Nilanjan Das
["64 Golden Chords" by Warren Burt]

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Nilanjan was aboard The IDEA #4 with a good number of examples of his professional work as a top-rung illustrator and designer with the India Today Group ~ one of India's premier magazine publishing houses. He was aboard the IDEA #3 too, in the review of our exhibition "Explorations in Digital Imaging", as one of the participating artists. We're therefore absolutely delighted to have him aboard again with works deriving mainly from his evolving independent identity as "artist" in the most traditional sense of the term (i.e. aiming at exhibitions and print-sales). We're also happy to have got him to tell us a bit more about his work and himself, as follows:

I'd like to live my life by the principle that art should know no boundaries. For me, it's about capturing that illusive idea or thought in a visually ecstatic form which is important. And it isn't a simple process. Ideas that germinate in dreams -and day dreams- go through many transformation and many mediums before the artist in me reaches Nirvana, that ultimate realization.

It's a sort of penance that graduates through many stages. First come the sketches. My sketchpad is always ready, even nestling under my pillow when I sleep. But that's just the beginning ~ more challenging is the choice of medium. Unlike many traditional artists, I don't like to feel bound either by the oils & canvas or even by PhotoShop ~ even though that's my daily worktable.

It could be a colourful sunset or a damp wall that captures the shade and texture I'm searching for at any given time. So my camera and scanner become my tools, rather than the brush. Nevertheless, the palette does come in use. I keep my hand in with using watercolours and oils to colour my thoughts, but works begun on canvas or paper are often destined to be layered into 'other' images by the wizardry of computers. I might put one work through four or more different processes of scanning and easel work, but the driving force remains the same ~ the idea.

That's what I'd like to think marks my work ~ Technology as slave, and Idea as master. Work that I hope is neither artificial nor synthetic, with glossy finish and surreal colours only highlighting the intensity of expressions. To me in fact, they're speaking images of a complex vortex of emotion and passion in the backdrop of a timeless and fathomless philosophy.

I've tried to make my Dream series more emotive than the other works. My attempt in these three works is to present the ephemeral, multi-layered fears and hopes of the subconscious as kaleidoscopic transition of colours. 'Childhood' and 'Conscious' are less abstract, but hopefully no less potent. The confusion and uncertainty of early years is portrayed in the dark backdrop of nothingness. The conscience is closely integrated with the mind, but its adversarial role is also stark.

My experimentation with a glass-painting effect in 'Lovers', 'the Lady' and 'The Cat' turned out rather effective to my mind. The snub-nosed, rounded images lend an Indian flavour and a contemporary feeling to the creations. On the other hand, an exuberance of colours worked well for me in 'Passion' and 'She', and I certainly hope these two works will find easy resonance across a universal audience. The same technique graduates to a new high in the tentative "Tantra", an attempt at exploring unchartered territory. Labeled the Beginning, it might well mark a new beginning for me in a medium that is remarkable for its variety and depth of expression.

At the end of the day, whereas it's said a photograph speaks more than a thousand words, I'd like to aspire to convey the indescribable, the profound,.. and the reality.

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Nilanjan Das
Infographics & Illustrations
India Today
F - 14/15 Connaught Place
New Delhi - 110 001 (India)

Tel (91-11) 375 3204