplies around me. Depending on my mood, I'll either put one of my favourite TV programmes on in the background, or sometimes I love to paint in silence as its so therapeutic. Music is also a great addition to working. I have a lot of window space in my room, so the natural light is also a great tool for painting. And a nice cup of tea rounds off the perfect environment to work in ! :-).
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I have always taken inspiration from Childrens books. My work is based on colour, and Childrens books are always filled with vibrant and bold colours. It was during my University years that I dsicovered my style, and this was also in part to one of my course leaders, Jonny Hannah. He is a screen printer who uses lots of colour as well. His work is absolutely fantastic and to this day I still count him as a big inspiration for me. I also love the old style American posters from the 1920's. For example, old style signs in classic American Gas Stations really inspire me. I love the vintage look. If you look at some of my work, you can see homages to these with signs such as Coca Cola, Sprite and Jax. I also take as much inspiration from the around the world as anything, so if I see something I like, I'll often take a photo of it.
Who is the person you admire most?
I love the work of L.S Lowry. I have often been told my work has a similar feel to it, and this makes me feel immensely proud. Even though his work didn't include much colour, he still packed his work full of people and little events happening all over the image. As I said earlier as well, I am huge fan of Jonny Hannah. His work is so colourful, bright and bold. He infuses colour with elements such as Jazz music and makes them fit seamlessly.