Art

feature: mokshini – the drawings of fashion illustrator nadeesha godamunne

March 4, 2015

My name is Nadeesha Godamunne, and I’m a fashion illustrator from New Zealand now residing in Brooklyn, New York. Ever since I could pick up a pencil, I drew. For me, it was the quickest way of communicating. I was privileged enough to have parents that nurtured drawing, and placed equal value in the arts as arithmetic or English. Growing up drawing was my escape; I drew any chance I could. In high school I excelled in the arts, taking every art course imaginable including graphic design, art design and painting, however, never at any point did I consider drawing to be a viable career path.

By Nadeesha Godamunne, AFROPUNK Contributor

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I pursued fashion design for my Bachelors in University but came back full circle, completing my Masters in illustration in 2010. I couldn’t den­­y my love for drawing. After completing a degree in fashion, my illustrations naturally embodied a fashion flair, however, I wanted to push beyond the ‘pretty pictures’ fashion illustration was commonly associated with; I wanted to break its aesthetic boundaries. 

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Never did I didn’t respond to the ‘perfect’, refined sketch of a model; that was exactly what I wanted to stay away from. I intended my drawings to capture something raw, more pure. The process was vigorous; I found myself questioning what I wanted to say with my work, and what my style was for that matter. I researched beyond the obvious masters of traditional fashion illustration, like Rene Gruau and Kenneth Paul Block. I looked into satirical caricaturists from the 18th/19th century including James Gillray and William Hogarth; old school artists such as Egon Schiele; and more contemporary fashion illustrators like Jean Philippe Delhomme, Julie Verhoeven and Gladys Perint Palmer. I studied not only their methodologies and technical process, but their thought process. I drew upon Schiele’s line quality, Palmer’s humor, Verhoeven’s use of color, and Gillray’s use of context and composition. I realized that forcing a style shouldn’t be my concern; that would come organically. It was about producing, reflecting, and then repeating. 

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I would pin up my work and reflect by writing notes all over them. I was able to build connections doing this, and hundreds of drawings later I had an epiphany; my work was all about character, the person behind the clothes. Idiosyncrasies were enhanced to instil a sense of wit and humor, and their garments, demeanor, and expressions became extensions of their personalities.

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Upon arrival in New York two years ago, I was blown away by the copious amounts inspiration; the people I could capture! The streets became my hub for visual stimulation. Encounters with eccentric personalities and hearing their stories sparked the birth of my blog, ‘Mokshini’. Here, I illustrate the whimsical characters I meet, and depict a strong sense of their identity and essence on paper. My body of work sits in stark contrast to the emotionless, gaunt, airbrushed models used to present garments today. It instead draws on diversity, capturing ‘real’ people in all their glory. It is how I keep my work honest and relatable, how I tell a garment’s story, but above all, how I challenge fashion illustration.

Mokshini’s ultimate goal and purpose is to inspire and challenge ideals, whilst aiding fashion illustration’s resurgence. I continue to believe that fashion illustration has relevance today, because our technologically driven culture has left us craving a connection with the maker. It is an art form in its own right, and more and more people are appreciating it once again. 

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http://mokshini.com

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