A touch of drama defines Kushagra Gupta’s electrifying 3D designs
We speak to the Kolkata-based artist-turned-designer about club poster design, how he became enamoured with 3D softwares and his love of collaborating with queer-focused events.
- Olivia Hingley
- 8 April 2022
Visual artist and graphic designer Kushagra Gupta tells us that, quite simply, he’s a “sucker for art that has a certain drama”. Loving the aesthetic potential that the notion of “drama” offers, Kushagra’s own work is a spectacle in its own right, oozing with theatrics and electrifying visuals. Approaching this specific style with a focus on his use of textures, light and colour, Kushagra revels in making things that shouldn’t make sense, make sense: “I love juxtaposing and contrasting materials that you wouldn’t often find together otherwise, and this interaction between hyper-synthetic and hyper-natural is what drives my work.”
This focus on “drama” is an element that Kushagra recognises as helping him significantly in his work with musicians, especially as many he works with “produce really intense and sometimes dark music”. This shines through in one of Kushagra’s posters for Body Work, a techno/house gig presented by the Australian record label, Lucid Dreaming Records. Working with a refreshingly “mystical, metaphysical vibe”, the posters black and orange gradient and abstract humanoid figure, and block, digital type culminate in a dramatically moody and gothic showpiece. Likewise, in his poster for Sksksks, a queer club night in New York, Kushagra enjoyed interpreting and building upon “a very particularly, very gay visual language” by toying with metallic and chrome textures and a dark, ethereal atmosphere. “I love working with other queer people", Kushagra expands, “and working on a poster for a queer gig was amazing, especially with one of my favourite music produces, Coucou Chloe playing."
Born and raised in Kolkata, India, Kushagra studied graphic design in college and graduated just as the pandemic unfolded. It was the freetime that lockdown offered which allowed for Kushagra to finally dabble in 3D design, an area he had always been fascinated by. But, the defining moment in Kushagra’s 3D journey was him taking part in the 36 Days of Type challenge, an “extended ritual” which helped the designer slowly enter a new creative space – something Kushagra identifies can often be “intimidating”. Moreover, the designer recognises that “over the past two years 3D programmes have become more intuitive and accessible” and is grateful to be “part of a very resourceful and inspiring online community of artists”. Having since honed his 3D skills, Kushagra has been working from home as a freelance designer and has clients from all corners of the globe.
Recently, Kushagra tells us that he's been trying to steer away from more “realistic” 3D, and instead adapt his work “into a more graphic sense, with an overt interplay of form, space and colour”. This, he explains, is rooted in his finding inspiration in a lot of vintage print media, like posters and record covers from the 970s. But, the designer is also able to find inspiration much closer to home, namely, in his partner a fellow artist, Nadhir Nor. “We are always discussing art, culture and media and his deeply poetic, nostalgic outlook on life (as also seen in his art) is a constant inspiration to me.”
Concluding with some thoughts on the element of his practice that he most enjoys, Kushagra lands on the 3D modelling and texturing part, where he gets to bring his concepts and thumbnail sketches to life. “This is the part where I get to be a ‘flow state’ for lack of a better term, where I get to be really spontaneous with my art and just have fun with it”, the designer elaborates. Enjoying playing with all aspects of the software, breaking and remaking things as he goes, Kushagra now finds himself fully enamoured with the 3D world. “I get to make as many iterations until I arrive at something that clicks and sparks joy”, the designer finishes, “I’m still blown away by the things made possible through 3D technology”.
Bodywork 2: Kushagra Gupta: Lucid Dreaming – Body Work (Copyright © Kushagra Gupta, 2021)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.