In the show "Explorations in Digital Imaging", which we put together with twelve artists in New Delhi last year (see The IDEA #3), Nilanjan's work was by far the clear favourite amongst most visitors. Perhaps that shouldn't be too surprising since the young man is backed with the experience of having been one of India's most-published computer-based imaging artists for several years now.
Here's a little bit about what he's all about, written up for The IDEA by his friend and colleague Angshuman De:
Starting at an early age of five, Nilanjan Das took to painting under the able guidance of his illustrator father Sri Bimal Das. Today he stands as one of the most recognised digital artist in the country, whose creative versatility encompasses various facets of contemporary art. Ever since he started his career with INDIA TODAY ~India's leading newsmagazine~ as an illustrator, his skills have been enhanced in delineating any possible work, through computer-generated images and photo morphings. Today he has the experience of having designed a large number of covers for the magazine.
Apart from digital illustration, Nilanjan is equally comfortable with watercolours, oil, pen and ink, paper sculpturing and cartoons. He's also been doing illustrations and cover designs for children's books, winning several awards along the way. His name was also recently included amongst the "400 Leading Cartoonists on the Planet" by the Government of Portugal, while his recent illustration on the cricket scam was published in UK's leading newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph.
One can have a look at, and even buy Nilanjan's paintings online from artwanted.com where he's the only Indian to have works displayed. In his own words about these works, "I use Digital Art as a medium of expression. For instance the monitor, to me, is a canvas where the colour palettes are the software, which helps me create surrealistic images".
An illustrator's world has changed dramatically since the advent of computer programmes ~ as Nilanjan knows only too well. Interpreting everyday life and not-so-everyday events is what it is all about, but the programmes allow an entirely new language with an infinite scope of mechanical tools. But it is up to the designer to make use of it. And the catch is that there are no footsteps to follow. You have to continuously imagine new uses to put tools to,.. but for Nilanjan that is easy. He thinks in terms of PhotoShop, or rather he has broken the mould of conventional ideas and floated into a new sphere of creativity. The transformation is such that he even dreams of PhotoShop images.
But work blends in well with dreams. It involves digital illustration, infographics and the most exciting: "manufacturing" images in PhotoShop digitally. For instance, showing the finance minister as a fortune teller (as an illustration to an economic forecast story) involved blending in at least four different photographs - of a fortune teller, a parrot, a background and the finance minister's face of course. The more flexible illustrations pose even greater challenge. Here what is required is creatively cooking up images using the endless features of the photoshop.
Imagining the contours of an underwater archaeological find from a few hazy and indecipherable photographs is not an easy job, but he managed to both make it aesthetic as well as explore the depth of the discovery with well-chosen images of the ship, the underwater instruments and outlines of remains of the lost city. A fringe of seashore vegetation added the necessary colour.
But it is difficult to single out few instances. Work everyday provides new vistas of creativity. From the tiny little heading design to two-page illustrations, Nilanjan is ready to put in his best at everything. No wonder that he can do with only six hours of sleep - for him work is more than a profession- it is life.
Nilanjan's choice of digital art is because of the enhancement of technology and a firm belief that it is the future. He dreams of creating a digital art-ring where people from different sections of digital art interact to give this art form newer perspective. Currently he plans to set up a studio of his own, which would cater to all the forms of digital art, from animation to digital painting.
Infographics & Illustrations
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