One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight – Janath Gamage, Leo Burnett Sri Lanka

Highlighting young talent in the ad world – one person at a time.

As part of an ongoing series highlighting young talent in the industry, Branding in Asia brings you “One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight”, a feature focusing on up-and-coming individuals in the ad world.

Next up is Janath Gamage, Art Director at Leo Burnett Sri Lanka. A native of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Janath was behind the highly-awarded Petal Paint campaign. A creative endeavor that Mark Tutssel last year told us was one of the campaigns of which he is most proud of from the agency.

“Not only does it create beauty from something culturally significant, it reduces waste by turning something that would have ended up in a landfill into a beautiful product that the public can enjoy.”


In this week’s Young Creative Spotlight Gamage tells us more about that campaign, and about himself.

The Basics

Name: Janath Gamage
Age: 27
Agency: Leo Burnett Sri Lanka
Position: Art Director
Hometown: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Current Location: Colombo
Education: Bachelor of Design (Multimedia Design) from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak (Malaysian Campus) – I had to return to Sri Lanka before the end of my final year due to financial constraints. However, I was able to go back to uni last year…when I was given the incredible opportunity to sit on the other side this time and deliver a couple of guest lectures.

Seven Questions

How did you get your first break in the industry?

I joined a local ad agency by the name Holmes Pollard & Stott as an 18-year-old intern fresh out of high school for my first stint in advertising before I went off to university.

After studying design by day, bartending by night, and doing small-scale freelance gigs in between I returned to Sri Lanka and landed an interview at Leo Burnett Sri Lanka with former CCO Trevor Kennedy and BAM! Here I am -A full-fledged Art Director almost 4 years later!


What is your personal mantra?

Life, uh, finds a way.

Just kidding. I don’t think I have a single sentence to sum it all up. I believe when it comes to creativity, insights and ideas my belief is to look at things like a tourist (or an alien) and you’ll see SO much more – because half the time I DO feel like a tourist or an alien.

Also, live humorously.

From what person, place, or thing have you drawn your greatest creative inspiration?

Humans. Talk to people, you’ll see.

When I was in uni, I would strike up a conversation with just random people at local bars or where I was bartending – you wouldn’t believe the stories I heard! People are filled with the craziest stories.

What do you love about the job?

To be able to spew out my imagination.

And not get judged for it. -ish.

And get paid for it too.

What about your job are you not so crazy about?

Not being able to spend enough time playing ball.

What is some work you’ve done that you’re most proud of?

My latest project Petal Paint is one I’m most proud of.

One day, when I was walking around in a Buddhist temple in Anuradhapura, I stumbled upon a towering mound of fresh temple flowers discarded in the trash. So when I spoke with the nearest temple worker nearby I found out that tonnes of flowers are just thrown out every day.

Convinced that these flowers could still have a purpose, I stumbled upon the perfect solution: Through a process of extracting the pigments of color from flowers, paint could be created -paint that could help restore the fading mural art of the very temples these flowers had been offered to.

With the assistance of JAT Paints, the Petal Paint team here and my mentor Anthony Chelvanathan and his team from Leo Burnett Toronto who came on board, brought this idea to life.

I learned so much from this campaign, about leadership, responsibility, design, crafting and what it takes to win metal as it went on to win a lot of metal including a D&AD Impact pencil!

If you had to choose another career what would it be?

A paleontologist. That was my childhood ambition. I was super obsessed with Jurassic Park and anything dinosaur related when I was a kid, and well, not much has changed!

Want to submit your suggestion for One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight? Feel free to drop us a line: [email protected]

Bobby McGill

Bobby McGill

Bobby is the founder and publisher of Branding in Asia.

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