Natasha Sumant is a creative director and artist living between New York City and Mumbai. Born and raised in India, Natasha moved to New York to be an art director/designer. She has worked with many fashion brands to help them with branding, art direction, and their web design. She started Gundi as her personal art project in 2016 and has since come a long way establishing a strong connection with many communities.
Here’s our (un-edited)conversation with Natasha a.k.a Gundi.
What’s your biggest source of inspiration?
Other womxn that I meet who embody things that I wish I had, and things that they teach me. Travel is also another huge source. Solo traveling for me is essential to process things I have experienced and its the state in which I am the most innovative. Being forced into a different place and learning empathy and perspective. And MIA, she’s a genius, and my mum and how she carries herself through the world with resilience.
Do you think people spend more time looking for inspiration than actually implementing what they already know? Is there a process or a way to get inspired, or people going through all those Pinterest pins have been misinformed about ‘how to get inspired’?
I think Pinterest is a great tool but shouldn’t be a source of “inspiration”. I am a Pinterest feind. But that’s because it really helps me with my job, and showing clients what I’m thinking. But original thought should come from a deeper conceptual place. Most people can see through what you’ve been inspired by, they usually respond to the idea, not always how you’ve illustrated/executed the idea.
What’s art to you? Is it more like therapy to break out from the constant work pressure or is it something you practice to communicate with others?
I’m an art director by trade and would totally be a fulltime artist if it was feasible. Art to me is a practice of self-discovery, a way to process what I know and communicate what I feel.
Is there a time when you’re not creating stuff and simply taking a break from everything? If yes, how often do you take such breaks? If not, how do you consistently manage to come up with new art pieces and ideas?
Haha, my problem is that I don’t take enough breaks. But when I do I try to travel, or just cook with friends and do really boring things. I have a backlog of ideas so whatever you’re seeing is stuff I’ve thought of ages ago and I’m just coming around to doing it.
What is Gundi Studios?
Gundi is my project. I think the word “Studio” can be kind of misleading. Gundi is a streetwear line for womxn, and we make media and art around feminist themes, which is why the word “Studio”. Like an art studio – where you make things, and there are no limits with the medium.
Every artist, every creator has a process of coming up with ideas and executing them. What’s your process like?
Not going to lie my process is pretty random. It usually stems from something I’ve experienced and then I try to make it a thing. It’s always my way to make something interesting out of a bad situation.
For example, I was in a long-distance relationship that didn’t work out. So I made a piece called “Hanging up”. All my work comes from personal experience and then I usually find ways to execute my idea. For gundi I knew I wanted to make clothes, so I just tried to refine my vision and then broke down how to go about executing it. Most times I don’t know how to execute what I want to make, so I just make it a learning experience.
As an artist, what kind of projects do you to relate to the most?
I love autobiographical works or any work with strong symbolism. I relate to work that politicizes the personal. I’m also very interested in the impact that technology is having on art. AI, and generative art etc. I love Svedaliza’s videos, I relate a lot to FKA Twigs and MIA. Visual artists that really speak to me are Dali, Virgil Abloh.
What are the kinds of projects you personally prefer pursuing?
As an art director and as a womxn I like working in the fashion, beauty and entertainment realm — I like to link how those realms relate to larger themes and their impact on the world. Which so far, I’ve only been able to do with Gundi.
Is there a common message that you’re always trying to deliver through your projects?
Yes, it’s always about womxns empowerment, and some sort of social commentary, when it comes to my personal work. I’m a huge believer in the personal is political. As for client work, its based more on emotion and the commercial message we are trying to communicate.