We conclude the second part of the Pryia’s Shakti reportage with DAN GOLDMAN’s interview. Dan is the artist behind Priya’s Shakti. Click here to read the first part of this article, with the interview to Ram Devineni, Director, Producer & Co-Writer of Priya’s Shakti.
SD: How did you become involved in the creation of the comic?
DG: Ram Devineni and I met in NYC about a year ago and I was interested in the project the moment he told me about it. From there, he spent a lot of time working on the script with co-writer Vikas Menon while I immersed myself in Indian culture and Hindu mythology (and design inspirations as well) via a variety of sources as I was finishing up my most recent graphic novel and a screenplay. I wanted to have my subconscious substrate ready so that when I received the script, I’d be ready to hit the ground running, which is exactly what happened.
SD: Tell me something about your creative process: did Priya’s Shakti spring onto the page fully fledged or were there ‘prototypes’?
DG: I did some iterations but my process doesn’t involve lots of sketching as much as it’s about collecting references for a “look” board and letting that gel in my head. By the time I sit down to draw, I know what I want and it’s just a matter of making that come to life.
SD: Were you acquainted with Hindu mythology before working on Priya’s Shakti?
DG: Yes, I read the Bhagavad Gita in my teens as I steered my own religious and philosophical path away from the Judaism I was raised with. I also had a good working foundation of Hindu myths via Amar Chitra comic books before receiving the script for PRIYA’S SHAKTI.
SD: There are many Indian comics depicting stories from the Hindu deity pantheon, such as the comic book version of the Mahabharata; have you read any and do you have a favourite?
DG: I’m partial to any stories of Ganesh. He’s always felt like “my” Hindu god, for reasons I can’t completely explain. I have a small statue of him in my home that I’ve carried with me from New York to Brazil and back. He now lives on my desk behind my computer; I’m staring at him as I write this.
SD: What medium did you use for the comic?
DG: My art is entirely digital, drawn directly into the computer on a Wacom Cintiq, so my main tools for making my comics are a digital camera, Autodesk Sketchbook and Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop.
SD: What are you proud of in relation to the comic’s impact?
DG: The reach it’s had thus far has been astounding, but I’m ready for the book to get into schools as we intended. I think once we’ve accomplished that, and the story is there for young people around the world but specifically in India, I’ll be satisfied that Priya’s first journey is complete. You’ve seen our IndieGoGo fundraising campaign to help with this large print run, yes?
That campaign was fully funded in March 2015; the Priya’s Shakti comic is now available in rural Indian schools. Priya’s Shakti has not lost momentum and is going from strength to strength. I can’t wait for the next installment in Priya’s story and to see her continue to make waves socially, culturally and globally.
FUNDRAISER: Priya’s Shakti augmented reality “walk in comic book” exhibition at City Lore ( New York City ) will be closing on Oct 13, 2015. The closing night party “Who’s Sari Now?” is also a fundraiser for our NGO partner Apne Aap – founded by twenty-two women from Mumbai’s red light district, with a vision of a world where no woman could be bought or sold. They work to empower girls and women to resist and end sex trafficking by organizing marginalized women and girls into small self-empowerment groups, where they work collectively to access their legal, social, economic, and political rights. http://apneaap.org/
The party will showcase entertainment from DJ Madhu Sandhu, Shivali Bhammer an urban devotional singer and also singer Shubhra Prakash. Custom made jewelry by Rosena Sammi will be sold in the spirit of their Do Good initiative http://www.rosenasammi.com/pages/do-good.
Suggested Donation is $10. All proceeds will go to Apne Aap. Contribute online: http://apneaap.org/get-involved/donate/
Suna Dasi is a passionate geek with a pen. Her profession as a singer has taken her all over the world. She currently records and performs with Texan artist Erin Bennett. Being a woman in the creative industries led her to co-found female film and music production company Art Attack Films/Attack Agency. Two of her short stories are due to appear in anthologies in 2016.