For Somnath Bhatt, maturing in Ahmedabad, India, was to “live in a city continuously in the making and breaking,” he says. Surrounded by makers, things, crafts and stories, his instant surroundings were an impactful impact to his development as an artist– whether it was the city’s Calico Museum, the street suppliers at Phool Exchange or the Ravivari market filled with flowers, fruits, electronic devices and textiles.
Regardless of having little formal training in art as a topic, Somnath would invest his youth drawing “all day” and on “any surface area” he might get his hands on– including his grandma’s bed room wall that, to this day, is still covered in his earliest illustrations. Later on, he went on to study graphic style at Rhode Island School of Style, due to the idea that it “seemed like the most flexible of all disciplines”– “design education taught me visual thinking, approach and systemisation,” he tells It’s Nice That, “but as helpful as a design education was, I likewise often found it dull and terrible.”
Moving on from his house doodles and producing speculative videos, Somnath now describes himself as a designer and artist, taking a trip in between the United States and India. His work has been shown globally at the ICA and Lewisham Art House, London, Institute of New Connotative Action, Seattle, Brooklyn Art Fair, Art Week Dubai and various others. And most recently, he has actually developed Ode, published by TXTbooks— his second instalment of pixelated drawings and a sequel to Mohenjo-daro.
Risograph-printed with scarlet, cornflower and metal gold inks, Ode is a 40- page symbol to his multi-media technique as an artist. “My work has no commitment to a specific form or media,” he says on the topic of defining his work. “It may be referred to as a shuffle between categories, centuries, cultures and psychological states through algorithmic relationships.” He describes the book as a “love tune” filled with the “entertainments of things,” assembled through images that provokes a sense of intrigue. “_ Ode _ is about awakening, blooming and what takes place in a world that you’re seeing for the first time,” he states. “I consciously selected to print the whole book in gold because when the light shines on it, it triggers the forms that are drawn.”
Aesthetically, Ode looks like a minimalist collection of drawings that appear they’ve been hand-stitched on paper. In reality, these drawings are developed entirely through digital procedures. “There was a time when I was believing a lot about the metaphor of edges, which led me to play around with the ‘Hone Edge’ command in Photoshop,” Somnath explains. “I would find existing images and after that Shift Cmd F ten thousand times.” The outcome is a pixelated and structured structure imagined through a blue, red and gold colour scheme, utilized to represent a mound of earth, a clot of blood and a heap of gold.
As his second instalment of pixelated illustrations and the follow up to Mohenjo-daro, Ode is a gorgeous follow-up that sees the artist elevate his design and method. “The title Mohenjo-daro(Mound of the dead) comes from an ancient Indus Valley historical site; I extended the metaphor of archaeology and topography to inner excavation,” states Somnath. “I like the metaphor of excavation due to the fact that it represents layers: narrative layers, psychic layers, layers of Risograph ink and Photoshop layers.”
” I desired Ode to be a growth pack for Mohenjo-daro— there were instances when I took the exact same illustration and drew the scene that would follow it,” he continues. To satisfy the trilogy, Somnath concludes that the third book would require to take a different type. “Maybe it would be a scroll, a mixtape, an animation or a shrine. Their third thing would be about supreme power, pinnacles, and a queer world at the peak of its thrilled thriving.”