Pandemic Art: Mind Jenga
Artist Interview: Raghav Sood
Char Sui Covid
This week on Snorts, we bring to you an individual whose talent varies across a myriad different forms of art. Raghav Sood is an artist, a cook, a magician, a writer, and a million other things at the same time, and as so many of us do, he too struggles to achieve balance juggling these many different things. A lot of his art, is about finding the right balance. Read on.
Samarth: Talk to us about your style, and how it has evolved. What would someone who has never seen your art expect?
Raghav: I would say my style is eclectic but also not fully there yet. Fortunately or unfortunately I haven’t found my style yet but I’m getting there, I try very hard to merge the line between analogue work and digital work.
I find the convenience and finished look of an art piece I do digitally, appealing, but at the same time I love the process of drawing and creating something by hand. Over the past two years my style has varied as I like to try different mediums.
Once I get an idea the first thing I do is figure out what would be the best medium for its execution, do I use lines and shapes to create a digital vector design, do I use photography and capture the perfect moment, or do I use ink and paper to display the emotions I’m trying to express. It all depends on the idea. However at times my skill level doesn’t match the idea and the execution it deserves. I am limited by my skill but I’m constantly trying to improve and once I get there I’m sure I’ll find my style.
Samarth: It’s interesting that you don’t limit yourself by any one single form of art, but as you’ve said in your case, the idea clearly determines the form a work should take. How do your ideas find their way to you?
Raghav: The thing about ideas is that sometimes you get one straight away and you know exactly what to do with it but for the most part it’s a battle between you and a white piece of paper. It’s just sitting down on your study table looking at that piece of paper and trying to make the most of it. Often times you lose that battle but any time I find myself struggling too much I look at this well curated portfolio I have of all my favourite artists, photographers and designers. Looking at their work gives me a lot of inspiration and motivation and I try my hardest to take that inspiration and put it to good use.
Samarth: What is it like making art during the quarantine. How much of social interaction do you rely on for your art, and does the lack of it have an impact on your creative pursuits?
Raghav: Making art during the quarantine was easy in the beginning. I had a lot of time on my hands and nowhere to be. I could focus on my art completely, but as weeks passed it kept getting more difficult due to my being in the same environment for too long. It’s like a broken record – you keep listening to that same song over and over again and you will one day get bored of it.
The execution part isn’t as much of a challenge as getting an idea is. I am used to working at coffee shops or busy streets or even the metro. I rarely did any work at home but now I had no choice. Some days the artist in me wins and some days he loses. I don’t rely on social interaction but I do rely on the environment I choose to work in, no matter how hard you try you can’t force something brilliant to come out of you all the time, you need to constantly be experiencing new things in order to keep your brain excited, the minute you stop being in a state of play everything gets disrupted.
Yes, a lot of my plans have been disrupted due to the lockdown I was going to open a self-publishing online shop that I had to set aside, I was working on various freelance projects which had to stop as well. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about it except wait for the right time to grab the wheel again.
Samarth: Tell us a bit about the featured artworks.
Raghav: For Mind Jenga I wanted to show how creating balance is not a black and white process. It’s wonky, it’s hard and it’s not linear. I myself struggle at times and I’m sure many people do too.
Char Sui Covid is, as the name suggests, inspired by the pandemic. It represents how we literally have COVID on top of our hands, which is not a good thing and we should all take precautions. The style on this one was inspired by Andy Warhol, using an almost neon background and the artwork in black and white.
Samarth: When I look at your feed, two things catch my eye. The first one is the fact that the people in your compositions have quite large feet. Where’d the inspiration for that come from?
Raghav: Well, when making characters that are borderline abstract, you have to try and find balance. Just like the human body is perfectly balanced with these characters you want to try and get as much balance as possible. They are, at the end of the day, not realistic but you still want all your characters to be consistent which is where the big feet come into play. I can put all my characters next to each other and they’d look like they are from the same family because they are.
Samarth: The second thing I notice is the names of the days of the week in Italian on your story highlights. What do they represent?
Raghav: Aaahh, that is well my best attempt to keep the good parts of my past still with me. Before I decided to pursue design I was working as a chef. I worked in Gurgaon for a while and then went to Florence to train as a chef. That is where the Italian names of the week come from.
Samarth: That’s super interesting; I absolutely have to ask you what that was like! Tell us a bit about what prompted your decision to pursue cooking.
Raghav: I had been cooking since I was in class 7. I just love creating, whatever it may be – food, art, design; anything. As I kept cooking I got better and better at it which is what led me down the culinary path. We cook food to nurture people and make them happy and feel good, I loved that. Food has taken me to a lot of places and being able to cook is a skill I think everyone should have. I’m so obsessed with food that I’m currently working on two books which feature a lot of food, photography, experiences and recipes.
Samarth: What else are you working on right now?
Raghav: Currently I’m working on a mystery thriller novel which I’m writing and illustrating. It’s about a magician that helps a local gang commit crimes in various ways, it’s a deep story with a lot of twists and turns. I don’t want to give too much away. It’s inspired from my days as a magician and how I got out of a police ticket once by showing a cop a card trick.
Samarth: Wow. You keep hurling these bombshells at us, but sadly, we’ve run out of questions to ask, and if an interview gets too long, it would lose its essence. This was truly brilliant, we look forward to featuring you again on Snorts!
Raghav: (laughs) that’s a conversation for another time then, I guess! Thank you, this was fun! Looking forward to it.