While the digital art landscape is always brimming with new and interesting things, there is something to be said about art that can be experienced in real-time and in a more tangible form. Murals, for this reason, are exemplary models of art that can make one stop and stare. In the last decade, there has been a heightened appreciation for the art form. Perhaps because street art has gained traction in a newer form with the St+art India Foundation and other muralists who are always coming up with fresher and bolder concepts.
One such interesting graphic designer and mural artist is Kochi-based Elwin Charly who is bridging the gap between art, technology, and design. In our conversation, Elwin says, “My art and designs are reflections of my love for all things pop.” His latest mural is titled Utopian Dystopia which is in itself an attention-catching name and is perhaps an apt way to describe the new wave of art he is exploring. We sat down with Elwin to get an understanding of his unique creative grammar and what inspires the muralist to create art in the first place.
Homegrown: What got you interested in murals in the first place?
Elwin Charly: I used to sketch quite a lot as a kid. Once I started off my career as a graphic designer, I started working around digital paintings to enhance my designs. As an artist, I have always wanted my designs to stay relevant and create a sense of excitement in the viewer.
I did my first mural while at Papaya Media, a design studio where I worked for a while. It was done for sheer fun and pleasure but that greatly affected how I viewed art and life in general. I loved the bigger scale projects and how they had an impact on the space and people occupying it. So began the next phase in my life as an artist; a muralist looking at the big picture in the world of art.
HG: Tell us a little about your latest project, ‘Utopian Dystopia’.
EC: UD is an Art/Tech exhibition that is scheduled to be held in Kochi this year. It brings together the power of art and technology ( A.I., motion graphics, projection mapping and so on). My mural was greatly inspired by this idea and the artwork seeks to fill the empty spaces between art, design, and technology. The dreamy aesthetics, in terms of the colours used and the eagle that symbolises rebirth and ambition, mark the beginning of a new dawn in the world of art.
HG: What inspires you to create?
EC: I love Christmas, its festive spirit and everything that comes with it. My family, like me, immerses in the celebration when December is right around the corner. Then, we’re all decked up with the latest decor, fairy lights, cards, and gifts. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Christmas has deeply impacted my childhood and life as an artist. The colours I use are always inspired by the season, the music, the movies and the 80s-90s retro vibes. Also, if you can’t already tell, I am a pop culture evangelist!
HG: What does ‘Utopian Dystopia’ mean to you?
EC: As a mural artist, I always try to intrigue the audience with the scale, details, and the very idea behind the work. UD was a challenge I took in my stride as I wanted to explore new spaces and details in my artworks. And I genuinely hope it impacts and inspires the viewer as much as I enjoyed creating it. In short, UD is my attempt to be fearless as an artist and foray into the new, exciting, and uncharted territories of my life and art.
HG: What is it that you try to achieve with your artworks, if anything at all.
EC: I aim to Inspire, excite, and put the viewer in touch with their own feelings.
HG: If you had to define yourself as an artist in 3 words, what would it be?
EC: Happy, countercultural, and avant-garde.
HG: Lastly, how is 2022 looking for you and what are you most excited about?
EC: With the pandemic making the future look grim, not much can be said about future plans. Nevertheless, I have a few personal projects and other committed works lined up and hope to work on them with all the time I have at hand.
You can checkout Elwin’s work here.
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