Sharan Ranshi is taking the long-legged, sketchy model into the world of fine arts.
It’s a new life for fashion illustration: one that ditches the all-blank page and lands drawn women in a luxurious salon color storm, giving them moods and personalities that make women themselves an interesting thing. , not just the clothes that have been sketched.
“I started out doing fashion illustration and it developed more into a portrait where, of course, the clothing is important, but so is the background,” Ranshi tells WWD from his home in the UK. “So, it’s like a full painting, while a fashion illustration can be more of a sketch or a hectic drawing. It takes me some time to do it and I really think about what kind of woman would wear the clothes, in what situation can I imagine this woman sitting, what kind of interiors. And usually it’s the things that inspired me. ”
Most of Ranshi’s work features women in various states of repose on sculptural chairs or chaise longues, in domestic settings where wallpaper, carpets, lamps and tables are parades of multicolored prints and flora often makes an appearance on the coffee tables. or rolled around the subject itself. The clothing, always presented prominently in various prints, is current, sometimes off the catwalk, sometimes a piece from a designer or a specific collection, always chic.
The British Indian artist draws inspiration in part from her background – not only as a Central Saint Martins graduate in print design, or for spending four years living in India where she began her painting – but also as the daughter of Indian parents who grew up in Kenya following the partition of India in 1947, before moving to the UK, where Ranshi was born and raised.
“All those prints and those colors, they really come from that legacy, that kind of really mixed legacy and that’s why I really love mixing prints,” he says. “It has everything to do with that mix of cultural influences. And I love to collect influences from all over the world, but it definitely influences my way of working heavily. “
Sometimes, Ranshi’s inspiration comes straight from the fashion week runways.
This spring 2023 exhibition, designers big and small alike provided the artist with fodder for future work.
“I really liked someone like Kevin Germanier … I think this time he used recycled toys for his collection, but only the colors I thought were bright. And Valentino is always just really beautiful and classic shapes, which is always a source of inspiration. . And the colors, his use of color I think is brilliant, “says Ranshi. “I [also] I love all the little emerging London designers. There’s a guy, Ed Curtis, who does these hand drawn swirls on the shirts and I really want to paint one of his shirts because I think he’s brilliant, I love what he’s doing.
When it’s not after fashion week, Ranshi finds inspiration everywhere.
“I will see all these amazing creations and this inspires me or if I have seen an amazing print somewhere, it doesn’t have to be something that is on a fashion piece, it could be a piece of fabric on a sofa or a curtain that I have seen, “He says.” Or I am inspired by certain colors, then I create my own print. “As for the furniture, the Nilufar Gallery in Milan for design and vintage furniture and home décor is where you can find some of his pieces of painting.
Everything Ranshi does is hand drawn because he says he is “old school like that” and his medium is acrylic, watercolor or gouache on paper. The reproductions are giclee printed on museum quality fine art paper which she says is so good, “sometimes I have to look and think which is my print and which is the original”.
While the artist commissions work for individuals, he also works directly with designers and labels to bring their pieces to life in new ways. Saloni is one whose clothes landed right in Ranshi’s domestic scenes.
“I love her dresses because they are so many beautiful prints and she gives me the freedom, really, to do what I want, which is really cool,” says Ranshi of the founder and designer of the Saloni Lodha label.
In some cases, she paints the products she likes in her pieces, like Olivia Morris at Home’s beloved Daphne bow slippers.
The artist works on a small scale (A3 paper size, 11.75 inches by 16.5 inches is his largest) in part to pay close attention to detail and in part because of where some of his influences reside.
“I really love Persian miniature painting, even Indian miniature painting, so this really informs my work in terms of modern influences,” he says.
But Ranshi’s process, particularly when it comes to capturing the vibe of his fashion portraits, is a selfish endeavor, the artist admits.
“It has to be something I love,” she says. “I almost imagine how I would feel, what kind of room I would be sitting in if I were wearing these fabulous dresses surrounded by these fabulous interiors.”
The ideal client for your job?
“I would love Dries Van Noten, Nina Yashar [of Nilufar Gallery in Milan] and India Mahdavi [architectural designer] owning or commissioning works of art from me, because I think they all have impeccable taste, “says Ranshi.