INDepth: With Sachin Samson

INDepth: With Sachin Samson

FTC caught up with the talented Bangalore-based, artist and illustrator as part of the ongoing INDepth series. Read on to get a closer look at some of his captivating artworks and illustrations.

INDepth by FTC is an ongoing exploration of all the uncut diamonds that are making their mark in India's growing cultural community.

Bangalore based illustrator and artist, Sachin Samson creates intricate dreamscapes and portraits that will leave you in awe. FTC caught up with the illustrator to get a closer look at his craft and journey so far.

At first glance, Samson comes across as the quintessential indie, nomadic character of an artist portrayed in countless movies. But with time, the individual behind that aesthetic, comes to light. With his self deprecating laugh, genuine gratitude to compliments he has probably heard several times already, and overall soft-spoken nature, Samson is as humble as they come.

Hailing from Kochi, Kerala, Samson's art is heavily influenced by the city and the culture surrounding God's Own Country. With artworks that depict local fisherman, origami banana leaf sculptures and ethnic beauties draped in muslin, it is clear the artist has very strong connections to his roots. Growing up in a creative atmosphere with his father, a zoology professor who was also an avid painter, lead Samson to be exposed to the artistic and colourful side of life early on.

"I started drawing and painting with my father. He used to paint, and when I was growing up our house was full of artworks, so that definitely had an influence on my journey. My grandmother used to tell me all these bedtime stories and I used to visualize and imagine all the characters – these mythical creatures and legends. It helped me develop visualization skills and motivated me to sketch them out. It was when I entered college though, that I understood how important this field is and took it seriously."

Sachin Samson

A graduate in animation design, Samson initially entered the field due to his interest in sketching characters and being able to tell stories from those illustrations. He discloses, however, that it was hard to convey certain stories because animation consists of a long process that requires an entire team to work on the film, and he preferred being able to tell quick stories that he could work on himself.

"After college, I started focusing on illustrations. I worked as a commercial artist in a few companies but I wasn't satisfied – the idea of working for someone, I wasn't very comfortable with that. So I quit my job and started focusing on painting. I realized I wanted to work on my own projects and creative flow without any limits."

Sachin Samson

With primary inspirations centered around Indian culture and cities, Samson brings to light everyday concepts and spaces in his unique way. The artist discloses how he despises imitating styles and has created his visual identity more organically, over some time, through practice and trying out different styles.

"Everyone takes some sort of inspiration from the great masters - the renaissance period and even the modern period. But when it comes to your own work, I value the uniqueness that comes along with having a personal style. It doesn't just come on its own, style is a process, the more you draw, it's like your hand and brain just develop this link where you're visualizing things and your hand automatically starts representing them."

Sachin Samson

He also cites his love for traveling as the motivation behind finding new inspirations and constantly evolving as an individual and artist. Known for his interesting line drawings, Samson maintains a sketchbook that he carries with him every time he travels and fills the pages with quick 10-15 minute sketches of interesting people and characters that he comes across. (He went on to create a quick 5-minute portrait sketch of our editor, during this interview as well!)

"Chat Sketch"
"Chat Sketch"

"All of these drawings have some type of story attached to them. The more you sketch, it ends up being a visual journal of your own life. It's an experience to be able to flip through a notebook and be instantly taken back to that time and feeling. To me, Art is nothing but finding your journey and presenting it to the world in the most authentic way you can."

Sachin Samson

With several of his artworks depicting the different places he has traveled to, Samson maintains that Rajasthan with its myriad of colours, folk music and cultural influences holds a special place in his heart.

"I meet so many different people in every place that I travel to. On a trip to Rajasthan recently, there were certain gypsy tribes that I met when I was traveling in the rural areas. Some of the elders explained to me the history behind their culture, why things are the way they are. From their garments to their folk music to the architecture, everything has meaning, everything has its history. It's so intriguing – this is what I want to know, this is what I want to sketch."

Sachin Samson

When going through Samson's work, a style that truly stands out is the several sketches that have been done using charcoal and gold leaf. The artist explains how he tends to prefer working with solid materials and how charcoal has a certain rustic aesthetic that is accented perfectly with the ornate gold leaf that makes for the ideal medium to execute his illustrations.

"I don't like very finished or polished work. I like the sense of rawness and texture in my work. The reason I have gravitated towards this style is also that it tends to mimic my quick journal sketches. When we paint classicly it is a different style altogether – almost academic in its perfection. I wanted to try something new and the use of charcoal came about when I was working on a mural piece in Fort Kochi. I was thrilled with the results and it made me happy to see people being able to connect to the artwork and give it that sort of recognition. It ended up being displayed in some scenes in movies – Karwaan and Solo."

Sachin Samson

Samson's artwork has a sense of mindfulness attached to its creation. Each piece has a particular narrative and portrays a sense of identity that a viewer can connect with. Amongst a generation focused on creating in bulk and getting too caught up to find the true reason behind their creations, perceiving artworks with deeper meanings as well as cultural and personal significances is a refreshing change of pace.

Having worked on several large scale mural commissions, the artist holds names of popular hotel chains like Hyatt and Marriott on his roster and reveals the trials tribulations that come along with creating artworks of this magnitude.

"When your work is on a large scale it makes a lot of difference. The most challenging part is to convince the client that it is possible. Business people are very different from creative people and it is getting that balance between the two entities and being able to convince them about your artistic vision is very important. In that way, going to a design school helped me prepare to deal with these challenges."

Sachin Samson

Samson's murals invoke emotion and feeling that lifts the atmosphere of the room. The creativity emanates from the walls and the sheer amount of hard work is evident.

"From the first phone call to executing the initial design on a digital screen so that the client has an idea of how the final product will turn out, it's a process that sometimes involves a team of people to help execute the final work. It's like your baby! You have such an attachment to the pieces given the amount of time and effort that has gone into creating them."

Sachin Samson

The illustrator also holds a keen interest in videography and his Instagram page contains several short videos and clips shot by his brother and him, showcasing his design process, travel diaries and hobby of skateboarding.

"My younger brother is a cinematographer. Most of the time we travel together, we're very like-minded so we share ideas and inspire each other. He introduced me to some of the best films I've seen, so yeah I do have a slight interest in film making. I feel like every discipline has its own aesthetic and I love to explore different mediums. Film is a beautiful medium with its own charm."

Sachin Samson

On his upcoming projects and plans for the coming future, the artist discloses he is currently working on his ongoing Rajasthan series and has a few collaboration in the pipeline.

"When things slowly get back to normal, I have a couple of shows that I have planned. I'm also working on a couple of interior design projects where I'm collaborating with a few designers. We're planning a concept house in Bangalore and it's going to be filled with art. So every wall will have my work!"

Sachin Samson

Every creator has their own definition and meaning attached to the word 'culture'. Samson elaborates on his take on the culture and what he aims to contribute to it through his medium of art and design.

"Today we live in this rush of a culture – its all fast-paced, partying and whatnot. I believe that everything is based on Time and Space. Time changes people and cultures, and as artists' we are trying to document these experiences. I'm trying to bring in these cultures in a few frames – one is our generation and one is the older generation."

Sachin Samson

Samson's portfolio consists of a large variety of work with one underlying theme prevalent throughout all the pieces - his love for his culture and background.

The illustrations and paintings depict Indian culture and people with a contemporary take and are equally thought-provoking as they are beautiful.

The artworks are bound to leave a lasting impression on any viewer, head on over to the artist's Instagram to have a closer look.

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