Musings: Interview With Rajarshi Goswami

Rajarshi Goswami has been interested in art since he was a child but only recently did he realize his immense passion for it. His delightful doodles are inspired by everything he loves. He puts together his doodles with incredible detail which provides his artwork with great panache.

Rajarshi is currently based in Bangalore, where he works at a consulting firm. We caught up with him recently for a little chat.


INTERVIEW

We’re glad we could finally get to this chat, welcome- Rajarshi! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Yes, it’s a great pleasure to talk to Cupick as well. Well, I grew up in Guwahati, Assam. Since my father was a professor in Assam Engineering College, I grew up in the campus which really shaped me into who I am now. The closely knit campus, far away from the city, surrounded by green hills and lake (Deepor Beel), provided ample opportunities for imps like us to explore and hatch crazy ideas. We used to camp, hike, fish during monsoons, play football in the mud, sneak into hostels dotting the campus to play badminton, lawn-tennis and table-tennis and steal green mangoes, jujubes, java plums, gooseberries, guavas etc (sometimes even from our own backyard). Those were the days where things used to be very simple and all aunts and uncles would treat us like their own children (and scolded us alike). My parents however made sure that I kept up with the studies along with extra-curricular activities like swimming, painting and Tabla. My busiest days were Sundays. My parents used to drag me to the art school and to be honest I hated it very much as during those days the Mahabharata used to be shown and on Monday in school, I used to feel that I am the only child in this planet who missed all the actions. Looking back now, I am really grateful to my parents and to my art teachers. I stayed there for nearly 23 years, did my engineering from there itself and left Assam for Mumbai to work for Tata Power. By then, art had taken the back seat and the last time I held a brush was months before my matriculation. The rat race had begun and having a good career and stable life became my main priority. Well, to cut the story short, jobs and higher studies (MBA), took me from Mumbai to Bangkok, from Bangkok to Guwahati again, from Guwahati to Delhi and now I am in Bangalore, working for a consulting firm.

When did you realize art was an essential element of your perspective?

As I have said, after Class X, life changed as getting good marks became more important. To be honest, in 1999, there was no internet, no mobile and the exposure was limited and Assam was still sort of a far-far away land for most. The only way ahead was to get into good colleges or IITs. Thankfully, it has changed now and I see lot many youngsters following their dream and they are so confident, which is really good. Anyway, though I didn’t draw or paint, my notebooks used to be filled with doodles and scribbles. Whenever any class used to drag, I found myself doodling, whenever I was waiting for someone, I used to aimlessly doodle to kill time. I never paid any notice or importance to this till last year, when my mother-in-law who knew that I used to paint during my childhood, requested I paint her something. I was skeptical, pretty much lost and didn’t have any confidence as it’s been more than 15 years. I thought I would try drawing some shapes to see if I could still draw and as I was aimlessly scribbling around, that’s when it struck me. I realized how much I love doodling actually. Doodling helps me relax, express myself, allows me to be myself, allows me to escape from the reality. It was the way to get in touch with the child in me.

Are there any particular themes you like to explore in your work?

Oh yes. There are so many actually. The art has seen a lot of innovation and is no longer confided to paper and brush. Every day, as I surf Cupick or Pinterest, I see so many new forms and styles of art. It’s amazing how much people can strive, work tirelessly to reach perfection. I sometimes wish I had that much of passion, abandonment and courage. I am really fascinated by the digital art and I think in the future I will explore that space.

Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration?

Don’t be surprised but my biggest inspiration is Ratan Tata. He started his career on the shop floor of Tata Steel and though he became the Chairman of Tata Group later when JRD Tata stepped down, his humility, and simplicity remained untouched. He successfully transitioned Tata to a brand that the world can trust. He’s a legend. I guess, one can never stop admiring that person.

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Walter White by Rajarshi Goswami

Tshirts, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

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Freddie Mercury by Rajarshi Goswami

Tshirts, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

Talk us through your creative process. How long does it take you from ideation to the finished product?

