Meet the Others: Ragni Agarwal
The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.
Ragni Agarwal is an art director, graphic designer, and illustrator in Los Angeles. Currently she is VP of Design at a tech startup and a freelance graphic design and branding contributor at various fashion and lifestyle companies.
Driven by a pop art aesthetic and bold colors, the underlying theme in her work is inclusion and the celebration of of all types of beauty. ‘Being a creative isn’t an option for me. It is a necessity. It is my therapy.’
The Other Art Fair Los Angeles Virtual Editions will launch from March 30 – April 4, featuring Ragni’s unique design on the website. Learn more about her practice, and inspiration behind the piece.
Q&A with the Artist
Tell us about who you are and what you do. What is your background?
My name is Ragni (aka #ragimate) of Ragni Agarwal Designs <RAD>. I am a designer, artist, and professional palette chaser based in Los Angeles. I started my career as a graphic designer, working for various marketing & design firms and tech companies. As soon as I started using Adobe Illustrator early in my career, I started drawing digitally for fun throughout the years. In 2018, I started sharing my work more often publicly through social media and after receiving positive feedback, I decided to keep pursuing more artistic opportunities. It really sparked for me though when I attended the Other Art Fair Los Angeles as a guest and saw the art world through emerging artist eyes. I applied for the next one, was accepted and the rest was kind of history. Painting was something I was lucky enough to do for many years of childhood through art classes and on my own but hadn’t dabled much in as an adult. During the pandemic and the many many shelters at home, I needed to use my hands and to get out of the digital space and that’s how I found my way back to painting. It’s been one of the most magical experiences of my life. It feels like coming home.
What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
Born out of necessity, art is my compass through the unpredictable landscape of my mind. Driven by a pop art aesthetic and bold colors, mental health, body (dis)illusions and self destructive thoughts and behaviours are the focus of my work. I create bold, beautiful images that are reflective of the dark and the light inside each of us. When the mind is in a state where it can only see darkness, the world feeling muted, the body feeling heavy, you have to confront color before you can perceive it. Vibrant colors reflect hopefulness. I do not believe in societal pressures or definitions of beauty, and through my work I am a part of the counterculture redressing this issue. I believe in the inclusion and the celebration of all types of beauty especially those underrepresented in pop culture. I draw women in all their beautiful forms, shapes, sizes and colors. They are the epitome of creativity. I am woman and this is my journey.
How did you first get interested in your medium and what draws you to it specifically?
For me, digital art is a way to exercise your creativity and quickly share it with the world on the most accessible platforms. I’m also a tech nerd and have been the biggest Adobe Illustrator fan since day 1. I use it for everything design and digital art related. Painting on the other hand, allows me to express a softness and fluidity that is harder for me to express. I appreciate that paintings almost feel like problems that need to be solved and force me to think in a way I didn’t with the digital world. I can not control z, undo, or copy and paste and after so many years behind a computer, I appreciate being able to flex different parts of my brain and creativity.
How has your style and practice changed over the years?
On a content/subject level, as I get to know myself, my work becomes less superficial and more raw. Not always the most polished, I feel like if you looked back through the year of my work, the evolution of my style is paralleled to my own journey/growth as a person. I’m less focused too on how people will see it and perception and more on releasing my creativity. It becomes a little less scary each time to bear my soul and be vulnerable with the world.
Can you walk us through your process? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it’s finished?
With my digital work, I like to experiment and try things but I am pretty confident in my skill level and proficiency after so many years of experience. So once I have an idea, it won’t take me long to implement it. Colors are my strength and are usually where I might take longer because they tell the whole story for me, especially in the type of work I do. Paintings are a little more challenging because I am so newly back in this world and I am still learning about my overall style and process. But I can feel even in the past year of consistently painting how much my skills have improved. And what I learned from years of training in my youth is slowly starting to come back to me too.
What was your process in developing the wallpaper image for the Los Angeles Virtual Editions?
As a California girl, I love adding a Golden State vibe to my art. Also there is also very much a disco feeling to a lot of my art and of course, my art generally focuses on women so I decided to combine these three things and create a piece that was light and fresh and felt like LA.
What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
My best advice is art is whatever you want it to be. If you have something creative to say, say it and don’t be afraid of the what anyone thinks about it. Chances are someone will undoubtedly resonate with your story. Also, PLAY. Just play with art like you are a kid and worry less about the end product. That will find its way out just keep playing.
Shop artwork by Ragni and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.
Introducing The Other Art Fair Online Studios, a new online platform offering art lovers around the world access to over 800 Fair artists. The Online Studios will keep our community feeling inspired, engaged, and continue to spread joy through art.