Kushagra Gupta’s trippy 3D creations draw inspiration from nature, mythology and fantasy
Kushagra Gupta sees 3D art as an endless canvas. Free from constraints and boundaries, the creative born in India can explore limitless possibilities in terms of shape, color and texture. Its subject matter tends to be derived from the more abstract – the weird and the weird – as it draws elements inspired by nature, mythology, and fantasy art.
It’s also a medium he fell into quite easily, given that he grew up around online games and nurtured a healthy obsession with digital art. Below, we chat with Kushagra to learn more about his influences and why being able to âdeconstruct and rebuild pretty much anythingâ gives him a sense of optimism.
It would be nice to hear a little about yourself first!
I was born in Calcutta, India. Since the pandemic, I have been working from home here, but I was working in Mumbai before that. I have a bachelor’s degree in communication design, and right after graduating in 2020 I started my career as a freelance graphic designer and artist. During this time, I started to explore different digital media to create art, and I turned to 3D. Exploring and experimenting on a regular basis has allowed me to learn and hone my practice, and establishing a virtual presence on the Internet has helped me find my niche.
What drew you to art and design rather than other creative media?
I have always been inclined towards creativity and even in high school I was sure I wanted to work in a creative field. So, as a student who loved to create and loved to study, design – especially visual communication – was very appealing. I was an extremely connected person even as a teenager, so I think I developed a digital art craze at a young age. Even when I was 13, I was engaged in creating fan art and graphics in online forums and game groups. I even had my own “store” where I created illustrations, avatars, and signatures for people, and they paid me in virtual game currency. I think having a creative set of parents has definitely helped me develop a love for art and design.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I feel like I can find inspiration in anything and everything. Having said that, I love mythological and fantasy art. In the same vein, I am always happy to see concept art for games or movies. I am also deeply inspired by fashion design – I love this play of silhouettes, colors and textures and I try to incorporate it into my own works of art. Above all, nature should be the greatest and most reliable source of inspiration and joy. From the textured surfaces of other planets to the weird creatures of the Paleozoic era, I think that kind of effortless beauty that is so easily found in nature is the biggest motivation for feeling energized and creating.
A lot of people tell me that they feel comforted or satisfied when they see my art, and it really comforts me because I can share that kind of fun with others.
What themes do you tend to bring up in your work and why?
My art tends to be more abstract, so it’s about observing the interplay between shapes, colors and textures. Many of these elements in my art allude to shapes and textures found in the real world, especially shapes and forms found in nature. My digital sculptures often explore a tension between organic and synthetic elements – for example, through biologically inspired forms and man-made industrial textures. I love how this digital 3D canvas allows me to deconstruct and reconstruct just about anything – and it’s this feeling of infinity and abundance that makes me very optimistic about art in general.
How do you go about making your parts?
For my personal pieces, the creation process is very relaxed and is often guided by trial and error and spontaneity. Most of the time, I’m just distorting shapes and textures – breaking things up, blowing them up, stretching them and pulverizing them. It doesn’t necessarily end up as something “pretty”, but I don’t mind because I like the process very much. I like to take 3D objects that I have already created and manipulate them into something new, adding new layers of meaning or emotion. Technically, I like that the basics of my scene, including the lighting and backdrop, are already in place so that I can quickly get into this âstate of fluxâ of creativity. When it comes to business projects, I like to define the vision and concept upstream because it makes things easier for me and my clients. After discussing the brief, I’m working on some concept pitches that include sketches and references. It helps me create an outline of the artwork before I start modeling it in 3D; I think this prevents the project from becoming overwhelming later on.
Can you choose some recent favorite pieces and talk about them?
It’s hard to choose, but I really like the piece called Runner. It’s an iteration of an older piece of art, and what I love is that it’s so simple, yet loaded with a kind of cheerfulness. I love the contrast between the iconically ‘cute’ silhouette but the color and texture being this understated polished material. I really enjoyed creating it and I feel happy every time I see it.
Apart from that, I’m also very happy with the artwork I created for Machinedrum’s new Psyconia EP. The word Psyconia is a coat rack of Psychic and Syconia, which refers to some kind of fruit, like fig. I was given a brief to create something inspired by the shape or texture of a fig, something that would symbolize enlightenment and abundance. The artwork features an ethereal instrument and its shape is inspired by the fruit of the fig. What makes it a favorite is that it refers to the kind of “items” or tools you’ll find in a fantasy video game – so to me that sounds like something I’d like to get!
How do you expect your audience to react to your work?
I just want people to feel happier or calmer, or even just intrigued. I want them to feel an inexplicable way in words. A lot of people tell me that they feel comforted or satisfied when they see my art, and it really comforts me because I can share that kind of fun with others.
What’s the next step for you?
I can’t wait to move to Mumbai when the pandemic subsides here! Other than that, I have a bunch of interesting projects going on. I am delighted to be working on my first vinyl illustration for an Australian label. I’m also working on creating some of my own prints – on paper as well as clothes, so I’m looking forward to that!