While sneaker culture is becoming all the more prevalent across the subcontinent and beyond there are very few homegrown artists who are attempting to go beyond the standardized cookie cutter designs and palettes that have been indelibly etched into the minds of casual consumers. Abhishek Choudhury is a visual designer and illustrator who whose work merges a vibrant aesthetic and creative sense with an eye for designs that take cues from classic Indian culture and heritage. We spoke to Abhishek to find out more about his process and what most grabs his attention as a creative and a consumer of art.
Could you tell us a little about your project?
I love sneakers and the process that goes into designing and customising sneakers. I feel there hasn’t been much innovation in the space when it comes to designing sneakers keeping in mind the Indian context. Be it our streets, our culture, our landscape and our colour palettes. From the Jaipuri Juttis to the Kolhapuris, there has been a rich history and cultural diversity in footwear design across the Indian subcontinent. For this project, I explored the various textures, colour palettes, materials and craft traditions across several Indian cities and reimagined the iconic Air Jordans if they were made with an Indian context in mind.
What are some of your biggest inspirations over the course of your artistic career?
I find it really hard to answer this because I have been inspired by different people from different walks of life and at different points 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 30s after years of working corporate jobs. It just drives the point that there’s never a ‘right time’ to do things that you love, just the time that feels right to you.
Could you describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create?
My purpose behind creating art is to tell a story; stories that are lesser known, forgotten or ignore are what inspire me. I then decide the medium through which they will be best communicated. Being non restricted to a particular style or a artform allows me the flexibility to alternate between styles and mediums to best 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 things that I feel influence my art.
Who are some artists who are currently on your radar?
illustration_de_kely, Kushlet, ManvsType, Nabihaiderali, nandigraam, ravidraws, tylerstreetart, rajib_nobita are just a few names.
A project you wish you were a part of?
Designing actual sneakers for Nike, the Google Doodle for Bhupen Hazarika’s birthday, a Poster for any Anurag Kashyap film. The list can go on and on!
You can follow Abhishek here.
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