Mudit Ganguly lays claim to just about every design possibility and refuses to define himself with any particular style. It’s a trait that translates into his personality as well and it’s what made him such an easy decision to hire when he applied for a graphic design position with Homegrown during its most initial, experimental phase. Yes, it seems like designers are a dime a dozen these days, and this HGArtProject is doing nothing to alleviate that impression either but we can vouch for the fact that this 21-year-old doesn’t reach out to grab the first slice of curb-side action that’s tossed his way. Even as he refused compartmentalisation, there was a candid quality to his work that let us know the kid was a diamond-in-the-rough. And even as he refused to let anyone else polish him up, this beautiful piece of cover art he created for us let us know that he’s got a bright, shiny future.
We pummelled him into a corner and demanded an interview. This is how he obliged:
I. HG: Give us a brief idea on your background? Like where did you study design and where have you worked?
MG: I have absolutely no formal education when it comes to design. I recently graduated from Jai Hind and I’m a Bachelor In Mass Media. I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a child. I freelanced my way though college until I interned with Homegrown which was my first legitimate gig as a graphic designer. Up until then, I just made posters and stuff.
The thing is, I actually gave up drawing and designing when I started college but in my second year I was appointed as the design head for our college fest. That got me back into the scene and i’ve never looked back since.
II. HG: You’ve worked on some interesting projects post your Homegrown stint. Tell us some of the cool projects that you’re enjoying working on you little star?
MG: In terms of projects, i’m currently working on making a Star Wars-themed deck of cards. Im really excited about that.
I’m also trying to get into different kinds of mediums and expand my skill set (right now i’m experimenting with pepakura craft) I work full time with a pre-press company so that keeps me on my toes.
I have a lot of things planned when it comes to projects but everyone knows how lazy I get so i’m not going to say anything because 7 out of 10 times I don’t end up completing it.
III. HG: What was the thought behind the the artwork you made us?
MG: The thing is when Varun asked me if I would want to be featured he told me i’d have to create a cover photo for the site. And that could either be something I had made already or I could create something brand new for Homegrown. There was no way in hell i’d put together something i’d made earlier and just throw on the HG logo and go like ‘Here you go.’
I thought a lot about what i wanted to do because its just not any commissioned work. It’s for you guys. So it had to be something different.
I tried a lot of things, from watercolors to doodling and then i went back to how we used to design stuff at homegrown earlier. Like how we used to use the homegrown logo onto pictures for the articles and writeups and I thought why not do that organically. A few hours and many bandaids later i had the piece ready. I called up my friend Shreya Vaidya and we shot the photos in Yari Road (which is where all good things happen)
And that’s that. BOOM.
IV. HG: I recently came across your new work, where you mix photography with illustrations and various other different kind of artworks and text.
MG: There are loads of artists who are doing this kind of work right now. I do it because it’s good practice. I see a photo on my instagram feed and i immediately start thinking of what i can add to it. So it’s an exercise of sorts.
I try to draw something everyday. Even if the final product looks like rubbish it doesn’t matter as long as i’m drawing everyday. If you want to make good art you have to make bad art first.
V. HG: Tell us about a few of the artists who inspire you?
MG: Mohini Mukherjee and Namaah Kumar. These two women are insane when it comes to design and art. Mohini, I know personally and Namaah, i’ve met a few times. I look at their work and it motivates me to become as good as they are. Damn these women are hard to keep up with.
I learned how to paint and draw and stuff from Kairavi Ahmed. She’s someone who has inspired me for years and still does. This woman is crazy good too.
Apart from that The Haus, Satoshi Tajiri, Michael Dante DiMartino, Mr.GM, Erte and Devdutt Pattanaik are a few that i can remember right now.
I also rely on the internet and pop culture. There are like a gazillion artists out there and I spend a lot of time everyday looking at stuff online and taking inspiration from there.
V. HG: If you could work with the Indian government for an art project that you got to suggest and lead, what would it be?
MG: I’d want to brand cities in India. Give each of them a distinct look and feel. And also I would want to change the way people think of India in terms of design. Like if we talk about Mumbai and design people start thinking of the taxis and trains and vada pavs. I’m not saying that’s bad but it’s really saturated now. There’s so much more to the city and this country. We’re so much more than just elephants, warli, kathakali and sadhus.
VI. HG: What are your future plans ? Any projects you would like to kick off or possibly work for a bigger art house?
MG: 1). Make a good portfolio.2). Save up some cash.3). Apply to good universities abroad.4). And Bounce.
I also want to be ambidextrous. Because that would be awesome.
VII. HG: Could you share 3-4 of your best designs and elaborate on each one of them?
MG: Cruella - I’ve always been into fashion and fashion illustrations, so I thought of mixing up the illustations of the 70’s with a Disney character.
St.Xaviers - I kinda forgot how to shade using a pen and pencil. I really wanted to get on board with that so I took a photo a friend took and sketched it out for practice
DDLJ - This is something i made just for fun. I have a lot of friends who have gone or are going abroad to study so i made it for them
Doodle 1 and 2 - These are the project is was talking about. Where I draw on instagram pictures that appear on my feed.
VIII. HG: Quick question round:
MG: A. One track you’re currently listening to?
Marlon Roudette - When The Beat Drops Out
B. An artwork you wished you did?
Anything done by Kerby Rosanes.
C. An art project you wish you were a part of?
The St.Art Delhi festival. I’d be so pumped if something like that ever happened in Mumbai.
D. Your favourite munchies?
Anything with Schezuan Sauce. Anything
E. Paint or wacom bamboo?Both.
Words: Mandovi Menon
[Check out Hatched--one of Mudit’s latest projects which combines graphic art & text, in collaboration with other ex Homegrown employee and all-round rockstar, Shreya Vaidya.]