As sneaker culture becomes more prevalent across the subcontinent and beyond, very few local artists attempt to move beyond the standardized cookie cutter designs and palettes that have been etched indelibly in the minds of casual consumers. Abhishek Choudhury is a visual designer and illustrator whose work fuses a dynamic aesthetic and creative sense with an eye for designs that draw inspiration from classic Indian culture and heritage. We spoke to Abhishek to find out more about his process and what catches his eye the most as a creator and consumer of art.
Can you tell us a bit about your project?
I love sneakers and the process of designing and customizing sneakers. I feel like there hasn’t been much innovation in the field when it comes to designing sneakers with the Indian context in mind. Be it our streets, our culture, our landscape and our color palettes. From the Jaipuri Juttis to the Kolhapuris, there has been a rich history and cultural diversity in shoe design across the Indian subcontinent. For this project, I explored the different textures, color palettes, materials and craft traditions of several Indian cities and reimagined the iconic Air Jordans if designed in an Indian context.
What are some of your biggest inspirations during your artistic career?
I find it very difficult to answer this question because I have been inspired by different people from different walks of life and at different times in my life. I really admire Japanese-American illustrator Yuko Shimizu for her work but also for her journey of pursuing her passion for the arts in her thirties after years of corporate work. It just goes to show that there’s never a “right time” to do things you love, just the time that’s right for you.
Could you describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create?
My goal behind artistic creation is to tell a story; lesser known, forgotten or ignored stories are what inspire me. I then decide on the medium through which they will be best communicated. Not being limited to a particular style or art form gives me the ability to alternate between styles and mediums to better suit the story I want to tell.
What are some of your biggest influences as an artist?
Pop culture, hip-hop culture, comics and Indian street aesthetics (posters, packaging, prints, book covers, etc.) are some of the things that I think influence my art.
Which artists are currently on your radar?
illustration_de_kely, Kushlet, ManvsType, Nabihaiderali, nandigraam, ravidraws, tylerstreetart, rajib_nobita are just a few names.
A project you would have liked to be part of?
Design real sneakers for Nike, Google Doodle for Bhupen Hazarika’s birthday, poster for any Anurag Kashyap movie. The list can go on and on!
You can follow Abhishek here.
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