An Interview With Devraj Baruah

Devraj Baruah is an artist who calls himself “an acrobat of light and darkness”. Hailing from Gauwhati, Assam, Devraj has a distinctive style and a unique improvisational approach to creating art. Paintcollar caught up with him for an interview about his work and inspirations. You can find Devraj’s extensive collection across a variety of products on paintcollar.com/devraj

Pink Floyd artwork by Devraj Baruah

Hi Devraj! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the creative field?

Sure, First of all let me thank you for this lovely opportunity to speak about my art and myself in this awesome Paintcollar Blog.

Yes, I am an artist and I’ve been creating art for a living for a very long time. I cannot really remember how I got into this beautiful thing, but as my mom recalls, it all started as a kid with a chalk, crawling on a freshly mopped floor and creating graffiti everywhere.

Since then, its all been the same. The only change is the medium of art and the ever flowing concepts.

Your art is unique and has its own distinctive style. How did you develop this? What have been your influences?

Thanks, I really appreciate that Paintcollar loves my work! I think my art didn’t really ‘develop’ because I never really knew where exactly it was going. It was a very unplanned exploration and what you see today is maybe an evolved form of that mindless pursuit for creation which starting couple of decades ago.

The core influence has always been music and as I was born in the 70’s, you can well imagine how intensely those vibes might have engulfed a teenager. Artists like Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dalí have always been an inspiration which made me very inquisitive about surrealism and other art movements. An amalgamation of the work of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, along with poetry of Allen Ginsberg and songs by Bob Dylan have influenced my work.

The Who by Devraj
The Who T shirt by Devraj Baruah

Do you have any formal education in art?

Nope. I never really had a chance to explore art in a wonderful institution.

Most of your art seems to have a deeper inner meaning to it. Was that meant to be or are we looking a bit too hard?

Nice question. To answer this, I must tell you about the process it goes through. This is just the opposite of what I practice as a UI and UX designer in my daily work. Here the ‘Art’ comes first and the ‘User’ comes last. It can be compared with the technique of ‘improvisation’, while making jazz music. As the ‘User’ comes last, the result always ends up in something new and User needs some time to catch hold of it. It is not that I complicate it intentionally, but by practicing improvisation, both the User and the Artist land into something new, something unexplored, something far away from known imagery.

A lot of your art is digital. Could you please shed some light on the process involved in making it?

Yes, most of my works are digital, simply because it needs less preparation to start and carry on. Using a brush and a canvas needs a lot of discipline and dedication which I think is not found in plenty in me.

In digital works, I mostly use a blend of vector and raster formats. My favourite tool is ‘Inkscape’ for vector and I am also an avid user of ‘Flame Painter’ which is a very new tool for raster and vector paintings.

Flame Warrior, by Devraj Baruah

Majority of your art involves dark themes and colours. Any particular reasons behind this?

Not really, but yes, I prefer to start work on a black canvas and like to put on all the bright stuff myself.

Music seems to influence a lot of your artwork. Are the bands featured in your artwork the same ones you listen to? What does your typical playlist look like?

I love this question. Yes, music is the mojo that works behind the scene in almost all my works.

Most of bands that are featured in artwork on Paintcollar, were actually buzzing in my ears while making them.My typical playlist would look like a bunch of people sporting all the music related Paintcollar T-Shirts I made. 🙂

Devraj’s series of music related artwork

How has art impacted your life on a personal level?

It is in everything. From relationships to my profession, it can be found everywhere. It has shaped my past, my present and also is weaving my future with a profound clarity.

Are you currently working on any major projects?

Yes, right now I am working as Director, User Experience with a company called Princeton IT Services Inc. Currently I am busy setting up a Software Design & Development Centre in my home town of Guwahati. This is kind of a dream project for me, which I think will help creating design based jobs in this part of the country. Sustaining as an artist is still a tough job in our country (unless you’re famous) and especially in the North-East. I think graphic design and other design based jobs would help artists pursue a career in a similar field and carry art along with them like me. I really hate when somebody says he had to stop doing art to make a living with something else.

The trend in mass consumption of art has shifted from galleries and exhibitions to designer products like T shirts and mobile covers. Do you think a startup like Paintcollar can help artists to meet this new demand?

A startup like Paintcollar has made this mojo come alive. Had there not been a platform like this, I think tons of my artwork would have made its way to the recycle bin just like its predecessors.

Nothing is archived better than giving it to the masses. I really feel websites like Paintcollar are the stalwart of this Art Movement of 21st century. Hundreds of artworks are being categorized, archived and finally put on display everyday by Paintcollar. Now-a-days artists really don’t have to worry about anything apart from creating an authentic and beautiful piece of art. With the inception of sites like Paintcollar, there is a virtual mega art gallery being created globally, which artists and art institutions can utilize to popularise and share the art they have been working on for ages.

I see this new trend in India as a paradigm shift for doing art for a living in our country. I will be forever grateful to all the people, for their zeal and hard work in making this come true. Thank You!

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