Cult Loves: Inside Out Project

Cult Loves, a new section on Cult Affair comes to surface today. This section is thirsty for inspiration.

Here is the story of a man who inspired me. Recently I came across an interesting question – Can art change the world? Think about it – few strokes, some abstract concept, usually presumed to be beyond the reach or understanding of most people – ‘art’ can tend to be far to arrogant to fit in as the ‘world changer’. This was what I believed till I came across the Inside Out Project.

The Inside Out Project is a global crowdsourced art project which shares personal stories of people by displaying their portraits at public places. JR, a popular Parisian street artist, is the founder of this project. JR has been famous through the streets of Europe and now the world because of his trademark style of graffiti. This artist however has nothing to do with spraying fluorescent on the walls. What he does is quite different. He takes a classic black and white portrait photograph of ordinary people, prints an up-scaled version of it and glues it all over the streets. He exhibits his photographs in the streets as he thinks its “the largest art gallery in the world.

JR’s Work:

The question in your mind must be the one I had before I watched his TED talk. How does pasting this image on the street change the world? I’m not going to be the bad friend who reveals the climax before you have read the book. So go ahead and watch the video below:

JR at the TED Talk:

Just so you know, JR won the TED Prize this year for his innovative idea and actually proving the one infact, can change the world with art. To know more about this project, do visit the official website.

Who’s That? Jayesh Sachdev

One of my personal favourites from all other art movements would have to be the 1950’s Pop Art era. A phase where regular products were considered as the muse. Artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Peter Philips popularised outcastes such as street culture, graffiti, consumerism and comic in the sphere of serious art.

Perhaps this was the reason I was more than thrilled to come across a present day Indian artist who brings back dusty pop-art back with his own unique twist. Jayesh Sachdev is the man of the hour. The artist has bagged several awards for his innovative work including a place in the Limca Book of World Records!  His works have been showcased at New York, Singapore, Goa, Mumbai and many more cities. He has founded his own art and design studio under the name of Emblem Studios.

From the ‘Tyre Art’ series – created using impressions of a Fiat 500:

Work for Ketan Mehta’s film release at the Cannes Film Festival:

How does one make all this happen? Hear it from the man himself –

Cult Affair: How would you describe your personal journey as an artist?

Jayesh Sachdev: I went to art school to study Communication Design. But soon fell in love with Fine Art. It was been an oscillation of emotions. There has been plenty of chaos in my order. It has been exciting. Uphill and Rewarding.
It is perhaps only the beginning.

CA: When did you realise that ‘art’ was what you needed to do for a living?

JS: I don’t do art for a living. I do it for a passion. The realisation that I need to do art for a living hasn’t dawned in yet.

From the collection-‘Four Skin’:

CA: How and when did Emblem Studios happen?

JS: I graduated with a Degree in Communication Design and worked with an advertising agency in Singapore. I was probably 5 when I knew I was going to do my own thing. I did exactly that. I quit my job and moved back to set up Emblem. The Emblem Art Gallery and Emblem Couture followed. Quirk Box, my new lifestyle and fashion label launches next month.

CA: Most of your commercial work exhibits a strong influence of Pop Art. Why is that?

JS: We live in a populist society. We are consumed by mass culture. I conform to Andy Warhol’s non elitist Art principles. I have been a great admirer of him. I was naturally attracted to that genre of art and it reflected in my works.

Digital Works on classic film posters:

For Big Cinemas Worldwide, a Bollywood inspired art piece:

CA: Who would you consider as your icon or source of inspiration?

JS: My mother.

CA: Which three words would best describe you?

JS: Creative. Passionate. Enterprising.

‘The Tempest’ – Work on Canvas:

CA: If it wasn’t art or design, which field would you have been in today?

JS: A poet or a writer. Maybe a Tennis player.

CA: Which is your favourite piece from all your creations?

JS: Wow. Thats a toughie. One of my Untitled Works from the No Where To Hide series. Black and White Nudes.

CA: What would be your advice to young emerging artists in India?

