Veer Misra, is a graphic designer, illustrator, and an artist, who spends most of his time creating thought-provoking art and visuals, for the youth struggling to find their true voice. He mentioned “My work only partially makes me feel better. A lot of it is my own response to my emotional state, in turn offering help to someone who might be going through similar things.”
What’s your biggest source of inspiration and where do you generally look for inspiration?
I think it mostly comes from my own life. Of course, a lot of my work is informed by ideas like mental health, and LGBTQ themes, but I’m really just trying to create art and images I wish I had had growing up. I’ve often felt confused and trapped within my own self and personality. My work only partially makes me feel better. A lot of it is my own response to my emotional state, in turn offering help to someone who might be going through similar things.
I’d be a flat out liar if I said I didn’t have a makeshift mood-board, everywhere from Tumblr to Pinterest to Instagram. But other than that, I try to look at a lot of new journalistic websites and culture magazines like them.us or i-D, because they fall within ideologies that aren’t starkly different.
Who is your work majorly inspired by?
There’s a huge part of me that likes to make the more realistic art look like an old school film photograph, or a moment, rather, somewhere captured in time. My inspiration really keeps changing. I’m really not the same person I was a year ago, and definitely not who I was two years ago. For the moment, I’m really vibing a lot of Petra Collins and a lot of Marilyn Minter.
What’s it like to come across so much content on the internet and everywhere else? How do you maintain the edge? How do you make sure that you’re inspired just enough to still come up with original content?
I think it’s really easy to get swayed by an art style that seems exclusive to a particular person. Especially if it just piques your interest. Sometimes I end up trying to replicate it, mostly because I’m inspired. But I don’t work in the same way as whoever this person is, and I never will. So I know it’ll come out different. You kind of just have to have that tiny level of trust in yourself. Furthermore, a lot of my work is inspired by themes I read about. Those themes don’t necessarily look like anything in my head, till I somehow manage to put an image to it myself.
Every artist, every creator has a process of coming up with ideas and executing them. What’s your process like?
Mine really, REALLY differs from time to time. I don’t necessarily have any kind of set process. It really goes from drawing and scanning, or drawing digitally. Sometimes it’s taking a super raw looking photograph and distorting the fuck out of it. I’m mostly just trying to subvert a the way people look at men and women, as men and women.
What’s the approach like? Is it more traditional pen-paper based or digital?
Either. It really just depends on the image in my head.
Can you talk about your favourite projects?
I don’t think I have a favourite, per say. I usually really hate my work, right after I make it. If I really had to choose though, I’d say my Body series, that looked at the lack of media attention towards diversity within male body types, and how exacting male body standards can be.
What’s the major theme and medium that you work around mostly? Most of your illustrations, we figure are trying to highlight issues related to ‘gender’, are they?
As I mentioned before, I’m mostly just trying to make stuff I wish I could’ve seen as a 15 year old. Using a gender lens is very, very important to me. It’s a subject that’s so anthropologically diverse, and so close to me. I’m increasingly becoming very well aware of the fact that what we see is never going to be what we get, and in some ways, it really shouldn’t be. And that’s currently what gender is. It’s an idea that for some reason, people have been increasingly hesitant to decode. I just believe that everyone is valid, and that’s mostly just what I try to get at. Off late, I’ve been trying to make the people in my drawings, as gender fluid as possible.
Empowering someone, or an entire gender means to educate the rest about their struggles. If it were up to you, what would you do (as an artist) or currently doing to spread awareness?
Masculinity has been a general focal point for me for the past year. For the first half of 2018, I was working on my graduation project for college, about how we understand and interpret men within society. Most importantly, about how problematic that interpretation actually is. How talking about men is rooted deep into feminist ideology from the very beginning. We have to liberate everyone, and I flat out refuse to stop till I’m done. I think a large part of my approach is to expose masculinity as the performative behaviour it is and how ridiculously it’s understood, so for that reason, my work just tries to fight it out.
It happens with most of us, creatives and non-creatives are misunderstood. Has it ever happened to you that as an artist your personal projects were misunderstood and you had to face some sort of ‘backlash’ from the general audiences online? If yes, what did you do to deal with it?
I’m never going to be the person to say someone else is thinking the wrong way, at the same time I’m aware that perfect representation doesn’t exist. but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive towards it. All I know, and all I want people to know about me, is that I really, REALLY, love people. I love people for who they are and whoever they love. At this point, I’m getting so jaded with current affairs, I don’t care about any potential backlash anymore. I believe in people, and I believe in their validity. If you don’t believe every single person deserves to be equal, check yourself, F-Off, and scroll along. I can’t care enough to have time for you. That being said, I am generally accepting and accommodating of other opinions. I’d rather sit down with you if you’re willing and have a genuine conversation with you about our differing standpoints. Let’s find a place to agree and find a place to disagree
All images by Veer Misra.