A&F Conversations: Suzanne Dias, illustrator and graphic designer

Bold colors and stunning portraits will make you linger on Pune based illustrator and graphic designer Suzanne Dias  for longer than usual.

After having graduated from Symbiosis Institute of Design, Suzanne decided not to directly plunge into a full-time job. She instead started creating art for herself and honing her skills. The effort and determination paid off when her Instagram account began to amass audience and accolades for her art. We spoke to Suzanne about her work.

When did you realize you wanted to be in the visual arts space? 

I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember, and have always been very passionate and intrigued by everything art and design related. It was always clear to me that I wanted to pursue art and design as a professional career. My parents always encouraged me and bought me beautiful design books, which I am very grateful for. That motivated me to practice and get better every day. So it’s just something that’s always come very naturally to me. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What have been some of the biggest highlights of your career so far?

I recently graduated in graphic design from Symbiosis Institute of Design in Pune. During my time in college, illustrating and drawing just for myself took a backseat. So as soon as it was over, I decided to not immediately jump into a job at a design studio. Instead, I took six months to just draw for myself, focus on improving my skills, and create things that make me happy.

This was a big risk for me and there were times when I wondered if I was wasting my time trying to make it on my own. But I decided to stick to it and began posting a lot of my work on Instagram which slowly started getting attention. Looking back now, I’m happy that I followed my gut because it has taught me so much and brought me some great opportunities as well.

What are some of the important themes in your work?

A lot of my work is just a representation of what I felt at a particular moment – the people around me or a song I was listening to. I enjoy drawing people and portraits the most because they sort of become characters that express my emotions for me.

I used to be terrified of using color but now it plays a big part in my work. I think looking at bright, beautiful colors can lift people’s mood and bring a bit of warmth and joy into their day, which is what I aspire to do with everything I create.

Could you talk about one particular artwork of yours that’s featured on Art&Found?

I have a piece titled ‘The Wallflower’ which is quite personal because it was loosely inspired by my struggle with social anxiety and the difficulty I face with interacting and making friends with new people. That’s what I had in mind while drawing this shy girl, probably standing in a corner at some party, feeling a bit out of place.

As I said earlier, I like pouring my emotions into the characters I draw, and this girl pretty much represents how I’ve felt on multiple occasions in my life. And there are probably a lot of people who would be able to relate to this.

I think looking at bright, beautiful colors can lift people’s mood and bring a bit of warmth and joy into their day, which is what I aspire to do with everything I create.

Who are the artists around the world that you really admire?

There are so many! But to name a few – Willian Santiago is one of my absolute favorite artists. I draw so much inspiration from his brilliant use of color and composition. Manjit Thapp‘s portraits and fashion illustrations are so expressive and beautiful. I recently discovered Bryce Wymer on Instagram and I fell in love with how bold and vibrant his work is.

What are you currently working on?

I have a few exciting freelance projects and commissions going on. And all my time in between is being spent on personal projects, building my portfolio, and just constantly trying to keep the creative juices flowing.

Words by Payal Khandelwal


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