Disrupting blind faith with eye-opening art, unabashed designs and postmodern posters highlighting political scenario of the country, visual artist and art baker Siddhesh Gautam from Pune is an artist to look out for. Also working with Studio Gendaphool, Gautam is running his artistic stream of thoughts on his social media page @BakeryPrasad. Here is an excerpt of the interview taken regarding his satirical posters creating a buzz.
Question: From drawing Picasso inspired series to sketching on-the-face political art from on your social media handle, how did this transition take place?
Actually I was inclined towards politics since childhood since I was born in a political family and I have been listening to their talks since a very long time where I have observed people pretend to be something else for the masses and heard those intrinsic conversations about the system for a very long time. Maybe my parents wanted to raise me as a government officer but I wasn’t really interested in that. Although, they have always taught me to question things and raise voice as a citizen of India and that is what I'm doing through art.
I, through my art became brutal because clearly the government has become brutal. It goes without saying that the current government has done good job in many aspects of development but this current campaign of promoting Hinduttva does not hold that much importance. So many people have risen to this agitation and it’s time we think if we need a cultural revolution in the Indian sense. Overall development of the country and public welfare is a bigger deal than what the current government is emphasizing on.
Question: As an artist, you are using the tool ‘art’ to voice your opinions about the current scenario, but have you ever thought of entering the political system instead since you have a political background?
Actually, I would like to do that in future. I am preparing myself to be a better politician than who we are facing today. So that I would be able to answer questions about the policies and know what are the laws governing us rather than just be a good orator and a charming person for the society. I would like to be a part of the system and in fact, I enjoy talking about it with my family but it’s a bizarre system as we aren’t going to the roots and finding the cause of the problems here but I do try through my art to work with people who may not come under our legislation but whose life we may be able to touch. Politically, yes, I am preparing myself and hopefully I’ll be a part of the system soon.
Questions: Coming from a political background, how did art get into your veins? Did someone inspire you?
It happened over time. Everybody in my family wanted their kids to be either an IAS officer or turn politicians and this is the environment where I grew up in; where I was being told that drawing or art might not take me anywhere. But somewhere I had an inclination towards art since I drew well and my friends suggested I enter a design school. Since I got into fashion technology at NIFT Mumbai and then in NID Ahmedabad, I came across a lot of people who showed me different perspectives of not just literal art but of various fields. And then, eventually my parents also supported me as I grew in this field.
Question: Art is open to interpretation. When you post your art on social media outright, do you fear that a wrong message may spread out and since, there are a number of fanatics as well as blind followers of all the parties? Do you think your art may disrupt peace?
Art always has the power of creating controversy and disturbing people who aren’t able to accept. Art in any form is conversing or expressing the thoughts of people in the light. Even people debating on national channels can be taken as a propaganda and I do receive hate messages from people who comment, ‘why are you talking against only one government and not the other parties’ to which I simply reply that this is the ruling government and if the other government does the same, I’ll question them again.
If we go back to few years, there have been great writers, artists, cartoonists who have in fact, become great leaders of the country and ruled the people. Many artists have used this art form against British invasion as well. Independent artists, indie newspapers and media houses today, are raising their voices and somehow a renaissance of art is taking place in our country in this time period.
Question: We all have biases and prejudices, and knowing that art has the power to instill thought process in people, how important is the use of rationality in your art? Also, when you sketch something do you have a neutral state of mind or do you get carried away with your personal biases?
Sometimes, biases are present. But, I do articulated research before I make anything. Because I have been educated in design, so this is the way I do my art. Sometimes, I do not even think as an Indian but an outsider of the country, a spectator of the present system. There are various possibilities to draw a particular art, maybe there is an alternative to democracy that may work or the social system can change overnight. That’s why, we artists needs to project those possibilities out from newer perspectives. We can always march towards change.
Question: Now that your art has indentation towards social issues and questioning the political scenario, is it filling your pockets or filling your inbox with hate emails?
I feel this is the responsibility of me as a citizen of India to be a part of the system and somewhere I have not depended on my art totally to fill my pockets because I have suffered in the past, I basically earn for my designs and not from my art. That’s why my art is pure because I am not putting a price tag to it and expecting any monetary benefits. I do not have any other hobby other than this so this is a reflection of what I am reading, what I am seeing and what is affecting me as a person. Some clients have asked me take down some art work from my Instagram feed and I was unable to comprehend the reason for the same. Business is different from my own personal space i.e. my feed which is a projection of my ideologies!
Questions: If you were given a chance to draw for a cause for the rest of your life, which genre or cause is the closest to you that you’d opt for?
I think education is the field which is the closest to me where I have been trying to promote art triggering unconventional way of thought process. That being said, I want to draw art for education purpose where children are taught to observe things, use it as a means of communication, and where everybody is learning to draw imagination, creativity and thoughts onto the canvas.