Illustrator Sanjay Patel has been getting a fair amount of cyber-attention of late. Earlier this year saw the release of his acclaimed book Ramayana: Divine Loophole – which graphically recounts the legendary Hindu epic.
Random factoid: Sanjay spent his formative years in a motel run by his Indian-born parents in San Bernadino, off Route 66. Specific factoid: These days he works as an animator at Pixar Studios. I hit Sanjay up to provide some further randomly specific insights from his latest book. He started out by highlighting that the Ramayana is, in fact, all about random meetings and chance encounters surrounding specific quests and heroic pursuits.
“In the spread called Family Tree I wanted to capture that randomness as Rama is introduced to the monkey and bear tribes. I was keen for it to look like abstract jungle wallpaper. The imagery owes a lot to inspiration from the late modernist Charley Harper.”
“Later on in the next spread, Search for Sita, the bears and monkeys are on the hunt for a specific person. That person of course is the princess Sita. Rama’s mission to find Sita brings order and focus to the chaos of the jungle.”
In the quest for Sita, Rama gets help from the likes of Hanuman and other cooperative characters while surmounting challenges from a slew of villainous types. Sanjay’s version leaps off the page in vivid drama and whimsical charm. Check out his interview with the good folks over at Grain Edit and Sanjay’s own site Ghee Happy. If you’re keen to get your hands on a copy of one of his covetable volumes – you can find them in the jungles of Amazon.
Backstory: My email exchange with Sanjay began with a humble note from my end letting him know that stationery had been misspelt on his website as stationary. This post has been brought to you by the letter E.
Overlap: Intersections of Desi + Diasporic
[All images by Sanjay Patel – in case you haven’t been paying attention]