#HGArtProject 021: Vydika Rao

#HGArtProject 021: Vydika Rao
"Frankly, I still felt pretty clueless about what I wanted to do,"
"All I remember doing in college besides sleeping, was playing twister in the corridors. After college, I tried working in a small agency in Bangalore, but I couldn’t handle the pace and the job there, so I moved back to Hyderabad to do a bit of freelance work and figure out my big plans for the future."
"All this illustration has led me to believe that I could potentially even illustrate children’s books,"
So I am going to be doing a summer program at Rhode Island School of design in children’s book illustration."
I. Which are some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career?
I was a quiet child, and rarely used words to express my feelings. I did a lot of aimless drawing. I drew on windows, on the fridge, on doors, on pots and whatnot. I was always given that creative freedom (thanks to my terrific mum). But it wasn't until I was surrounded by designers and other artists at design school, that I started to appreciate different schools of thought and expression. School gave me the opportunity to see different creative processes. Living with a bunch of designers and watching movies like Objectified, Helvetica and Sketches of Frank Gehry, or even Ted talks by famous designers, made me realise that designers as a breed are actually capable of impact and real change in society. And now, everything around me inspires me. 
II. Could you tell us more about the thought process behind the artwork you made us?
I always thought most of us keep everything bottled up. Sometimes, we need a bit of external stimulus to shed layers of inhibitions and self-doubt to get to that happy place. So this illustration symbolises people popping out of their little bottles, on their way to their happy place with the aid of that stimulus.
III. Who are some of your most inspirational artists in India and abroad? 
I have never really been inspired so much by a painter or an illustrator, as much as I have been inspired by architects or graphic designers, or even filmmakers. People like Frank Gehry, Charles and Ray Eames, Paul Rand, and Saul Bass have always gotten my creative juices flowing. Among illustrators, Oliver Jeffers is pretty cool. And I think Quentin Blake is just rad. R.K. Laxman is one Indian artist who has always inspired me; I was hooked onto Malgudi days as a child. It had a certain pace and rhythm to it that reminds me of simpler times.
IV. If you could work with the Indian government for an art project that you get to suggest and lead, what would 
that be?
I’d love to play a part in educating children, not necessarily only through text books, words or numbers but also through mediums like illustrations and storytelling. That would be a super fun project for me, and of course would make school a far more exciting proposition for children.
V. What are your future plans ? Any projects you would like to kick off or possibly work for a big art house?
The plan is usually to go with the flow and do everything that interests me. I fancy myself as a bit of a generalist, and would like to be able to explore my potential to the fullest. I don’t want to limit myself to graphic design, or illustration, or painting alone per se. I have had an obsession with chairs for a while, but haven’t really tried to explore the furniture space yet. Maybe some time in the near future, once I’ve seen enough of the world, I can make a chair that could be a great butt rest for all kinds of people across the world. (laughs)
On a serious note, I’d love to travel across the world to try out new food and communicate through my food illustrations to earn my food. I do believe that food and illustration can be a common ground for every one across the world. So this would mean taking gastropictionary worldwide. And simultaneously, I’d love to make illustrations for children’s books as well (an endeavour that has already started to take shape).
VI. Could you share 3 of your best designs and elaborate on each one of them? 
To be honest, this is probably by far the toughest question for me to answer, given that I am quite self critical about my work - something that always drives me to strive for better. 
Viari ad for the Lonely Planet: This one took me a while to crack. My boss Maia Katrak helped me understand the brief well. And when the brief is well understood, half the job is done. The ad essentially targets young women who carry their whole little world with them in one tiny bag. Bearing this in mind, the visual intends to capture organised/systematic chaos (an oxymoron in itself and so, purely a utopian concept). There were also the Viari book marks - these were also designed at the Republic. The quotes were provided by our copywriters and I was asked to illustrate my perspective of it which I, of course, thoroughly enjoyed.
'Tasha and the moon' and 'Can pigs fly':
These are illustrations done for the Dolch Project. I had the most fun working on these two stories out of the 5 I had worked on. This project was the most exciting, since it was for a children's story book. I also experimented with a whole new palette of colours, which was quite refreshing. 
Gastropictionary at T-lish
This is from when I went to T-Lish (Tacolish) for lunch. I told Grace, the waitress that I am going to draw out my order instead of placing it verbally and she didn't seem too excited. A couple of minutes later, while I was still half way through my drawing, she came back to take a peek into it and guessed all the three dishes I'd illustrated. She told me she loved it and asked me if she will be featured on my blog/page too. (laughs) She then called one of her friends to my table, and asked me if she could also give this guessing game a shot. Much to my happiness, her friend got it right too!
My order was:
1) Asparagus, green garlic, mushrooms, fingerling potatoes fingerling potatoes ancho chile recado
2) Shot-and-a-beer braised chicken
3) Drunken beans bacon, booze, pickled things(on the side)
VII. Quick question round:
- One track your currently listening to? Hang on little tomato (Pink Martini)
- An artwork you wished you did?
There are a lot of pieces of art that I love and appreciate. But I've always been very conscious of each artist's individual creative genius, so I find it difficult to visualise myself sub-planting them.
- An art project you wish you were a part of?
I wish I got to design or illustrate for a band/record label.
- Your favourite munchies?
Lately it’s been Macaroons! I pop them into my mouth like its popcorn (laughs). 
- Paint or wacom bamboo?
"Paint!" she says enthusiastically. "Or ink. Honestly, I am quite traditional so I have always enjoyed the feel of ink on paper. But I am trying to use my Wacom a lot more since I know it will make my life a lot easier."

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