Artist profile: Raj Kamal Aich

The joy in art

Culture

News - India & You

August 22, 2017

/ By / Kolkata



Raj's art transforms the banality of daily objects to quirky, fun pieces

Raj’s art transforms the banality of daily objects to quirky, fun pieces

Raj Kamal Aich, a New Delhi based art director speaks about his views on art and his vision -encouraging us to find inspiration all around.

Having fun with art is perhaps not taught in most academies. To excel at something or to even find a way to master it must mean to be serious to adhere to set guidelines and visions. These are notions we have all been sold to us and pushed as what is the ultimate truth. Speaking to Raj Kamal Aich, these notions disappear and transform into bringing back the idea that art is first and foremost a medium of expression, which can also bring happiness to the creator and observer. Raj showcases through his distinct form of art that the need for validation, particularly in today’s digital age of likes and views, is dangerous to the beauty of nurturing uniqueness.

Raj shares his ‘motivations’ or the wide range that the inspiration for his art. “Most of what you see me sharing online, which I’ve tried to build like a digital gallery, is just me having fun. I am always finding forms and figures all around me.” Though Raj has been an artist who has seen several projects and works of his that has seen news coverage and ‘viral’ statuses online, that hardly affects the artist who makes art as an individual, shedding the need for validation. “Most of the work you see online is also some sort of practice. Commercial work is important to survive as an artist but that should hardly be the motivation for art. Opinions on art sway easily and change according to what the conversation of the day is.”

Food items used to create a resumé by the artist, shared on Twitter, went viral

Food items used to create a resumé by the artist, shared on Twitter, went viral

Having grown up in a family full of artists, Raj is no stranger to nudity and other subjects which an increasingly hyper-sensitive India finds taboo. An image of a sanitary napkin that commented on the 12 pc tax slab it fell under, in the recently implemented Goods and Services Tax regime in India, depicted by the artist, was among his works that have received media attention. “Women were largely supportive of this art, yet there were negative responses from many because the sanitary napkin is something that has been equated with garbage in India as men here are hardly exposed to this object that is used for a bodily function by a woman. I only made my art as I felt this is a point of discussion that needs to be out there.” Continuing on a lighter note, he jokes, “In such a case, shouldn’t babies be taxed for occupying their mother’s womb for nine months?”

Raj's 'period art' has found a large audience

Raj’s ‘period art’ has found a large audience

How to go viral

The artist Raj Kamal Aich works as an art director but has mostly been noted for the content he shares online

The artist Raj Kamal Aich works as an art director but has mostly been noted for the content he shares online

Raj agrees that social media serves as an important platform for artists in a digital age. “There is no doubt that artists have found a worldwide stage and personally it has helped with growing my audience.” Yet, he remains critical of the nature the digital world has harboured among artists of younger generations. “If the benchmark for good art is based on validation by others, that is saddening. After all, in such a situation, Dhinchak Pooja (a viral, social media sensation) might as well run a close competition with Kishore Kumar (a legendary, acclaimed film and music personality).”

Raj’s case, with his series of food infographics as resumés, which were also read and shared widely, also gives an indication of how disconnected the social media platform can be with reality. “Sadly I didn’t get a single job offer after that. However, my work did get published in some books in Japan as well as China,” shared Raj. On his advice to young artists, besides urging authenticity, he shared, “The one real way of becoming viral is to go stand in the rain!”

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