Ranjit Sagoo - "In the Wild" Art Competition Runner Up

Hello Ranjit! Congratulations again on winning 2nd place at the "In the Wild" International Art Competition. What led to the inspiration behind your award-winning painting?

‘Stalker’ was part of a 6-piece series entitled “Predator/Prey”. The concept behind series was an exploration of this natural conflict of predator versus prey. There is a persistent battle of wit and nerve; physical strength and speed in this ‘fight or flight’ moment, and it is occurring all the time in nature. I wanted to simultaneously capture the emotions and behaviours in the moments leading up to the confrontation.

The reflection of the prey in the eye of the predator was the perfect way to illustrate both sides of this ensuing conflict. The image had to be on a large-scale in order to capture the sense of realism. Drawing a macroscopic, detailed eye of the predator brings a sense of closeness to the predator so that one can see and feel it’s intentions. The large-scale also allowed the reflection to capture the detail in the expression of the prey giving the viewer an understanding of both opposing sides of the conflict.

Tell us more about you. When did you start painting and how is painting part of your life?

I have always loved art and design and was naturally quite good at school. I did very well at both Art and Graphic Design GCSE, but after this I pursued a career in medicine. This obviously left little time to continue art with any real intention but whenever I could, I continued to draw and sketch.

I am now a full-time NHS doctor working in General Practice. Working 5 days a week doesn’t leave much spare time, alongside family-life, for art. However, in the last few years I made a conscious decision that if I seriously wanted to pursue art as a career that I would have to make time. So now I fit my artwork into evenings, early mornings and weekends, around my other obligations.

I have found art has brought a lot of balance for me. General Practice is a very demanding job, none more-so than during the pandemic, so art has been a place of tranquillity and retreat. I can get lost in artwork for hours without realising it.

What inspires you and defines your artistic style?

I draw a lot of inspiration from being a clinician. I have a fascination with human nature and understanding my patients’ thoughts and feelings and this reflects in my artwork. Within my art I look to capture feelings, emotions and behaviours as this builds the connection for the person viewing the artwork.

I have also had a fascination for nature and wildlife from a very young age. I have always watched documentaries on nature and animals and have a particular fondness of big cats. There is so much variety in nature and so much to explore and understand, providing a vast resource from which to draw inspiration.

My style has always been realism based. This derives from my need to do everything with technical accuracy and produce the highest quality work I can achieve. Being a realism artist also draws from my core beliefs in art expressing emotion and creating a connection with the viewer. Although any form of art can do this, for me producing something that looks and feels real creates a natural, relatable connection.

What is your favourite medium and favourite thematic?

I have experimented with several media over the years from pencil and charcoal drawing to oil and acrylic painting, even digital art. My favourite medium is pastel. Pastel is very versatile allowing me to create soft blends, fine detail and texture, soft hues and bold, vivid colour. Having to plan my art around work and other responsibilities, pastel is also very easy to pick-up and put-down as and when I need to.

Wildlife and nature are my favourite subject matter and as mentioned earlier my work must portray some form of emotional connection. Hence my work will always feature a concept based around emotion and behaviour, illustrated through realistic wildlife drawings.

And what are your future artistic plans/ what are you working on right now?

My ambition is to become a recognised artist and have my work in galleries and exhibitions. I would love for my work to be recognised for the realism and technical skill I aim to achieve with my work. I am currently working on a new series which is called “When I Grow Up…”. Each piece is going to feature an adult animal and their child looking at one another. The concept here is portraying the interaction of the child with its ambitions and aspirations, and the adult who has the life experience to nurture and guide these aspirations. I am really excited about this series, it’s a concept I’ve wanted to illustrate for long time.

Finally... Is there anything you’ve learnt that has helped you as an artist that you could share?

I feel the most important thing that I have learned is to have confidence. For a long time I questioned whether my work was good enough. Was it good enough for someone to want to buy it? Or to enter a competition? If you believe in what you do and put your passion into it, have confidence that it is good enough. Putting yourself and your work in the public eye is difficult as you are opening yourself to criticism but if you don’t you can never succeed and no criticism is ever bad criticism, it is an opportunity improve and come back stronger.

Ranjit, we thank you very much for your participation in the competition and for sharing your thoughts with us! We can't wait to see more of your work, and we wish you all the best in your very promising art career.