Shamanthi Rajasingham


Artist & Illustrator

Favourite song being played on repeat: Animus Vox by the Glitch Mob

How’d you get started as an artist/illustrator?   

I started out by maintaining an online portfolio, creating my own projects and posting them on social media. This gave my work some good exposure and attracted several freelance projects. Participating in a mural-painting project at an art market helped me get into freelance mural painting too. 

Illustrating for print was something I had always wanted to do and I was lucky enough to have a friend recommend my work to an editor at Penguin Random House, as well as to an art director at a literary and cultural magazine. Creating book cover and editorial illustrations for them has been extremely rewarding.  

Submitting my work to competitions was also part of getting started as a creative. After moving to Sydney last year, having my logo design selected for the UNSW Art & Design Annual 18 helped give my work exposure in a new city.  

What inspires your work and what themes do you like to explore?  

I enjoy exploring psychological themes in my work, and lately this has extended to technology and how we relate to it. I worked with this theme in an Artsweek mural last year, which was a playful look at how we move through space in our digital bubbles. Inspired by the focus on ecology that I’ve observed in Australia since I arrived here, I’ve also explored ecological themes in my work. A recent project I was involved in was a collaborative mural on campus, which aims to raise awareness about the relationship between climate change and the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.  

You’ve created works in a few different mediums – which one do you like the most? 

Pen and ink is the medium I’m the most comfortable with, and is the starting point for a lot of my work. But I’m also exploring other media, and acrylics and intaglio etching have become strong contenders!  

Favourite project that you’ve worked on so far? Why? 

My favourite personal project was a set of 31 ‘yoga animals’ – illustrations of animals doing the yoga poses they were named after. I practice yoga, and creating these illustrations was a way of paying homage to something that kept me mindful and capable of creativity, in a light-hearted way. It’s my favourite project because the series started out as a fun exercise, completely self-initiated, but received such a positive response that I was invited to exhibit them, and eventually sell prints and printed products featuring the drawings.  

What does the future hold for you? Do you have any special projects you’re excited about?  

Two illustration projects I worked on were released recently, and I’m excited to see how they are received. One of them is a set of book cover illustrations for Penguin, for a three-part translation of an Indian epic called the Bhagavata Purana. The other is a set of illustrations for a personal finance app here in Sydney. They’re both very different from each other and have allowed me to extend myself in different ways.  

Got anything you just want to share with the world? (E.g. random shower thoughts, something deep or even a quick ramble)  

Being creative can sometimes look effortless, but really involves a lot of hard work and practice. Deciding to draw something every day for a month helped me get into (and stay in) a creative mindset, and the effect spilled over into the other projects I worked on that year too.

Can't Get Enough?

More Artists