#LookoutFor | Biswajit Das
TLJ is talking about 'the little things' this issue and the artist we ask you to #LookoutFor this time couldn't have been a better fit. Meet Biswajit Das, creative director at an advertising agency by day, and an artist using the inside of paper-cups as his canvas by night. He got a degree in Chemistry and pursued Fine Arts in Banaras Hindu University before coming to Delhi fifteen long years ago. Growing up in Asansol, a small industrial town in West Bengal, Biswajit has always been making and creating. He even remembers crafting a gili-danda for himself as a kid.
Bits of a conversation about his ongoing, just-over-a-year-old project with paper-cups, what made him seek out this canvas, and more.
TLJ: How do you manage to draw in such a tiny area, and what do you do with all the painted paper cups?
BD: I use pens, brushes, nibs, inks, colours, ash, sometimes even fingers to sketch inside them. It isn't easy to paint with almost a straight hanging brush, neither is it easy to paint with a mental block. I fight both on a daily basis. I have been painting one cup everyday, since 9 May 2016. All these cups are stored (carefully) inside carton boxes. You never throw your diaries and journals in bins like (you do with) used cups, right?
TLJ: The Instagram bio for this project's account reads ‘Claustrophobia’ and you’re painting in such a tiny, crammed space. What drove you to start painting in this small canvas?
BD: These big, spacious offices are great at creating (a sense of) claustrophobia. Everyday at work, next to the coffee machine, I would see cups stacked into one another and stuffed into a narrow polythene pack. I felt like one of those cups. So I picked up them up and started putting my mood, feelings, and thoughts into them— kind of like a visual diary of sorts. It’s never random.
TLJ: Tell us a little about what inspires you.
BD : A cold morning shower, birds, the smell of food, memes, a beautiful woman, a street dog, a distant tune from my childhood memories— anything and everything tends to inspire me. The mountains never fail me, so every now and then I run to them. They make me feel small and inspire me to work harder.
TLJ: What other canvases or mediums do you work with?
BD: I work on paper, canvas, with stones, empty bottles, and more. Surface doesn’t actually matter. I usually use ink, water colours, and acrylic colours. Pen and ink are my favourites.
TLJ: Three artists you love
BD: Van Gogh, Francis Bacon, Peter Kohl. Closer home, I love Ram Kinkar Baij, Gopal Ghosh, and Anish Kapoor, among many others.
You can see more of Biswajit's work on his Instagram.