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Susheel Basra; A positive mind, a positive life.

Susheel Basra; A positive mind, a positive life.

Please, introduce yourself!

My name is Susheel Basra and I am a Graphic Designer originally from Nuneaton in the West Midlands. I have always been inspired by visual content from Bauhaus movement to 80s / 90s cartoons. In my role as a Graphic Designer I have worked with different agencies gaining experience and knowledge from skilled designers. I have always looked to challenge myself in new roles. I am currently based in London working on print and digital projects, outside my day job I create illustrations and paper collages. Working with paper and an interest in lettering I like to combine the two to create my body of work.


How would you describe your work?

The way I can describe my work is fun, quirky and uplifting. I like to use bright, bold colours whether its an illustration or a typographical piece. I create collages by hand cut paper and illustrations using markers, spray paint and on the computer. The work focuses on a few different subjects from relevant news to positive quotes. My style of drawing mostly comes from my interest in graffiti / pop art and rubber hose animation.

Sun holding the text "Oh Happy Days" 

Oh Happy Days


What inspires you as an artist?

My inspiration comes from many different sources, film, print and generally everyday things I see around me. I am a British Asian, and growing up in a Punjabi home I was exposed to many visual things from fabric, food packaging, television programmes and even the flamboyant tissue box holder one keeps in their car. I would say the things I have grown up with and the people I have around me are my main inspiration for the work I do. My paper collages and lettering illustrations are taken from phrases and words we use everyday. I like to listen to peoples stories and I find inspiration in them to begin working on a piece. Other than lettering and graffiti artists to inspire me I do like looking at works by Willem De Kooning, Mark Rothko and Francis Bacon. How they apply paint and their style I am also interested in their background and how it translates into their works.

Bright digital wording of 'stay blessed' with a rainbow and a peace sign.

Stay Blessed 


Can you talk us through the process you take to bring one of your pieces to life?

I have a A6 notebook to write down ideas or keep reminders on my phone when I am commuting or visiting places. I like to collect material for future reference, especially paper samples. Once I have an idea I always start with a sketch; creating layouts, but don’t finalise colours until the final drawing. With the majority of the artwork I produce I know from the beginning whether to use paper or paint, but some artworks do change as the piece progresses. I try variations of colours, mixing and matching until I am 100% happy. Working on a piece I like to try out a few different versions, so trial and error is key. It may take a bit of time, but I learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

My process when working with paper is slightly different. I tend to use the computer to create a template and then select papers before cutting. I decide whether to use markers and spray paint once everything is laid out.


What is your favourite part of the process? My favourite part of the process is when I am half way through and I start to see it coming together. There are times when things work out differently but that is also the fun of creating art. Mistakes do happen, but this can work in my favour sometimes and it is great seeing my ideas coming to life.


What, if anything, do you want the people who see your art to think/feel/do differently?

I am to make people smile and send out positive vibes with my artwork. I like to use everyday phrases or comical words that are popular today, and the use of colour is important to set the right mood. I tend to use strong colours and bold lines to make an impact. Sharing these pieces, whether it is framed or just a sketch, I want my work to motivate people and make them feel good about themselves just like I do when I am working with paper or just painting. I do feel good about myself when I am expressing myself on paper and hopefully it shows in my work. A positive mind a positive life. Seeing the reaction from people when they view my work whether it is in person or comments on social media, it really does inspire me to create more art. I like to hear what my work means to them and it challenges me to try new things. My artwork also shows another side of me that most people may not have seen and of course it is a style I don’t always get to create in my day job as a designer.

Bright blocky font on a pink background with quote "Check yo self"

Check Yo Self 


I know you sometimes leave hand drawn sketches in public places, are these similar to your digital work, or something different?

Leaving hand drawn sketches probably started when I left a doodle on the tube and I received an email from someone who had picked it up and asked if they could keep it. So it took off from there; leaving hand drawn sketches which are mostly positive quotes or smaller versions of my digital work. I usually leave them on trains and mostly in the book cases at tube stations so keep an eye out! There was a time when I left sketch on the tube and a passenger followed me out and returned it to me thinking I dropped it by mistake, I told the person to keep it (but they just had a puzzled look on their face) as I walked off.


Have you ever had a response from leaving them, or seen someone pick them up?

I do get a few people send me messages on social media telling me they picked up my sketch or have seen it and shared it online and will look out for others whilst on their commute. I don’t mind people taking them or leave them where they found it but it is nice to hear from them. I do get the odd negative comment but that just makes me produce more haha. Messages I get are very warming to read and that was the intention when I leave them behind. It may help my profile, but as long as my work makes people laugh or feel good about themselves, then I am doing the right thing.


Do you have a favourite piece you have ever done, or a colour combination that is your favourite?

There are a few pieces that I consider being my favourite, but one particular piece of work I enjoyed creating was a mural for an archway in Vauxhall, London. This mural was a fun project and it was my first that I have created in that scale. Not only was it a great opportunity to contribute to public art but a chance to showcase my style of work. Another reason for it being my favourite is because I was among a group of great artists who also took part in this project. This piece was to interpret my understanding of Vauxhall and so a lot of it was based around my experience being in the area and how the community accepts everyone no matter what their beliefs, colour and sexuality is. The works are still up so go check it out. I keep colour palettes that I like for reference and keep a note of the paper styles I have used in the past.

 Colourful graffiti art in vauxhall london

Art in the Arches, illustration, Vauxhall, London.

Photography Louis Thornton @louisfilm. 


Thank you so much for sharing your work. How can people find out more about you and your art? 

No problem, happy to share my work and tell you about myself. People can see my work and follow my progress on my instagram profile @susheel.basra . I am currently setting up an online shop on my website from digital prints to painted pieces.

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