Meet Shuchi Muley: One of 15 artists in the world who hand-painted Loving Vincent, the movie.
“Sometimes one has to just go through a rigorous practice phase before creativity strikes again.”- Shuchi Muley
Bangalore-based Shuchi Muley is just 34 and has already left her mark in the international painting circuit. We are talking about her work as a painter in the international movie Loving Vincent, produced by the Oscar-winning studios BreakThruFilms and Trademark Films. Here is her story.
Childhood Affair with Painting
Shuchi has always loved arts and crafts since her childhood. She says, “I used to draw and paint a lot and my parents were always very supportive. My parents got me any art material I needed and whenever I needed. I remember my dad buying me art supplies late at night once when I had run out of colors and desperately wanted to finish my painting”.
She has grown up in a very constructive environment that has nurtured her creative side. She says, “My parents supported my creative experiments and would not let me fear about the results. I remember the time when our house was under construction. I used to borrow our carpenter’s saw and tools to create stuff for my mom. I once built a small stool for her from leftover wood and then made a landscape painting on it with my oil paints. It didn’t dry for almost a month! Hah!”
From IT to Painting
“I was a full-time software engineer for a few years. But on the flip side, I had stopped spending time on any extracurricular activities. I used to live in San Francisco back then. That’s when I thought I should develop a hobby. I researched and came across a weekend workshop by artist Sadie Valeri who taught the indirect technique of oil painting. I started attending her classes in my free time and loved them. As years passed, there came this moment in my life when I got so engrossed in arts that it was all I was thinking all the time. I attended some workshops over a period of 3 - 4 years. In the year 2014, I finally decided to quit my job to pursue arts as a profession. “
Hitting the Wall
Like any other artist, Shuchi too hit a roadblock in her creative endeavours. Elaborating on her experience, she tells us, “There has been many ups and downs in my journey so far. In fact, anyone in the creative field would relate to this phase when you are full of creative ideas and then a few months down the line there is nothing new you can think of. I went through the same. For e.g. I apply to more than 15 art competitions each year and out of those I make it to 1 or 2 if I am lucky. It works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't. I have never thought of quitting but there was a phase when I had stopped painting. I was running out of ideas and all my creative juices had run out. But I got over it and made myself a commitment to paint everyday no matter what. Sometimes one has to just go through a rigorous practice phase before creativity strikes again”.
School of Thought
Realism is a kind of painting style that advocates representation of things as they are. Shuchi follows this school of thought. She says, “My paintings are very personal and I choose my subjects very carefully. I usually spend some time visualizing how my painting is going to look and what feeling it would evoke in the viewer. I am still exploring my style of painting by following works of the artists I admire. I am a relatively new painter and still have a lot to learn”.
Further, explaining about her process, she tells us, “For me it requires a lot of concentration to put a stroke down. When I paint, I am in a zone where I am constantly comparing my current stroke to the previous one. I also compare my values and color temperatures over and over. I work in short sprints and take breaks to look at other things. I have found that I make more mistakes if I paint continuously on one piece. So I work in small cycles. It feels quite exhausting by the end of the day but I love it”.
Her Work on Loving Vincent
Shuchi first saw the teaser of Loving Vincent on Youtube. She was instantly hooked on the idea of working on the movie. For those who don’t know, Loving Vincent is a 37-minutes long movie with each frame hand-painted by artists from all over the world. The movie tells the story of life and death of famous Dutch post-Impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh. The painters were selected after a rigorous training and selection process in Poland. Finally, only 15 of them were selected from all over the world.
Explaining how the movie was made, she says, “The movie was shot with actors first. Then the entire movie was divided into individual scenes. Each scene had many frames in it. These scenes were divided among different artists and each artist hand-painted every frame of this scene. Once they finished painting a scene, they were assigned a new one. There are around 62,450 paintings so far and each derived from either Van Gogh’s original work or inspired from his brush strokes”.
“We all were assigned individual workstations called PAWS (their proprietary technology). Each workstation had a monitor that displayed the scene, a projector for projecting the scene on our painting panel and a camera for capturing each painted frame. We also had our art supplies right next to our monitor. Once a frame was painted, it was captured and a new one was projected. The artist then scrapped the existing painted frame and painted a new one on the same canvas.”
From IT to Loving Vincent, Shuchi and her passion for painting have come a long way. In the future, she plans on conducting special classes for people interested in oil painting and hopes she will be able to contribute towards spreading the art of painting.