Artist Interviews 2021
By Johnny Otto
You go by "Rainbowsnfireflies" on Instagram. What do rainbows and fireflies have in common? What makes them special to you?
That is a brilliant question, Johnny, thank you! I get asked this question a lot, why Rainbowsnfireflies? Well, when I was starting up my Instagram page just over a year ago, I wasn't even sure if I was going to continue doing this page and I thought I would rather use a pseudo name for the time being. I always have a fascination for rainbows and I absolutely love fireflies! So, I put them together without thinking much, it just sounded perfect for me! It reminds me of all things happy- all things joyful! I am still using it and I love it so much now!
A really exciting thing also happened recently regarding my Instagram handle! A talented Brazilian Industrial Designer named Romulo Temigue really liked my Rainbowsnfireflies, and he wanted to collaborate with me to design some of his fascinating chairs inspired by my Instagram handle ! He also used some of my artworks to colour them up! It was such a surprise for me that some people really like my rainbows and fireflies just as much as I do!
Abstract painting by its definition is open to interpretation. Why choose a style of art that leaves so many possibilities for the viewer?
Oh, that's the fun of doing abstracts, isn’t it? So many possibilities, so many stories to unfold! I absolutely love that part! Our abstracts, our colours, our hues are always open for interpretations coming from the viewers. The onlookers- with the power of their own creativities complete the journey for these abstracts by giving these their individual meanings! Our palettes, our brushstrokes give our viewers this freedom to create their very own visual experiences. This way, our canvases are not only the life-stories, the melodies of us as artists, but also become the same for the onlookers! That is absolutely fascinating to me and that is one of the reasons I love doing abstracts!
How did you get started painting and what drives you to keep going when things get difficult?
I love colours, and from my childhood I have been splashing colours all over, scribbling- painting what not! It was always there with me. But I never took it too seriously until recently, especially since these lockdowns started, and I had to be home bound for weeks! I had nothing left but to paint, and yes, I loved it! So, my first artwork dates back to my childhood days, and it is only my strong passion for colours that keep me going for more splashes, splodges, or simply the joy of playing with paints!
When things get difficult, my colours keep me going to be honest! While painting often my subconscious mind takes over, and the whole process feels very liberating to me. I forget my present and dive into my own world of blissful colours. I do what I feel like, no plans, no rules whatsoever. This world is so full of rules, so I find my own freedom through my art journey! My artworks give me wings to escape difficult things, bad things- yes, they are like my very own magic sticks!
Favorite artists that you'd like to collaborate with or who you just like the world to know about?
I get inspired by many contemporary abstract artists, many of them are from my own Instagram platform- many of them are my close friends!
I absolutely love British artist Deborah Gardner's works; she is one of my very close friends on Instagram, too. Her colours do inspire me a lot! I always tell her how inspirational she is for an emerging artist like me!
Yes, I would definitely love to collaborate with Deborah anytime!!
Any shows or exhibitions in the future or how do you get your art out to the world?
I have some local art fairs happening in my neighbourhood in the summer time and hopefully I will be taking part this year. This pandemic gave me so much time to paint, but for art shows or exhibitions, it has been a tough year already, but I am hopeful that things are soon going to get better!
I am currently selling through Saatchiart website and my NFT art platform- Foundation.
You are also a Poet and a big fan of Bukowski. What is it about his work that you are attracted to? Do you have a poem or two that you can share with us?
I love poetry. I write poems myself, in Bengali, that is my mother tongue as I am originally from Bangladesh. I published few books, too, all in Bengali. I write mainly for kids and young adults. I am a big fan of Bukowski, yes !! The way he plays with his powerful words without trying to make himself look 'perfect' to the society, his raw truthfulness and brave writing style do fascinate me - absolutely mind-blowing!
As an artist myself, I always do what I feel like doing. I play with colours just the way I feel like- no plans, no rules, no specific art rituals. It’s just my raw emotions oozing out. I love to keep things spontaneous and I like stuffs that make me fly free- Bukowski’s poems do inspire me a lot in that sense! Do however you feel like- don’t do it only to impress others- that’s me!
Oh, and regarding my Bengali poems, I am sharing one here with you. I wrote this specific poem many years ago actually, but I still like it. It is about a young girl who likes to be amongst nature- carefree, who loves to sing with the birds ditching her homework, loves to fly – exactly how I crave to fly at times!
Here it is –
Any advice you'd give yourself as a child who is just starting to take an interest in art?
Paint your heart out- don't stop! Splash those colours , make more rainbows, catch more fireflies – fly high and don't look back!
How does culture, society, music and the world in general affect your creations? You're in London, right? So how does that city make your art what it is?
Such a brilliant question Johnny, oh yes, culture, society, music…did you just say music? Oh, hell yes! They obviously do affect my artworks. Specially music is a big part of my life itself. And poetry! They do influence my colours, my emotions, my overall art journey. I listen to music all day, whenever I can! So, most of my happy colours, my sad colours or those grumpy colours have music in them, poetry in them!
And, yes, London is amazing, very cultural. All those gallery-visits, art fairs or art-events can make a huge impact on any creative Londoners like me! This city is always buzzing and so does its art scene.