Vikram Madan wasn’t always a professional artist. He was born and raised in India, then came to the United States for graduate studies. After spending several years working as an engineer in the Seattle-area tech industry, he decided to take a leap of faith and “trade in his keyboard for a paintbrush and a quill.”
Madan has been painting professionally since 2014. After quitting his job as an engineer, he enrolled in part-time art classes, then eventually spent two years studying at Seattle’s Gage Academy of Art. He describes his work as "contemporary whimsical art" that explores the human condition without taking itself too seriously.
“My technique is a combination of formal training, influences from my childhood in India, and my own experiences with cartooning and illustration,” Madan explained. “I create humorous and whimsical paintings that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.”
Madan also writes and self-illustrates poetry books. His most recent book, A Hatful of Dragons: And More Than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems was published in March by Boyds Mills & Kane. He has also authored two early-reader children’s books that will be published by Penguin Random House in 2021.
According to Madan, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely curtailed his ability to show and enjoy art in person. Before March, his whimsical art could be seen in local shows and galleries all around the Seattle area. He would also do workshops and regularly visit elementary schools to conduct 'creativity workshops' for grades K-6.
“I am trying to expand my online presence and focusing more on projects I can develop in quarantine mode i.e. working from home,” Madan said.
One of Madan’s recent COVID-19 projects was creating “Carpe Diem Art Coins” featuring his Lil' Grim Reaper character. He put the project on Kickstarter and it was funded within seven hours.
“COVID-19 has taught us that we should not have put off till tomorrow the things we could have done yesterday,” Madan said. “My Lil' Reaper character is a whimsical reminder for living a better life by acknowledging that all things are finite.”
Public art is another outlet keeping Madan busy. He’s painted storefront displays, murals, staircases and most recently utility boxes for the City of Kent.
Amid all the uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic, Madan encourages Bellevue residents to continue supporting local artists.
“Art feeds the soul,” Madan said. “We all need that type of positivity in these current times.”
You can see more artwork by Vikram Madan on his website and Facebook.
This blog is part of our new blog series: heART of Bellevue. As an alternative to the 6th Street Arts Fair, the BDA – in partnership with Amazon - will feature local artists who would have participated in this year’s festival. Support all of our artists who were going to participate in this year’s fair by browsing their artwork and portfolios on our website.