Even a decade ago, we never anticipated how the popularity of digital art will take over the art scene. Although a few sections of traditionalists still critique it, digital art has undoubtedly taken over the art scene. It has opened up several possibilities and vibrant modes of expression by experimenting with various mediums. There are many artists, who have had classical fine art painting training and have moved on to digital art along with a new generation of artists who have begun their artistic journey digitally. Software such as Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, Procreate, Adobe Photoshop, and more have brought the power of digital art to the fingertips of several artists. For many, the stylus is the new paintbrush, and a Wacom tablet is the new canvas. Things have gone up a notch recently, as AI Software such as Midjourney, Dall-E, and others have started creating digital art. Whether it is a revolutionary move to make art accessible for all or a program that is detrimental to artists is an ongoing debate; one that we will not get into right now. Today we shall explore the artistry of a talented animator and digital artist, Alan Pappy.
Alan Pappy is primarily based in Kochi and his connection to his homeland’s roots shines through his art. He tries to use his art to question societal norms and embrace the youth culture. At first glance, his works may seem rather straightforward, but on deeper inspection, one could come up with various interpretations for the same. He has recently collaborated with Meta India to exhibit this artworks at the Bengaluru Comic Con 2022.
Alan Pappy’s art takes the ordinary and transforms it into some extraordinary. The crux of his approach is to make his art relatable, while at the same time, containing clever metaphors and analogies. His artworks have a distinct manga-like style and the characters have an anime/ Japanese aesthetic while still retaining a distinctly Indian identity. You will find some of his characters appearing in many of his artworks and sometimes the artist’s own avatar is a subject of his artworks, as well. What that accomplishes is creating a unique set of stylistic characters, which the audience can immediately recognize at first glance.
Alan’s artwork embraces and portrays youth culture astutely. He shows the urban youth in all its glory and ugliness — their vulnerabilities, struggles with addiction, and rebellious spirit. He touches upon themes such as loneliness, a struggle for connection in a fast-paced social-media-driven world, and the shortcomings of modern relationships. Some of his artworks also exhibit his social and political commentary, especially in the depiction of cops, who are an authoritarian symbol of society.
The digital wizard also undertook an interesting social project by traveling around Trivandrum and drawing portraits of everyday people — on the streets, in trains, in roadside shops, and other so called 'unglamorous' places. He sketched his models with a pen on paper. For Alan, the priceless reactions of his unaware models, when he showed them the drawings, were an inspirational moment.
Looking at Alan’s work feels like he started with sketching on paper and then moved on to realistic digital drawings of famous people and studying characters in great detail (like Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr.Strange or Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman). He captures human facial expressions very well in his portraits. You can tell that he is a Procreate fan and quite a genius when it comes to character design. His work ranges from cartoon characters to building on characters from real life. He has dynamic compositions and he portrays teenage angst and rebellion really well. At the same time, he captures tranquil portraits of everyday life such as the portrait of the old woman sitting and reading a newspaper. There is a sense of grim sadness and seriousness in what he draws, even if some of them are more comical than others. As an art enthusiast, you can’t help but appreciate Alan’s works and I think he has a bright future ahead of him.
You can check out more of Alan Pappy's artworks here.