When Greensboro-based artist Raman Bhardwaj was recently asked to transform a huge gym in an Elementary school through mural art, he saw this as an opportunity to inspire the young students.
For this Chandigarh artist, art comes naturally and after having spent most of his time in ‘City Beautiful’, he’s making colourful waves in North Carolina, US. He was born in 1976 and he has spent 40 years of his life in Chandigarh.
The son of a Punjabi writer, Raman was always encouraged to draw since his childhood. And it was only at his suggestion that he went to the Government College of Art in Sector 10 to pursue his BFA degree. He later also pursued an MA in History of Art from Panjab University and owing to his passion for the subject, he emerged as the topper in both places. He started his career as a newspaper illustrator with the Indian Express, Chandigarh in 1997.
Creating Iconic Artwork
Raman’s latest project is sure to inspire us as much as it has the school students, their parents and teachers. In this project, he has painted sports celebrities at a North Carolina school.
The school’s gym has 3 huge walls each of about 18ft high and 50 ft long and two pillars flanking the stage 6ft x18 ft. The walls were bland and the principal of Fairview Elementary school in High Point, North Carolina wanted Raman to add some color. Raman instantly thought of Mohd Ali, his childhood hero and other sports celebrities like Simone Biles, Kobe Bryant, Usain Bolt and Serena Williams to be painted larger than life on these huge walls. His vision was not just to entertain but to inspire and motivate kids with these iconic figures as they walk every day into the school gym.
“Visuals make a great impact on our memory and thoughts,” says Raman. Principal Hege suggested adding a bunch of diverse kids playing different sports on one wall and including football player Christian McCaffery and basketball player Candace Parker in the compositions. The kids can relate to these little players and seek inspiration from the images of the achievers. So, it sounded like a perfect mix.
Once the compositions were designed in photoshop, Raman set on to paint the walls. “You have to plan every step to perfectly scale up your design,” Raman explains.
Using royal purple background and yellow accents from the brand colors of the school, he came up with an interesting play of photorealistic figures and vibrant hues. It took him 35 days working each day for 5 hours to complete all the murals. 4 gallons of latex paint and about 50 spray paint cans went into the production of these photorealistic depictions of sports celebrities who now surround the students in their favorite gyms. Raman affirms that it’s his mission to enhance educational spaces to create a better experience for young scholars.