JS: Persevere. Persevere. Persevere.

If you want to know more about the artist, do visit his official website.

India Diaries: Little Terrorist

The India-Pakistan issue has always been a sensitive one. Be it cricket or war, there seems to be an eternal spotlight on the relationship between the two former ‘Hindustaanis‘.

I guess that is why when I came across this film, it instantly stood out. Little Terrorist is a short film written and directed by Ashwin Kumar. The film was completed by March 2004 in less than four months.

Image Credit: Little Terrorist Official Website

The film is captivating to say the least. For the first time, one can actually have an innocent laugh even with a grave issue that has been chosen. The differences cross border may be plenty but the similarities are much more and seem to be enough to let go of petty differences.

I am not the only one who loves this film. Nominated for the Oscars, European Academy Awards and winning at the Manhattan Film Festival, Montreal Film Festival and the Flanders International Film Festival – all this proves is that you need to watch this film.

Little Terrorist:

Do let me know what you think of this film. Drop in your comments below.

India Diaries: The Kabir Project

‘Kabira Khara Bazaar Mein,

Mange Sabki Khair

Na Kahu Se Dosti,

Na Kahu Se Bair’

(Kabira in the market place, wishes welfare of all

Neither friendship nor enmity with anyone at all)

– Kabir

The Kabir Project was initiated by Shabnam Virmani, filmmaker and artist, in 2003 as a tribute to the famous poet Kabir. Through the course of this project, she traveled through the cults who continue to keep the poet’s beliefs alive. This resulted in 4 documentaries, several music albums and books.

As promised, Cult’s new weekly – India Diaries – will bring to you interesting documentaries and short films revolving around this country of colour, culture and raw beauty. The film shared below is one of the documentaries made in the course of The Kabir Project – Kabir Khada Bazaar Mein. The film is named after one of the Kabir”s famous poems also known as ‘dohas‘. The article starts with a couplet from this poem itself.

The film is an interesting one because it reveals the relevance of Kabir’s words in today’s world. Some people follow him noticeably while some unknowingly while some lose his very essence.

Kabir Khada Bazaar Mein Part 1

Kabir Khada Bazaar Mein Part 2

Kabir Khada Bazaar Mein Part 3


Do let me know what you think about this film. If you want to know more about The Kabir Project, drop by at their official website.

Who’s That? Aakash Nihalani

Ever thought a simple 6-faced cube as art? How about if its placed right in the middle of a serious building? Is it art now? That is the thing about creativity, the lesser any of us think of it, the more likely it is to turn up and take us by surprise.

Aakash Nihalani, a New York based artist, does just that with his geometric masterpieces. What struck me is his style. Unlike other artists, his skill is the satirical placement of his art. He chooses interesting locations to display it almost to take one by surprise at the next turn down the the street.

What excites this artist is the interaction of people with his work. ‘People need to understand that how it is isn’t how it is supposed to be.’

He brings in a new aspect to street art not fueled by the expected activist propaganda. Instead it has simple overtones of geometry, shapes and light humour. He also maintains his respect for public property by using a medium like tape which easily comes off but does not compromise on the level of ‘edginess’.

If you want to catch more of his work, do drop by at his official website.

Coming soon on Cult

Apologies for the hibernation I phased into last week. I was drowned in a heap of work garnished with exams and the miserable rut. But now let me assure you a power packed month ahead here at Cult.

Here is a sneak peak of what you can expect –

Cult Loves‘ : Is a new weekly feature where we feature any piece be it an image, website, graphic or sculpture which is inspirational

‘India Diaries’: Another regular at Cult which will feature brilliant documentaries about India and the stories hidden in its meandering gullies.

Who’s that?‘: A discovery of the new generation of Indian artists expressing their world through canvas, music, and mediums unimagined. This feature will bring them to you.

‘Cult Gives’ : Every now and then do expect a fantastic giveaway.

All this with some of the typical Cult photographs and regular features to keep you entertained. Stay tuned.

