My name is Ujwal Mantha (He/Him) and I'm a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist, researcher, and graphic designer. Now let's unpack that:
I was born in Hyderabad, India in 1999 to loving parents who, unlike many of their Indian peers, were very enthusiastic about their son becoming an artist. I hopped over to the University of Toronto Scarborough in 2017 and pursued a double major in Studio Art and Sociology. A number of my projects from this time happened at the intersection of art and sociology where I used my skills to tell stories.
I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you what I think an artist is and what art means to me.
What is an Artist?
I'd like you to imagine a few things for me.
Let's go back ten thousand years back to when we were huddled in caves, scrounging for every meal.
You see that woman, who's put her child to bed beside the fire and is now mixing animal blood and dirt and drawing on cave walls?
She's an artist.
That person outside, sharpening stone tools. He's going beyond just a sharp edge, see how he cherishes the grooves, carves them with care.
They are an artist.
Look through the centuries with me.
A medieval farmer, drawing intricate patterns in the sand as he waits for his crops to grow. He made a masterpiece, and if someone had taken a picture it would have been shipped off to a museum. Of course the wind blew the patterns away the next day and cameras hadn't been invented yet.
Of course, it was art and he was an artist.
That new mother in her little garret, sewing flowers on her newborn's blanket. The flowers aren't necessary, the baby won't notice them.
Just like the paintings on the wall, the extra-sharpened stone or the patterns in the sand. Art isn't necessary.
As we come closer to the present and look at the modern artists we know and learn about, from Georgia O'Keefe's paintings to Félix González-Torres's conceptual sculptures, we see that all these beautiful things, these ideas, none of them are technically necessary.
And yet, though I can't for the life of me explain why, they are very important. I think it's a human thing.
Avicii, in his song 'Can't Catch Me' says that "We are laced with the powers of creation" and I think that's beautiful.
An artist is someone who creates things because they can't help themselves, maybe they do it for someone else, for their community or just on a whim and then step back and hope that the world is better for it.
I hope that shed some light on why I do what I do. I've also prepared some more specific introductions that I've linked below:
Graphic Designer :
Over the past few years I've worked with a variety of people in a professional capacity as a graphic designer. At the Guild, you can learn about these projects and the people/organizations I've worked with.
You'll also get to see my Resume and the services I offer should you be interested in a professional collaboration.
At the Gallery, you can look at some of the art I've made over the years over a variety of mediums.
You'll also find my artist bio and curriculum vitae alongside information on any upcoming projects or exhibitions.
At the Library, you'll find my writing, academic and otherwise. My Sociological research looks into culture and the politics of oppression. My personal work is a bunch of science fiction and random writing prompts.
You'll know what I mean when you get there.