Skip to main content

Meet Prema Viswanathan with Bemis School of Art!

Prema ViswanathanHow did you first become interested in art?

My mom always said I started drawing in the mud with a stick when I was 2. Growing up in a small town in India, getting art supplies or even art paper was a big deal. So I started drawing with chalk on the floor, back of used notebook papers, and on magazines. Soon I was the only artist in school, I would help the teachers with their chart works, help my friends with drawing on their presentation works, and also draw on big black boards on school events. I didn’t have access to formal training in art, so I am self-made. I figured out ways to draw on my own which has helped me teach my students in a simple way.

Who or what inspires you? Why?

My Mom, Dad, husband, son, and the entire family, teachers and friends have always encouraged me and have appreciated my art. My dad is also an artist but draws very occasionally. When I was small my dad got these local magazines for us to read stories in our native language. It had a lot of drawings from artists. I would spend hours looking at them trying to replicate them and get the effect. I think those artists were my teachers and my inspiration. My style is inspired by nature and the folk arts of India.

What led you to become an art teacher?

Art is my passion, it’s a part of myself. I wanted to share my skill, and make everyone enjoy and appreciate art as much as I do. I first started teaching when I found a lot of kids interested in art but did not get someone to teach them, just like in my childhood days. I took up teaching because I love to share my skills and experience with others who are passionate to learn something new every day. There is so much art in this world, so many mediums, and so much to explore, if I can show them some of this wonderful art and inspire them, I will continue to teach art.

What about your background or life experiences have created special or unique connections with students?

I create my own steps when I teach a particular art style. I believe any art form can be taught to anyone from level 0. All that is needed is a love for art. That is how I learned, I taught myself. I can teach the same lesson to a beginner and an advanced-level student with modifications to make them comfortable. This has gained me good students, who treat me as their friend rather than a teacher.

If you could place 3 tiny houses anywhere in the world to live in, where would you put them?

The first one is my dad’s house where I grew up. The second house would be in the Hampi mountains, in India. The third one is in the Colorado mountains.

What was the last book you read and loved?

The Shiva Trilogy by Amish.

If you could time travel, when and where would you go?

If I can time travel, I would go back to my childhood, sitting in my favorite spot, with my pet cat, and draw forever.

What’s your “dance like nobody’s watching” song?

I listen to a lot of native music while driving. I enjoy that the most.

What’s on your bucket list?

I wish to travel to a lot of places with my family. Have my own art studio surrounded by flowers. Host a lot of art shows for budding artists. Teach a lot of people art. Have a little shop for arts and crafts and good coffee and snack corner.

If you had to write a life ‘motto’ what would it be?

My motto is to love, teach art, and keep inspiring everyone.

See what Prema is teaching now