A full-time Creative Designer by profession, Sooraj Babu, aka Artoholiq, paints Magnificant watercolour paintings. He finds his inspiration in every and anything and can turn your spilled tea into a portrait, or if you are outside can make another portrait with nothing but just water on the ground.
You will find Sooraj Babu, aka Artoholiq, randomly riding his bike on weekends after a hectic week at work to random places in the Palakkad district of Kerala. He will stop anywhere, pick a spot or a subject he likes, and would start painting it on his canvas. It can be a tree, a temple, a lake, a school, or even a stranger passing by. After 20-30 minutes, he would wind up and head back home, and after a few days, you would see the masterpiece on his Instagram feed along with the entire process of his painting.
“I feel if I’m painting in my studio, I’m in my comfort zone, and that’s not challenging. That’s why I go out and paint as it comes with different challenges. It’s like I am not just painting something but also experiencing the same. Most of the time, it is unplanned, and I just take my bike and leave”, says Sooraj.
Painting with spilled tea or simply just water!
It did leave us awestruck when we saw Sooraj painting a portrait with tea that he had spilled. He even made a portrait on the ground with just water and even created an entire digital art after getting inspired by something as basic as an iron. Isn’t that something super creative? “Be it water, sand, or anything, for me, everything is an inspiration. It can be a simple train journey, a character from a book, or anything. All I do is imagine and make something out of it”, Artoholiq further told Local Samosa.
His feed is a warm place to be! You will find some very cute and adorable reels where he can be found painting beautifully. But the one that caught our attention was a video where he painted his grandmother in a very chic outfit and the story behind it was just so sweet. “I have always seen my grandmother in white saree as in the South, it’s a culture for the widows to wear white after their husband die. One day I was having tea with her and asked if she’d ever wear a coloured dress and she simply laughed it off. But I couldn’t stop imagining her in something colourful. So, I made a digital portrait of her and posted her reaction on Instagram”, he added.
From scribbling objects in his toddlerhood to exhibiting his artworks internationally!
For Sooraj, painting, and sketching are something he never stopped doing. It was always a part of his life and throughout his schooling, he would take part in different competitions. “I started scribbling before I started walking. Later, I started using watercolours because I love how spontaneous it gets. The shade will be different once you paint it and will be different when it dries off. On the palette it will be different and, on paper, it will be something else. You will get to see the final colour when it has completely dried and I love how it turns out to be”, he said.
After finishing his 12th, Sooraj wanted to pursue art but ended up doing engineering. He was told that taking painting as a full-time career would be challenging. Since he didn’t want to risk it, he ended up engineering. “I feel I started painting more during my college days as I didn’t want to lose it as my hobby and took part in various events. After my graduation, I worked as an engineer for 1.5 years but then decided to do something else, switched my field, and became a Creative Designer”, said Sooraj. It’s been 5 years since Sooraj Babu, aka Artoholiq, has been working as a designer and a freelance painter. He has conducted over 100 workshops to date, has exhibited internationally in the International Watercolour Society (IWS) and has been a part of various campaigns.
Quick Questions feat. Sooraj Babu aka Artoholiq
1)Advice to budding artists:
Be consistent, explore new opportunities, and don’t use your challenges as excuses. If you have a smartphone and enough data, you can do anything.
2) Digital artworks or watercolour painting:
Both! I think both the mediums have their pros and cons. For example, if you are painting digitally, you can pick colours from a photo and paint, and undo things, while painting with your hands, allows you to be raw and you have a different kind of freedom and control.
3) Future plans:
I want to help more artists. I want to educate them about NFTs, and want to work internationally as well. We will soon do a tour of Europe too.