SideQuesting is thankful to have ties in the art, music, and design worlds. Each month, we have asked our friends in these industries to recreate our logo in their visions. We think that you’ll enjoy seeing how others view our website, our community, and our passion through their eyes and hands. In return we will present their work for the entire month or so, and they’ll become our featured artists.
For March 2013, we asked Arvind Ramkrishna to share his incredible work with us. Arvind has been a long time friend of not only SideQuesting but of myself personally. I’ve seen Arvind’s incredible passion for design and art grow immensely over the last 13-odd years that I’ve known him, and his drive has influenced my own personal endeavors. This profile, along with the special interview podcast and links to his work, should hopefully give you an idea of what kind of great and talented guy he is.
Arvind Ramkrishna graduated from the University of Purdue in 1998 with a degree in Engineering, after having already completed a degree in Industrial Design in 1994. Art stayed in his blood though, even though he spent the majority of his career focusing on problem-solving aspects of the automotive world, where he’s worked since then. Around 2007, Arvind helped us with work on our design-focused sister site, CarDesignFetish, with informative articles, art, and podcasts.
Arvind is a huge fan of Batman — I dare you to try and beat him on trivia. He grew up playing video games, and still plays as often has he can, though he admits that time with his family and artwork passion takes precedent these days. Lately it’s the Need for Speed series that has his attention. Arv’s personality is also incredibly infectious. It doesn’t take long for him to get us laughing at one of his many excellent impersonations, or to get us doing non-adult things when he shows off his fantastic dance moves; he puts Carlton to shame. It’s always a pleasure to be around him.
Arvind almost always begins his art with sketches on paper. Whether it’s vellum, newsprint, or Canson paper, he uses Prismacolor pencils to lay down linework and set the proportions of a vehicle or the features of a person. He’ll follow up with markers and paints to add color and life. Often, he’ll scan the sketches into Photoshop and create digital paintings that mimic his work you’d find on paper. He more than sketches or designs, he paints, and he uses whatever medium he has at hand to do so. Nothing is off limits; I’ve seen him create ornate works of art on sticky notes and even draw on an unrolled Tim Horton’s coffee cup.
Though many of his video tutorials focus on modern vehicles, he absolutely loves classic cars. Scenes of classic racing, especially, are what make for many of his exciting, life-filled work. He’s compelled to show action and adventure in his work, as he’s told me numerous times that every image has a story to tell.
Though he enjoys sketching and art as a hobby, he’s turned it into far more than that. Arvind loves to share his passion about car design with others creating Driven Mavens, a website devoted to teaching others about fulfilling their artistic dreams. With Mavens, Arvind creates tutorials and videos, shares hints and tips, and happily offers critiques to others of their work. And all of this for free. “I want others to realize their potential. They shouldn’t have roadblocks,” he told me recently. “With the web, we have a great opportunity to share our work and help each other.”
It’s perhaps the reason he’s been so successful with his hobby. Driven Mavens is visited by thousands on a monthly basis looking for inspiration and advice. Its Facebook group has 1200 extremely active members. His Twitter account engages in great conversations about art and design daily. His mantra, which he proudly displays on the DM website, is that there are four key factors (“4 Ds”) to a successful artist: Drive, Determination, Discipline, and Drawing. His readers and Facebook members post their work, he offers advice, and then they themselves tend to become really successful in their own right. It’s a cycle that he’s is extremely proud of.
All of this lead to Ramkrishna creating a successful DVD tutorial series, beginning with How to Draw Cars Now. The first DVD centers on not only the basics of drawing cars and vehicles, but focuses on constant inspiration. Even as someone who has 15+ years in the automotive industry myself, I still go back to his video and sketch along. Showcasing both analog (paper!) and digital art, it is well worth the investment, appearing not only on Amazon’s popular educational videos lists but also in the book stores of many art schools around the US and world.
When it came time for Arvind to present his logo ideas to me, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Would they be hand drawn? Would it feature a car? A race scene? I wasn’t expecting what he handed over: a stunning graphical interpretation of not only the letters “S” and “Q”, but also the inclusion of a video game history lesson with the controller designs in the font.
He had been showing me sketches on post-it notes, notebook paper, and even copy paper over the last few months. “Arvind, don’t kill yourself over the logo. It’s just meant to be a fun side thing.” That’s not how Arvind views any of his work. It’s not a “get it done fast” way to do things, it’s “get it done right”. He wouldn’t hand over the final design until he was happy with it, and even to this day mentions to me how he would change a few things if he had more time to fiddle with it.
Consider us floored either way. The logo leans forward, as if ready to launch off of a starting line. The colors, fiery red and technical gray, contrast each other well and portray energy and technology at the same time. The simple graphic shapes fit together like a puzzle piece. Our eyes are guided down the path of gaming’s controller history. It’s a fun, clean, fresh design that compliments our site well.
Find Out More About Arvind
We’re incredibly thankful for Arvind’s logo design and sharing his work with us for the remainder of February and March as our Featured Artist. We hope you do as well, and we hope you follow him all around the web. We know you’ll learn a few things, and maybe even become a driven maven yourselves.
Take a longer look at some more of his incredible work below!