Dialling up the saturation, Kush's vibrant illustrations aim to thrash the shame in self-expression
The British-Asian illustrator discards shame in favour of unbridled and unapologetic joy in her work.
- Joey Levenson
- 15 February 2023
The magic of Kush Jutlla was first introduced to us when we investigated how the creative Punjabi diaspora turned out in support of the Indian Farmers’ Protest of 2021. It was a fascinating insight into Kush’s political slant, as well as her work with Manny Janda at Mush Studio. This time, however, we’re spotlighting the illustrator solo. Born in Yorkshire and based in London, Kush is an illustrator that dials up the saturation and throws every colour to the (digital) canvas to create dynamic, highly brilliant works that pay homage to her Indian heritage.
“I love the flexibility that the digital medium can now bring to my work,” Kush tells It’s Nice That. “Growing up British-Asian, my illustrations started as a way to showcase the culture clash of balancing old school tradition while trying to find and keep my own identity,” she adds. The fusion of the digital 2D practice with the classical illustration styles perfectly exemplifies how Kush marries the old with the new. But, it’s not all about the medium; her work comes from a powerful place of self-discovery. “Being brown and female meant constantly being told from a young age to cover up and stay modest,” the illustrator explains. “Self expression was an uphill battle, constantly editing yourself in order to please others and the wider community. Growing and healing from these mindsets and allowing yourself to be your most authentic self is, in my opinion, one of the most empowering and beautiful acts of self love we can do for ourselves.”
For now, Kush is set on creating illustrations that are vibrant and demand attention. It’s her way of taking back the shame. “No hiding anymore, just beautiful symbols of strength, femininity and joy.”
Kush: Bodies (Copyright © Kush, 2022)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. He was part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.