The Artists’ Collective: Eleven Emerging Artists from Seven Cities Interpret ‘All or Nothing’

By Nidhi Kinhal and Dhruv Menon for TEDx Bangalore 2015

As TEDxBangalore gears up for its second edition this October, we bring to you our main theme: ‘All or Nothing’ through the eyes of eleven of India’s emerging artists, designers and illustrators to showcase how a single idea can host a diverse range of meanings to different people, and further how these ideas can shape the movements we choose for ourselves. Art can be a unique force for social awareness and innovation and plays a major role in sensitising us to the issues we face today. These experienced artists, through their work, urge us to believe in our power and go all in towards creating a brighter, more creative and refined collective future.

Lavanya Naidu, Kolkata

Lavanya was raised in Kolkata amidst the rich Bengali art, culture and cuisine. She graduated from the National Institute of Design in Animation Film Design and currently works as a lead animator for a startup that creates tablet based entertainment for children. She loves to draw, watch films, read, write, play her ukulele and travel. She is a true foodie and an animal lover. No wonder her work inspires so much joy and cheer!

Her take on the theme — “Kindness. Isn’t it odd how rare it is these days? Whether it’s arguments going overboard on comment sections on the internet, or things of a much grander scale in the world — why has it become so hard to be tolerant? To live and let live? To be able to love freely? To be kind? Where are we headed? My take on “All or Nothing” is a somewhat utopian image. A utopian world where we can love, support and protect, not just one another, but other forms of life as well. Hope isn’t dead. We can still try. If we do nothing, all may be lost, But if we all come together, nothing is impossible.”

Svabhu Kohli, Delhi

Kohli is a visual artist from New Delhi who finds peace in diving through oceans, wandering through forests and making art. He dabbles in various mediums of work including film, installation and illustration to explore his love for the outdoors and the little mechanics of this magical universe we inhabit. His work for the TEDxBangalore series is enthralling and serves as a poignant reminder that we are part of nature and the ecosystems around us demand us to act responsibly.

His take on the theme — “I had always heard of the Olive Ridley nesting sites across the Western and Eastern Coast of India through conservationists and friends. We heard of them coming from the seas in thousands and safely nesting across soft sandy beaches under moonlit starry skies, laying eggs through the night and returning to the ocean — and it all sounded so magical. I couldn’t wait to experience it. Today, the Olive Ridley turtles are facing severe pressure to survive from the increase in the commercialization of coastlines and fisheries across the Indian Coast. Lack of protection laws and awareness in India has led them to be endangered.

A few months ago, while volunteering with a nesting site on the western coast, all these realities came to life — the number of nests had dropped down to a handful of protected nesting sites encroached by shacks, tourists and fisheries. The survival ratio of these turtles is 1:1000 which by nature maintained a perfect balance in their populations, but their fight with the current environment has dropped the numbers released in the ocean to a few hundreds, leading them towards extinction. These beautiful creatures travel across distances and come on land to continue the cycle of life.

‘All or Nothing’ to me is realization that the world we call home is equally shared by all the living beings. We must thrive on this planet as a cohesive system respecting the cyclic form of nature and leave behind a world better than the one we found.”

Rae Zachariah, Kerala

Rae is a punny, humorous illustrator with an unhealthy addiction to memes. She gains joy by making someone else smile through her work. Her interest in colour palettes has been fuelled and fulfilled by her home-state and its grand and glorious tradition.

Her take on the theme — “To throw yourself into something whole-heartedly, to live in that single moment where you have told yourself that there is nothing that will hold you back from getting what you aspire for. The illustration represents a frozen moment in time, where on the outside she might appear to be calm and in control, but her mind is swirling with a vortex of emotions. The risks, the fear of failure, judgement, but ultimately the desire to achieve wins over… This may sound like a clichéd pep talk to some. It is in some ways. But we all need one every now and then, don’t we?”

Shaivalini Kumar, Delhi

Shaivalini is a Visual Communication Designer who works with illustration and typography. Stylistically, her art is vibrant, inviting and attempts to find the magic in ordinary things. Being a denizen of the digital realm she thrives on being able to connect and communicate with people from all over the world through her work. She has been selected as part of Photoshop’s 25 under 25 team and her work has also been recognized on various platforms such as Adobe Inspire Magazine, Pool magazine, Colorado Poster Biennale and New Yorker Magazine.

Her take on the theme — “In life there are so many challenges that come our way. Some we overcome, some we don’t. But we continue to grow, our ideas keep evolving.

The event during which you feel the surge to give it your all, to make an effort to make something thrive and be better, faster and limitless. To take a risk and challenge yourself with all your might, because if you falter, you might lose it all.

To me, all or nothing means putting in that electric energy into everything you do in order to make your dreams and hopes blossom.”

Nikunj Patel, Mumbai

Nikunj is a 22 year old graphic designer, motion designer, illustrator and VJ. He is an Animation Film Design graduate from NID. He believes in brevity and simplicity, while also attempting to delve into the unknown. He tries to constantly explore new thought processes to broaden his skill sets, thus keeping his approach fresh. He likes to explore his love for audio and visual art by often pairing them together in various proportions. His art for TEDxBangalore attempts to explore human dilemmas, choices and their consequences on the world around them.

His take on the theme — “The decision to choose all or nothing lies in our hands.The red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, represent the choice between embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red pill) and the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue pill).”

