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Santanu Hazarika: Only A Doodle Away The phenomenon of Indian contemporary art is difficult to comprehend, but even though an artist's age may not matter much, it is frequently the young artists who are creating waves with their work. One such artist whose impact can not be overlooked is Santanu Hazarika.

By Kavya Pillai

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Santanu Hazarika, Artist

All that stands before us in the midst of turmoil is a spark of inspiration; art takes hold of our hands and guides us there. The phenomenon of Indian contemporary art is difficult to comprehend, but even though an artist's age may not matter much, it is frequently the young artists who are creating waves with their work. By distilling an image to its most basic elements and criticizing the reality of our world, artists create visually stimulating, uplifting, and invigorating works of art. One such artist whose impact can not be overlooked is Santanu Hazarika.

We commenced our conversation by enquiring about the origin of Hazarika's inclination towards art. He shared, "I think as a kid I had a knack for sketching and drawing. However, when I first discovered comic books I used to replicate the characters and the images that I used to read in the books and all the cartoons I saw. I used to replicate a lot of Dragon Ball Z stuff as I used to collect a lot of Dragon Ball Z pencil boxes." "During my school days, I used to draw on the blackboard, during special events and celebrations like Christmas Day, Teacher's Day, and other such times," he added.

We asked Hazarika, what was his formula for creative breakthroughs. He explained, "I don't think there is a magic formula that increases your odds. I always follow this model, called the T model, I guess. So, having an overall idea of what's happening around you, be it pop culture, scientific revelations, or any current scenario. Along with that, having detailed knowledge about the kind of practice you're engaged in, be it art, music, or any form of creative endeavour. I think that really helps a lot to have really good and inspiring creative breakthroughs because then you're able to create very objective art pieces or expressions to which people can relate, which are also very relevant and current."

Having had an illustrious journey to fame, we asked the artist what the highlights of the journey were. "The first big break would be when I won the Red Bull World Doodle Art Championship in 2014. That was the moment when I decided to drop out of engineering and pursue art and design as a standalone career. I believe that experience gave me a good platform and the confidence to speak out and take this leap of faith, breaking the stereotype that sketching and drawing won't get you far. It really instilled a sense of confidence in me and in the people around me who supported me after winning the competition," he said.

Having a variety of work attached to his name we asked how he decides what his next project will be. He explained, "I'm a multidisciplinary visual artist. So, I practice with various mediums, anything I can use to express and create. It's all part of a plan; I believe as an artist, I should have control over all mediums and not be restricted by a particular form. If I want to express something using a certain medium, whether it's a wall, a car, or products like a t-shirt or even something as complex as an SUV, it doesn't matter as long as I can create and express the way I want to."

As for how he picks his next project, "I'll take up that project, regardless of the size or budget, as long as it allows me to create, express, and experiment. Now, at this point in my career, I am saying no to some projects, not because of arrogance, but because I don't have the bandwidth to handle multiple projects simultaneously. Balancing various projects is crucial because diverting attention to too many things can turn creativity into distraction, impacting the quality of my work. Strategically choosing projects that serve the purpose is an important aspect of decision-making," he added.

Lastly, we were eager to know what we could expect next from the artist. "Some of my upcoming works, unfortunately, I can't disclose many of them as I'm under NDA, but I would say they revolve around automobiles, luxury brands, clothing, fashion, a lot of AI work, and also probably in the future, towards the end of this year, there is an exhibition that everyone can look forward to," he concluded.

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