Meet Our Illustrator for Spectrum: Iandry Randriamandroso
(Photo by Olga Townsend)
Every month, CreativeMornings works with an artist in our community to create an illustration for our global monthly themes. Our monthly themes help spark new conversations and ideas at our events. Speakers around the world are invited to share a story around the theme and what it means to them.
Our global theme for September is Spectrum. This month our featured illustrator is artist Iandry Randriamandroso. Given that these illustrations spark conversations all around the world, it’s only right that we get to know the illustrator.
Meet Iandry Randriamandroso
Iandry Randriamandroso is a Muralist, Graphic, and Community Artist.
He specializes in visual and mixed media art-making that focuses on environmental and social subjects. He received a B.F.A. from St. John’s University and an M.A. in Community Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
His goal is to create art that is inclusive and accessible to everyone. He uses his artworks as educational tools to facilitate inclusive and hands-on presentations, community arts workshops, art classes, and mural projects in public and private venues.
How did you get your start?
I became interested in drawing when I was in 3rd grade after seeing one of my classmates draw a car using simple lines. My parents did not allow me to draw, but I kept practicing by myself and improved my skills.
I got a chance to paint my first mural at the age of 14 when I attended a private Catholic school in Madagascar. The school principal asked me to create a mural at their center for disabled children. I portrayed Jesus as a local person, sitting with disabled children and some animals in the mural. My parents and friends joined the school officials at the unveiling of the mural. It was a proud moment for me and my love for art.
My parents began to understand that art could serve others, and it was vital to me. I could draw again at home.
What’s the creative scene like in your city or region and how has it impacted you?
I visited Las Vegas multiple times when I was working as a footwear designer years ago. At that time, I witnessed the ingenuity and creativity in the entertainment industry, which is a big part of the economy in Las Vegas. And I moved to Las Vegas not too long ago.
Now that I’m a local here, I see other aspects of the city’s artistic scene. The city has an Arts District, filled with art galleries as well as murals and studios. The Arts District hosts a First Friday event on the first Friday of each month, where art, music, and food come together in one place. It’s one of my favorite things about Las Vegas. I’m also teaching drawing classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
I see many talented young local artists who can contribute to the art scene in my city.
As “Community Artist,” your philosophy and art practice — involving the community directly in it — is both unique and inspiring. What drew you into this approach when you started? How has it changed how you plan and take on new art projects?
I came from a place where the community was the real center of life. So, the concept of communities comes naturally in my works. And I enjoy working with other diverse groups of people. It challenges me, sometimes, but we can learn from each other.
We can connect and build an understanding of each other and create new perspectives and possibilities.
When taking on a new art project, it depends on what the project is and who the beneficiaries of the artworks are. My main focus is on the people who will enjoy the artwork and be impacted by it. Whenever possible, and if the approach will benefit the project, I encourage my clients to include the community’s input and participation in a project.
The meaning of the “community” can be different depending on the nature of a project. Sometimes, the “community” can mean staff members of an organization and their families. Or it can mean community members of a neighborhood. Or the whole world, like the CreativeMornings community. Based on the characteristics of the project, I need to be flexible.
How did you go about visually interpreting this month’s theme of Spectrum?
My goal as an artist is to create art that is accessible and inclusive to everyone. In every work I do, I strive to achieve this goal. Making the CreativeMornings design was no different; I made one with paint color chips.
A spectrum must include a range of elements. I expressed the spectrum concept a little more literally with multiple paint color chips layered on top of each other. We can see diverse colors representing the spectrum’s concept while serving as a background to illuminate and focus on the word “SPECTRUM” in white.
What’s one piece of wisdom you’d give to someone who is just getting their start?
Don’t be a follower. Consider a path where people haven’t gone, yet.
This year has been difficult for many due to the pandemic. What has your experience been like and is there anything new you’ve realized or learned so far in 2020?
Like everyone else, it has been a challenging year for me. I couldn’t do lots of things I usually like to do outside of the home, like going to restaurants, teaching in a classroom, and meeting people.
During the summer, I had the chance to paint a mural (practicing necessary safety measures) for the Creative City School in Baltimore. As a part of the project, we organized a social distancing community painting day where participants wore masks and gloves and kept distances from each other while painting. With cooperation from the local community, the event was successful.
I had another unique experience in 2020 because I implemented a remote mural-making project with ten young people who participated in Art@Work program produced by Jubille Arts in Baltimore. Each youth painted a part of a mural separately at home. We had a Zoom meeting every working day to help the youth with their artworks.
This year, I’ve realized how much everyone’s participation and cooperation are essential to achieve a common goal. We made successes in my projects with small groups of people but unfortunately, as a society, we still need lots of improvements during this pandemic.
If you could open a door to anywhere, where would you go? Why?
If I could open the door to anywhere, I would go to North Sentinel Island. I know little about the indigenous people, the Sentinelese, and I’m curious about them.
Tell us something about yourself that we can’t find on Google.
I like cooking. It can take time and require patience, but it is rewarding, like making artwork.