Saksham Verma is an illustrator, graphic designer and street Artist. Who is driven by popular culture of the past and present, that usually is where most of his inspiration comes from apart from his own experiences and subconscious understanding. He believes in simplifying complexities and loves to find ways in which he can communicate with diverse cultures and communities.
Although he has a degree in visual communication and illustration, he is an avid participant in public contemporary art practices and enjoys working with concepts revolving around illusions and physics,
What got you started as a designer in the first place? What’s your favorite art form? For how long have you been designing, creating art?
I guess I got familiar with the term “designer” when I entered college. I started off with a very basic set of skills of drawing and flat painting, I paid more attention towards building my attributes and increasing my knowledge about sketching. Thats when most of my schooling went in just doodling and practicing my form. I never really learned how to paint until I realised my interest and fixation towards pop art. In the process of trying to save money to buy posters, I started painting them myself, on canvases, figuring out how I can make an entire portrait out of just a limited colour palette.
Thats when I formed a grip on creating pop art on recurring events and increasing my scale painting after painting.
A while later I went to college and I learned the art of building concepts and creating art for a reason. This brought about a huge change in my thinking about creating something which has depth but at the same time catering to my old aesthetics of being approachable and comprehendible to the common eye.
I was introduced to public art in my first year, and I started painting Murals for my college projects and personal portfolio.
Eventually I started to digitise my art and got familiar with Adobe Softwares to take it to the next level.
My skills and interest also expanded towards space design, physics, illusion based art forms. I was a huge fan of creative music videos that inspired me to do something of that sort myself. OK GO is a big inspiration behind me getting into a phase of creating optical illusion and anamorphic art.
Can you talk a little bit about your inspirations/artists whom you look up to?
I have a wide variety of artist who I have deep respect for. The utmost artist whose inspired me the most has to be Shephard Fairey, he’s the artist behind the Obama’s HOPE poster and the OBEY campaign. I really respect his aesthetics of using pop culture icons and advertisements in his artwork to spread messages about obedience and agility amongst the mass.
I also enjoy works of Grzegorz Domaradzki, he’s famous for illustrating movie posters and collaterals of Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar. I like his sense of composition and it takes me back to my phase of sketching.
For illusion based art forms, I follow Felice Varini and J.R who create some super huge artworks in public spaces. And ofcourse the American pop band OK GO
We’d love to know what goes behind the scenes and would like to know little about your processes?
Well each of my project has a slight diverse set of pathway interns of technicalities. But my process generally starts of by what and how I feel.
I usually tend to dwell a lot into a particular idea and start simplifying and deconstructing it. I try to make my thoughts as easy to communicate as possible.
Then I start figuring out a form : where it could be a plain sketch, print media, digital art, a mural or maybe public installation.
After that I get to the technicalities and physics of it. Sometimes it goes back and forth of creating outlines, forms, options and often figuring out the physical possibilities of it happening.
I also consider time and my calendar as a huge tool in determining the intensity of any personal project. I time personal projects in terms of keeping up with active issues and events.
Stages of Love
Being my latest project just started of as an idea of me trying to contemplate certain events of my life and visualising them with the help of Hindi Cinema.
I came across the concept of Seven stages of love, from the trailer of the movie “Ded Ishqiya”. That dialogue was enough to trigger me to think beyond this concept and its relationship to the present Hindi cinema.
I did quite a lot of research and associated films from the past and present in helping myself explain what It actually felt like to be in those seven stages. And thats how I narrowed it down to seven films that had specific scenes in explaining respective stages.
Then I started to start illustrating and making rough layouts of those stages.
Eventually I started to compose my forms and portraits to make it more iconic.
After that I chose a form in which I would like to release the images on, Initially the idea was ending with a set of illustrations/ Posters. But I felt it could provoke more interest if they were on a similar aesthetic product, such as a VHS tape. My parents being a topnotch fan of entertainment, had a huge collection which helped me adjust my layout and produce my illustrations a s a form of an actual cassette.
Eventually from the idea of VHS tapes, came film and trailers. So I decided to create snippets and trailers from THE SPECEFIC scenes from the stages to help my audience understand the project even better. By this time I started to bombard my Instagram with trailers after trailers to increase curiosity and gain attention.
Just as I thought I would end this, I pushed myself to create merchandise around it.
And currently Im at a stage where I’m finding myself selling T-shirts and Posters for a project that just started off from me watching an ad of Ded Ishqiyas, on the TV.
I guess the whole technical aspect of me creating any artform wasn’t as necessary as much as me believing in it and building it forward and forward. Im quite happy and surprised with the response. Im really pumped to do similar stuff and showcasing new ideas in the form of illustration, packaging, merchandising and even marketing them.
What are your interests besides designing and creating art?
I have cliched interests like traveling and music. But i genuinely love meeting new people from different backgrounds, (that obviously happens more when you travel). I was on a 6 month exchange programme in Orleans, France, when I realised my love for Wine and Cheese.
I’m a big fan of the 80s hollywood music, but I keep switching to house and alternative rock.
I also love to snapchat and act sometimes.
How important is it for you to sell art pieces?
I guess for me, its quite necessary as its important for people to realise that these things do come with a price tag at some point. I facilitate the idea to be free and available to the mass, But I also believe in the concept of motivation and gaining. If none sells their art, the results may land an artist to reach a level of vulnerability and cautious behaviour, which no artist would like to face.
I accept myself as being a commercial artist, but I very well believe in giving people a reason to pay me for what I create. And thats what every merchant should realise and preach.
All illustrations by Saksham Verma