Lists, lists, lists. The list of lists is endless. And as much as we love to pay allegiance to the format that won the attention of a digital generation even as it became a millennial punchline, its well-meaning shackles felt too tight for a truly free-wheeling look at ‘artists’ in the contemporary Indian context. So without straying too far from the intent to observe, display and share however, we decided to carve out our own little space on the internet—an online gallery if you will—to showcase the never-ending plethora of Indian artists who continue to spark fires with their work.
Pixels will be dedicated each week to individuals who are finding their own distinct voices, sometimes personal, sometimes political but always worthy of engaging with. Mediums have no place here either. Our ‘Artists Of The Week’ range from a luthier from one of Mumbai’s oldest neighbourhoods to live visual artists who combine everything from stage design to animation and 3D mapping installations to deliver staggering live experiences.
…And everybody in between of course.
Today, we proudly profile an artist who can turn even the most stoic of us at Homegrown into blubbering fangirls and boys. To anybody who has ever denied the beauty of a full-bodied woman, Jasjyot Singh Hans’ work will have you eat all your words and your pre-conceived notions about beauty standards. Excerpts from our interview follow.
“I want people to remember me for making them smile and feel good about themselves.”
It was immediately after finishing his course in Animation Film Design at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, that animator and illustrator Jasjyot Singh Hans began working at Sabyasachi Couture, a highly coveted dream job for hundreds across the country. His talent is incredible, to say the least, having dabbled in the artistic melting pot of fashion, music and body-image illustrations showcased to the world on his one-of-a-kind Instagram and Tumblr page.It was his time spent at Sabyasachi that really opened his eyes to the reality of the fashion industry, providing insight into the inner workings of a big fashion house. Branching out into freelance work with a number of clients in various streams including publishing houses and even corporate projects, today, he’s enrolled at Maryland Institute College of Art getting a Masters in Illustration Practice.
Scroll on to know him a little better.
I. What would you describe as your perfect day?
“A perfect day for me would be to be able to not wake up ridiculously late, bounce around the house in my boxers listening to nice music and draw on an endless supply of espresso-tonic and homemade food. Also, pleasant client emails.”
II. What is your first memory of exploring your medium of choice?
“I remember the first time I came across a brushpen in other comic artists’ work. My eyes widened with wonder. The first time I owned a Pentel brush-pen was when a bunch of us decided to order it from a Japanese website. the shipping was ridiculous so we figured the only way it would work is if literally 10 of us ordered pens. Once I started using it... well, I haven’t clearly stopped.”
III. What according to you is your best creation?
“I don’t think I consider any of my work my ‘best’. Although there are some projects that I have fond memories of. The illustrations I worked on while I was at Sabyasachi based on his decade long archive of work still make me smile. Fashion illustrations for my Tumblr were a turning point in my work. Since then, another project where I pushed my technique was my series of zines called ‘Fashion Is Strange’ (I recently got them printed with a risograph, and they look great!). And I enjoy drawing full bodied women in my sketchbooks with my brush-pen, adding smudgy blushes of neon pink.”
IV. What are the three things you are really into, besides your art?
“I’m currently really into watching Golden Girls (I hadn’t seen it till now, I know I’m a terrible queer). My fascination with printmaking has been rekindled during my period of MFA here, and I’ll be doing more screenprinting. And I’m also really into Solange Knowles’ new album. UGH IT IS SO RELEVANT AND AMAZING.”
V. Something that you have always wanted to do, and really look forward to doing it some day in your career? What is that one thing, that really annoys you?
“I’ve always wanted to work on personal narrative in comic format, but somehow chickened out at the idea of it making me feel too vulnerable. I’m beginning to explore that through my thesis project here, which includes a comic about my father, Babes (attaching a spread from the comic) and some small zines centred around relationships (images attached from a zine titled ‘We’re Together Now’). I wish to do more printmaking seriously, and find a way to have my personal sketchbook work move into a more fine art direction. I want to work on large format art books based on my personal work. I still really enjoy doing fashion illustrations, and continue to wonder if illustrators have a stable place within the fashion industry. That would be really ideal! It really annoys me to still not have been able to figure this out. It also really annoys me (and the rest of the world) how I could still not have a website and an e-store to sell my stuff.”