Artist Feature: Nadeesha Godamunne
Brooklyn-based multi-disciplinary artist, Nadeehsa Godamunne—known on instagram as Mokshini—offers fashion-enthusiasts an alternative take on street style. Her fashion illustrations have been shared in major publications from Harper’s Bazaar to Huffington Post and she frequently collaborates with international brands like Ralph Lauren and J Crew.
We stopped by Nadeesha's home-studio to capture her at work and hear about her artistic journey.
For those unfamiliar, tell us a bit about your background, what you do, and how
you ended up in New York.
New York has always been a place I’ve fantasized about, but watching an Andy Warhol
documentary and seeing his beginnings as a fashion illustrator gave me that nudge. I had a yearning to just chuck myself in the deep end and see what happened!
I think most people have trouble getting their head around what I do as a fashion
illustrator, but in a nutshell, I collaborate with designers, magazines and PR agencies. I
also work with a textile studio and an illustration agency that books me for editorials,
advertorials and live drawing gigs. It's always different, which is what I love.
Do your Sri Lankan and Kiwi roots influence your work at all?
I think being a Kiwi influences my work ethic and approach to work. I’m serious about
what I do but never take my self seriously—I try to keep it all experimental and fun! Recently, I visited Sri Lanka after 13 years! It rekindled my love for Sri Lankan painters, like George Keyt, who has definitely influenced my textile design work.
When and how did you first discover your interest in art? Did it come before or
after you realized your interest in fashion?
I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember! My mother always said I drew before I
wrote. Throughout my entire childhood, I painted, went to art classes, and did every art
subject imaginable at school. When it came to college, I was tossing up between
fashion and graphic design, but fashion felt like a more natural progression. It was only
during my degree that I realized I enjoyed illustrating the garments, much more than I
did designing them. My mentor convinced me to do my Masters in illustration, and there
has been no turning back!
What is it about street style that resonates with you more than runway?
My work is so much about capturing personality, which is why street style speaks to me
more. People are constantly expressing themselves in authentic and inspiring ways - it
just feels less forced.
What’s the most liberating thing about being a female artist? The biggest
As a fashion illustrator, femininity is constantly on my mind! I love that I have the power to represent all women, so I consciously try to work against what is considered the ideal, and illustrate ethnicities and body types that I, as a woman, want to see more of—this has been liberating!
Some challenges? I feel that the commercial illustration world is still male dominant, but
recently, it's been awesome to see platforms dedicated to supporting female artists,
such as Women Who Draw and Pool Creatives.
Do you ever explore different mediums or make physical products? Have you
ever considered fashion design?
Yes! I'm finally beginning to play around with ceramics, sculpture and painting on
garments. I would love to eventually launch a line of accessories that explore print. I
experimented with textile design and digital printing during my final year of fashion, so
it's been fun coming back full circle and applying everything I know.