Prateek Vatash, Bangalore

Prateek is a Graphic Artist/Designer based out of Bangalore. He loves exploring visual narratives through work ranging from whimsy to abstract; blending elements of his interest in the occult, typography and semiotics. From public art installations to digital art, his work never fails to deliver punches of color and imagery that aims to mesmerize the viewer in a bid to beautify. Pinks and neons find a permanent place in his palette along with an unfounded obsession with cows. His TEDxBangalore illustration is a rather comprehensive, quirky and accurate collection of symbols that are perfectly in tune with the theme. Looks like he definitely went all in!

His take on the theme — “My first impression of All or Nothing was the idea of extremes. This is something we see around us all the time. The Rich and the Poor, the Loud and the Quiet, and so on. They exist in fragments and pieces; but they exist together. Collectively they form the identity of a space. We strive to put these pieces together, so that they exist in harmony with one another. The sooner we start to solve this puzzle, the faster we might get to see the bigger picture. I played around with the idea of fragments, where each of them have their own ways to connect to each other. The closer one looks, the more meanings emerge. I like the idea of working with symbols and embedding messages in visuals, and to see what one can make of them.”

Janine Shroff, London

Janine Shroff is an artist who lives and works in London. Born in Bombay in 1983, she has gone on to collaborate with many Mumbai-based illustrators who are part of Kulture Shop and also recently had a solo show in Sitara Studios. Shroff’s work is figurative and occasionally surreal — utilising bright colours and humour with darker undertones. Androgynous bird characters and humans enact fantasy scenes, mostly in mundane and domestic landscapes. Her work explores a range of themes including birth, pregnancy, relationships, sexual identity and gender. She predominantly works with mixed media, acrylic and ballpoint-pens on heavy-weight paper. Her early influences were miniature paintings and late 80’s comic books like MAD magazine. Her illustration for TEDxBangalore is a simple, straightforward rhetoric that urges us to put our best foot forward and act now.

“Are you ready to dive in or will you just dip your toes?”, she asks.

Upamanyu Bhattacharya, Mumbai

Upamanyu graduated from the National Institute of Design with a specialisation in animation film design, and is currently a freelance motion designer and pre-production artist. He is currently associated with the Mumbai-based Plexus collective, and is working on a bunch of personal short film projects.

His take on the theme — “Every now and then, as soon as we grow up enough to make our own choices, we stand upon a floodgate that we can unlock. Opening it and taking it head-on unleashes in an instant a lot of treasures as well as hardships, but we never know what we’re missing unless we wilfully walk into the burning forest, as opposed to literally ‘chickening out’.

My interpretation of such crossroad-like situations features concepts such as betrayal, love, greed, sickness and death, among other things, in fanciful creature forms. And sometimes, just like the kid, we have nothing less laughable than a toy bow to take it all on with.”

Sheena Deviah, Bangalore

Sheena is a self taught illustrator and typographer who did her degree in Management but decided that her skills were better suited for the world of art. She spends her time observing and being fascinated by the absurd and comical. Her illustration for TEDxBangalore is a simplistic, relatable concept that establishes a connection between humans and things around us.

Her take on the theme — “ My interpretation of All or Nothing is derived from the relationship that humankind has with their immediate and extended environment. I feel like we’re trying, but we haven’t quite figured out a way to not completely destroy the environment in our pursuit of progress. There is a certain lack of balance in our approach and the way we’re heading, we might well be left with nothing.”

Surasti Puri, Delhi

Originally from Delhi, Surasti moved to Bangalore for college and studied graphic design at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology. After graduating she worked on various freelance projects over the months, ranging from branding to murals and spatial design. Illustration has always been her secret love. To her, it is a personal endeavour more than anything else. She has a soft corner for little details in her illustrations and has always looked towards anything green for inspiration. She is taking a Masters Course in Persian Painting in London later this year.

Her take on the theme — “Every decision that we make leads to something specific and we leave behind a whole lot of unexplored parallel lives of ours that are dormant, ‘unlived’, abandoned or just discarded. Like Camus said, ‘Life is a sum of all your choices’, everything we do takes us somewhere and whether we know it or not we give it all that we have and the paths less travelled open up to us while the choices we didn’t make slowly burn out.”

Abhishek Choudhury, Bangalore

Artist /Designer by day, theatre actor by night and an alumnus of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Abhishek works predominantly as an illustrator and comic book artist interested in exploring traditional storytelling mediums and folklore of indigenous communities. As a forum theatre actor and facilitator, he has worked with traditional Shadow Puppeteers from Kerala, indigenous communities in South Africa and a Dalit theatre community from Hyderabad. His work explores themes of Mythology, Pop culture and retro Indian aesthetics. Abhishek lives and works in Bangalore.

His take on the theme — “All or Nothing, for me, is a tribute to the spirit of the risk-taker. I was inspired to do a piece dedicated to the creative and entrepreneurial youth of the nation who are bringing about the change in perception of how people view success and passion. I wanted to depict the complexity of the youth today; who are willing to give in their ALL to follow their passion. I was inspired by all those engineers turned film makers, bankers turned artists, artists turned tech innovators and designers turned social entrepreneurs as I felt these are the individuals who are changing the world. This is the spirit which TEDx Bangalore represents to me.”

The Artists’ Collective highlights the large scope for differential interpretation of the theme, ‘All or Nothing’. However, one constant in every possible interpretation is this — disruptive thinking is the need of the hour.

With a paradigm shift in narrative, TEDxBangalore is BACK.

Stay tuned to know what’s in store this year at TEDx Bangalore 2015! We hope your tickets are warm, cuddly and safe with you.

TEDxBangalore is the platform that showcases Bangalore's very best to the world! Our theme for the next edition is #PurposeAndProgress

TEDxBangalore is the platform that showcases Bangalore's very best to the world! Our theme for the next edition is #PurposeAndProgress