Inspire Your Heart with Art: Virginia Morrison and Janvi Ramchandra

From the stages and classrooms of the newly expanded Maltz Performing Arts Center to collaborations with nearby cultural organizations, Case Western Reserve University is home to incredible opportunities in dance, art, theater and music. Students, faculty and staff at the College of Arts and Sciences and beyond routinely showcase their talents through exhibitions, productions, concerts and more. In honor of Inspire Your Heart with Art Day (Jan. 31), The Daily is putting a spotlight on individuals across campus who have a passion for creating—whether that be through painting, theater or even baking. We were so blown away by the volume of submissions—and the talent in our community—we’ve decided to dedicate a whole week to showcasing some of the many artists at CWRU.

Today, we’re sharing the work of two artists—Virginia Morrison, a staff member and photographer, and Janvi Ramchandra, an undergraduate student and artist who specializes in drawing. Some of their answers have been lightly edited. 

Virginia Morrison

Photo of Virginia Morrison laying on film slides
Virginia Morrison

Virginia Morrison, executive aide to the vice president for University Technology/chief information officer, is always working on a project—in one way or another. More often than not, those projects involve photography. In the early 1980s, Morrison discovered a passion for viewing life through a camera lens, and she’s been creating photographs ever since. 

She’s grateful to her [U]Tech colleagues who have been generous enough to let her fill the walls of their office with photographs.

1. Can you talk about your art?

Making photographs is a meditative and constant practice for me, and a way to share with others what I think is worth paying attention to. I typically work in series and often channel my training as a painter. This image-making activity is an addiction, a chronic preoccupation. It becomes the way I experience and document the world, and the way I share my vision with others.

2. What intrigued you about this art form?

The lens acts as a funnel for personal visual experience. If it’s worth noticing, it’s probably worth contemplation through image-making and sharing. I walk through life with my camera making choices about how to share things that otherwise might not be noticed and exposing the ordinary as extraordinary.

3. Where do you take inspiration from?

I am inspired by other artists, by light, texture, color and other visual elements, by “the decisive moment,” and especially by nature.

Photo compilation of photographs by Virginia Morrison one of a house with ominous clouds overhead and another looking out at Wade Lagoon
Photographs by Virginia Morrison

4. How have you shared your work (if you have)?

I have exhibited locally and beyond, shared work through Instagram (“mulefan”) and a website, produced a mailed photo project in small editions, and I’ve given presentations about my work.

5. What do you love most about creating?

I love how a process that starts with paying attention can evolve into so much more.

Janvi Ramchandra

Comic by Janvi Ramchandra of a woman with a hearing aid and text that says "Your Love Language"
Your Love Language by Janvi Ramchandra

Janvi Ramchandra, a second-year pre-med student in the College of Arts and Sciences, is an award-winning artist. Since they were young, they’ve enjoyed making comics and sharing their craft with those around them. Art isn’t just a hobby to Ramchandra, but a form of stress relief. 

1. Can you talk about your art?

This summer I worked on and published an eight-page graphic novel with the San Jose Public Library in California titled Your Love Language. I was the first-place winner in the adults category for the library’s 2021 Graphic Novel Contest sponsored by DC Comics, Disney, Sakura of America, and Illusive Comics and Games. My novel follows a young woman named Jocelyn on her journey to learn sign language to be able to convey her feelings for her girlfriend Rosie. Take a look at the contest winners, and my comic!  

2. What intrigued you about this art form?

I love being able to design characters and construct story plots to show their development. I started my art journey by drawing on the side of my middle school notes and it eventually progressed into painting, inking and working with realism as well semi-realism. 

In high school, I began my journey with digital art by starting an Instagram account to draw my favorite celebrities. The account was noticed by celebrities such as Nicki Minaj, Hailee Steinfeld, Becky G, and several famous Youtubers. This propelled me to pick back up my love for making comics and publish two pieces, Anxiety and Your Love Language.

3. Where do you take inspiration from?

A lot of my inspiration comes from my own life whether it be friends or different circumstances I have been in. Many characters that I create are based on people I have met in my own life and also myself. I find that I enjoy making art the most when I can incorporate a little element of myself in my works. I also get inspiration from other artists that I look up to such as Japanese manga creators or artists on social media.

4. How have you shared your work (if you have)?

I have shared my digital art realism works through Instagram. My comics Anxiety and Your Love Language are published at every San Jose Library branch in the Bay Area, California. I also continue to share my art at Comic Cons that I am a panelist at, for example, this summer I was invited to the San Jose Comic Con to offer advice to kids who are starting off their art journey, much like I did many years ago.

5. What do you love most about creating?

The best thing about making art to me is to be able to make pieces that have a meaningful impact and message. The recent comics I have published have explored mental health as well as the LGBT+ community, themes that I continue to be passionate about and pursue in my extracurricular activities at CWRU.