Among India’s vast and diverse artist community, there is room for everyone, every style and every idea. From the classically composed to the utterly surreal, digital media has thrown open the market for artists to find their audience. For Madhav Nair a.k.a DeadTheDuck, this new wave of artistic freedom has shaped his life in countless ways. There was never a time when he didn’t feel like an artist at heart and after spending his school days doodling caricatures and cartoons, he headed from his hometown in Kerala to the only place that made sense–the Srishti Institute of Design in Bangalore to pursue a career in Visual Design.
His design aesthetic, unsurprisingly then, is difficult to describe. ‘I want to shock people, to disgust them. I’m conscious about politicism, but I don’t think I have the gravity to comment on it in my work,’ he explains. He’s achieved renown for his almost surreal style and, when you examine his recent series themed around the human digestive system, it’s easy to see why everyone, us included, has been captivated.
A large part of his portfolio is also taken up by original Comix that convey quirky stories in his signature style, but as with the rest of his work, he has chosen to diverge from the stereotype. “A major part of my comic work is silent (without dialogue) for a bunch of reasons, mostly because when text is removed from a graphic narrative, it levels the playing field with what you can do to construct a visual language, plus there’s no language barrier to read a silent comic.”
Though a large part of the artistic sphere has bought into the minimalist world, Nair chooses to defy it and his work is decidedly...maximalist. With colour, craziness and a bit of shock value, his art falls squarely in a realm of oddities. Right alongside him however is ‘Brainded India’. A collective that aims to ‘encourage thought, dissent, diversity and free minds.’ His collaboration with this freewheeling sub-culture is set for release in May and, with their limitless approach to art you can be sure something revolutionary is brewing.
Though he’s hesitant to apply a specific message or meaning to his work, often he finds that it speaks to people in unexpected ways. He’s been told by different people that some of his simplest creations - born out of nothing more than a vague visual construct - have unlocked hidden messages and touched people’s minds and emotions. Therein lies the complexity of his work, in that though outwardly whimsical, they serve as a blank canvas onto which your imagination can project infinite possibilities and weave ideas as colourful as the creations themselves.
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