INDepth: with Kushagra Gupta

INDepth: with Kushagra Gupta

Step into the hauntingly beautiful world of the visual artist and designer, Kushagra Gupta that's equal parts borderline hypnotic and stimulating.

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

The fair share of aesthetically pleasing content you have consumed being internet babies will all turn to dust as you head over to Kushagra Gupta’s hypnotic art account that’ll leave you in a state of trance, all while stimulating the sh*t out of your brain.

Beginning of Kushlet

The visual artist and designer hailing from Kolkata developed an inkling for art and nature early on as a child, courtesy of his creatively inclined parents. With an internet name of kushlet and a degree in graphic design from MIT Institute of Design, he kickstarted his freelance graphic design and art career last year. Talking about how he wants his art to be perceived, he said,

“I’d love for my artworks to transport people to an inexplicable, but stimulating and pleasurable state of mind. I want to produce an aesthetic experience that is similar to looking at a flower or the clouds.”

Kushagra Gupta

While last year was an excruciatingly painful trainwreck, Gupta managed to stay consistent throughout, posting his work almost every day. “Well, I did have a bit of time on my hands staying at home all this while and trying to regularly create an artwork gave a rhythm to the otherwise dreadful days.”

The superman-ly task of churning out art daily must come from an endless stream of inspiration for which Kushagra turns to a plethora of sources. Looking out the window morphed into a reliable shoulder in times of need for him. Online fan-art communities often played muse for him too while other times he found inspirational refuge in video games, animated films, and/or an encyclopedia.

To sell or not to sell your artworks as NFTs

The pandemic also got the visual artist into the NFT world which he stepped into cautiously and only after understanding NFTs and their environmental impact more. Building on it, he said, “I’m definitely less experienced than a lot of other artists when it comes to this as I avoided dropping NFTs on mainstream platforms (that are not very good for the environment)."

"I really like the kind of alternative space that is offered by platforms like Hic Et Nunc. It runs on the Tezos blockchain which is much more energy-efficient and so has a very minimal environmental impact compared to ethereum-based platforms. The way forward is to consciously choose clean NFT platforms that are non-proof-of-work based and are also transparent and ethical with their philosophy.”

A rewarding (read: slightly intimidating) foray into 3D art

Exploration of 3D art for the visual artist began in the latter part of his college, the process of which he found initially intimidating, beseeching him to give up at times. But, the lockdown bestowed him with beautiful time coupled with unwavering patience to school himself in 3D softwares through the gift that is the internet and of course, personal experimentation.

Gupta eventually found joy in the sheer textures and dimensionality that 3D art had the capacity to explore that he thought was otherwise very difficult to achieve. His fascination with 3D art is particularly with works that flawlessly intertwine traditional graphic design elements. For fellow artists who are also making their way into the hauntingly beautiful word of 3D design, he advised,

“I think the vastness of possibilities and capabilities in 3D design can sometimes be an inhibiting factor. It’s important to know that you don't need to learn every aspect of the software - just the few that are accessible or fun. Something helpful is to be aware of all the resources, training, and assets that are available on the internet. While a lot of them are free and easily accessible, investing in 3D training resources by artists on Patreon and Greyscale Gorilla is definitely worth it.”

Kushagra Gupta

Politics and art

Foraying into political art, Gupta elaborates on a piece he churned out during the CAA protests in India. He says, “To be specific, the artwork in question was not particularly against the CAA, but more as an expression of despair and dissent against the ways in which the ruling government has stoked communal disharmony and inspired very bigoted majoritarian attitudes. Since then I haven’t created art that has a political or moral implication, mainly because it felt redundant and exhausting."

"There has been a kind of commodification of political art or the ‘protest aesthetic’ which I definitely wanted to avoid falling for. I think we all are already very overstimulated by the constant flow of news of atrocities and injustices happening all around us, and so, instead I sought for a sense of calm and stability in my artworks.”

On an ending note, Gupta also went on to say,

“I think art is extremely important when it comes to bringing social change and creating visual symbols of the anguish and frustration that is felt by a lot of people. I view political memes as a form of art too, which are accessible and often thought-provoking.”

Kushagra Gupta

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