Who is the Modern Indian Creative?
Art has long been a part of India’s culture, but design as a formal discipline of study and practice is comparatively new in the country. In fact, the process of rebuilding this nation after it gained independence shares some similarities with the evolution of design here.
In 1958, eleven years after independence, the Indian Government noticed a deterioration in design and quality of consumer goods in the country. They asked designers Charles and Ray Eames for recommendations on a design training program to help the small-scale industries. The findings from their foundational study were captured in The India Report, which led to the founding of the National Institute of Design, thus formalizing the structure of design practice and education in the country.
As a newly independent nation, India prioritized two important challenges. The first was to give its people an acceptable standard of living. At the same time, the country had to rapidly catch up to the rest of the world in fields like medicine, economics, science and technology.
This period was also the golden era of Bollywood – the most popular part of the Indian film industry. Being a creative in India at that time meant either being associated with film-making or being the talent behind movie posters or calendars with colorful religious imagery. To support the spread of consumer goods, advertising was also fast-becoming a part of the creative realm. Since then, many exceptional design and art schools have been established, and the spectrum of design has broadened to include architects, graphic designers and industrial designers.
The Indian design community today is a vibrant blend of seasoned veterans and budding creatives. Although our values have been deeply rooted in our past, we are fearless in adopting modern tools and mediums. While the movies we watch and the songs we listen to remind us of loud dances and elaborate celebrations of joy, we have also experienced and solved pressing social, economic and political issues as part of our everyday lives. As a result, Indian artists feel confident working in different contexts and talking about the entire gamut of emotions through their work. And our skill sets must cover the full spectrum of traditional mediums like print, film making and industrial design as well as interactive computer graphics and animation.
This rich history has given birth to the modern Indian creative – one who is well connected, innovative and using all of their skills to advance the boundaries of the field. They’re making it hard to perpetuate the antiquated perception of Indian Design as being raw, low-tech, stamped with paisley motifs, and washed in the bright colors of our spices. Siddhant Jaokar is a perfect example of this modern Indian creative. He creates digital, but realistic 3-D environments with colors, textures and motifs that evoke a sense of fantasy. Siddhant works with a modern, multidimensional medium, uses cutting-edge creative tools, and paints in colors that openly challenge the typical associations with India. His own history of discovering and mastering Cinema4D, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop by watching videos on YouTube exemplifies India’s attitude towards progress.