It’s actually very simple but the entire process takes me around 3-4 days. Most people, I have doodled for are special to me for one reason or the other. It could be a movie or some TV series or maybe music. For example, Breaking Bad- it’s a TV series I really loved. So I took a photo of Walter White and drew his face. Then I started doodling around his face, keeping in mind about the eyes and shadows around his face. That’s it. If you check out my page, you would see it yourself.

We are eager to learn about the tools you use. Could you give us a quick preview of your inventory?

Well, I am sort of a traditional artist. I still use only a pencil, eraser and pencil sharpener. Sometimes I prefer to use water colour. I draw it on a normal chart paper (not sure technically what is it called). Initially, I draw the person and doodle it with a pencil. Later on, ZI use Sakura Micron pens for the black outline and Staedtler Triplus for shading. (No wonder, I would like to explore the digital space as its completely new for me).

Would you mind letting us have a peek at your work station? 

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Rajarshi’s Workstation

How is it tackling a commercial project and getting back to your personal artwork? How do you go about the approach and manage to make time for both?

It’s getting tougher to be honest. Earlier, when I started, I did it for free as most of them were for my friends and family members. There were no deadlines. But with increasing exposure, it’s tough to manage both. Commercial projects have deadlines and I hate deadlines as they affect my pace and overall peace of mind. I therefore, sometimes have to politely decline few commercial prospects as I started this for a reason. I started this because I love doodling and so do not take up anything if I feel I have to compromise on anything. In addition, my wife is very supportive about it and hence many things become easier to manage.

If were to choose from all your work till date, what would you pick as your most favourite artwork?

That has to be the Freddie Mercury and Johnny Depp doodle. Though, I haven’t yet shared it on Cupick, you can still see it in my personal website.

Procrastination- how would you define your relationship with it? And how do you deal with it?

Hehe. I must question you back – How did you know? If you really wish to know, my wife would be the perfect person. Oh, I procrastinate so much and I must agree that, it would be my worst weakness. Every year, my New Year resolution would be to be prompt and not to procrastinate. I have failed miserably on this. Let’s hope, I get to iron out this small wrinkle one day.

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Tyrion Lannister by Rajarshi Goswami

Tshirts, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

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John Lennon by Rajarshi Goswami

Tshirts, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

What is the one thing that keeps you going?

You may find it strange but it’s my consulting job. It makes me realize, how much I love doodling and more I spend time at office, more I yearn and relish when I am doodling. And of course, the love and affection from my wife, my sister and parents/in-laws has been tremendous. They strongly believe that one day I would be very famous. HaHa!

Does music play an important part in your creative process? Could we get a peek at the top songs on your playlist right now?

Oh. It does. I love music and though I listen to all genres, I guess I am sort of old-ish! Among Assamese singers it is Bhupen Hazarika and Jayanta Hazarika.  If you ask me about Hindi, it would be Kishore Kumar, Mohd. Rafi  and Lata. Moving on to English, there are actually quite a few and to pick few ones would be The Eagles, GnR, Simon and Garfunkel, John Denver, Bob Dylan, The Queen, Pink Floyd etc. They have been on my playlist for years. I guess I need to update my list.

If given a chance to work with any artist in the world, who would you pick?

That would be Vince Low and Mattias Adolfsson. Both of them are just amazing!

If you weren’t an artist, what do think you would be doing?

I think I would have opened a small restaurant for travelers and wildlife photographers. They have the most amazing stories to share.

If you could have only one superpower, what would you choose?

Invisibility.

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Benedict Cumberbatch by Rajarshi Goswami

Tshirts, notebooks, laptop skins and more available here.

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Bob Marley by Rajarashi Goswami

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If you could give one piece of advice for aspiring artists reading this right now, what would that be?

Well, tough question actually. I myself am an aspiring artist. But from my little experience I would say that one should never lose heart and give up. Every day is a new day.

How has the journey with Cupick been thus far?

Oh. It has been fantastic. I must thank the tireless team behind the scene who has created this unique platform for aspiring artists like us. I wish all the best for them and hope to meet them in person.

 

Check out Rajarshi’s artwork on Cupick at Cupick.com/rongoswami

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