A rickshaw is always picture perfect

Went out venturing for some visual treats on the streets, (notice my rhyme?), and much to my surprise the treat turned out to be my ride for the evening – the Indian rickshaw.

Strangely enough, while looking out from the rickshaw , all I ended up noticing was more of them.

The standardised colour scheme used on most Indian rickshaws are yellow and black – the two colours which truly symbolise the essence of Indian streets according to me.

The Best from the World Press Photo Awards 2011

Earlier, today the winners were declared of the prestigious World Press Photo Contest 2011. Here are some of the most impressive ones:

The winning photo submitted by Jodi Bieber, South Africa. The photo features Bibi Aisha who was disfigured for fleeing from her husband’s home in Kabul, Afganistan.

The photo by Riccardo Venturi, Italy, features the burning of an iron market at Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

World Press Photo, founded in 1955, is an independent organisation headed in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This contest is one of the most prestigious events held by the group annually. Drawing entries from almost every country, the gallery of winning photos strangely throw a different light on the much publicised events of the year, revealing the raw emotion in them.

The winning entry in the Arts & Entertainment section, submitted by Amit Madheshiya, India. The photograph features an old man enjoying a night screening at a traveling cinema.

More from the series by Amit Madheshiya.

The following photograph was submitted in the Daily Life category by Malte Jager, Germany. It features a group of couch-surfers packed at a Brooklyn loft.

The following photograph was submitted by Ed Kashi, USA, in the category of Contemporary Issues. It features a young Vietnamese girl of 9 years who suffers from Agent Orange disabilities.

If you are hungry for more of the brilliant winning entries, do take a look at the World Press Photo winners’ gallery.

All images courtesy: World Press Photo Awards 2011

Link: World Press Photo

Tête-à-Tête Thursday: Happily Unmarried

Tête-à-Tête on Cult this time brings to you a celebrity of sorts. Happily Unmarried is an extremely popular brand which offers a variety of your ordinary household goods, but with a squeeze of lemon and dash of creative tadka.

Here is an exclusive interview one of the founders – Rajat Tuli!

The Happily Unmarried key chain:

CA: How and when was Happily Unmarried conceived?

RT: Happily Unmarried started as a one-stop shop for young people living on their own. Based on our personal experiences we discovered that in this family oriented country of ours no one is targeting the young. We wanted to provide everything from basic services like property to fun gifts. Of course, we had no money, no clue on how to go about it and it was the time of the dot com burst.

The ‘dil ki chabi’ key holder:

CA: I’m sure you get this a lot, but really, what’s with the name?

RT: Happily Unmarried phase of life is the most fun, you have just started earning and have your own money to spend to live the way you want to. We wanted to capture that spirit of fun, and the minute we thought of the name we fell in love with it. Who would not want to buy a product which says Happily Unmarried!
CA: Most of your art work seems to be inspired by essentially Indian-esque scenes. How does this process work?

RT: Till we started their were very few references of India humour in products. Our whole idea was to come up with stuff which Indians could identify and laugh at.  Now we keep thinking of ideas and products and  ask ourselves but how do we make this more desi.We do kill a lot of product ideas which may be funny but lack the connect.

The famous ‘cheeni’ mugs:
CA: Define HU in three words.
RT: Quirky, funny and desi.
CA: For young people who are planning on their own start ups, what would be your advice?
RT: Don’t look for funding right away. Don’t start it alone. Don’t do it just to prove a point. Back yourself to death. Make sure you enjoy doing it, because you will be spending a lot of hours doing it.
CA: In all the products you have created till now, which one is your absolute favourite piece?
RT: I like them all, the current favourite is the Jimmy Jimmy poster.

The Jimmy Jimmy poster:

If you are drooling, then here is what you need to know : the products are very reasonably priced. HU retails across more than 17 cities including Delhi, Kolkatta, Mumbai, Jaipur and Pune. You can also place an order online on their official website and find out if your city is listed as one of their retail outlets.
Image Credit and link : Happily Unmarried