“Art has been a part of me since I was born,” New Delhi-based artist and designer Pranav Bhardwaj tells us. “It’s like breathing to me now, I do it almost all the time.” Years of practising and refining his craft have paid off, as Pranav is an accomplished creative director in his own right, as well as an impressive wizard of colour and imagery. He credits feedback and experimentation as two ways in which he’s been able to carve out such a refined path for himself. “The thrilling excitement comes when people start recognising your art without you being there physically,” he says. “It’s that feeling of a small achievement, like your every stroke is redeeming its worth.” As a former art director at Wieden+Kennedy, Google, and Vice, there’s no doubt that Pranav is an artist who knows how to land a successful gig with his incredibly well-practised craft.
How exactly do these positions feed into, and stimulate, creativity as a designer? For Pranav, it was all about the culture that is fostered whilst working in these team environments. “Wieden+Kennedy was a pretty interesting experience where I learnt the most out of any of the places I have ever worked,” Pranav explains. “I learnt to think big, global brand transforming ideas amidst all the chaos of an advertising life.” As a result, Pranav’s art and design aesthetics were elevated by leaps and bounds. It’s an environment he strongly recommends designers try at least once. “My job at Google included the task of understanding the Indian audiences and making art directed campaigns at an Asia level,” he adds. “Art, design and aesthetics are a huge part of that mix that bring alive every bit of an idea for the end consumer.”
But truthfully, Pranav’s personal practice is a stark difference to that of his vastly impressive design director work history. His works are loud, bright, beautiful explosions of maximalism that prove Pranav is someone who can’t be categorised. To go from the sleek, always-adapting world of advertising and the tech-heavy realm of Google, to the unrestricted frenzy of his own personal work is an incredibly impressive feat. “My process is basically always on,” Pranav says. “I constantly imbibe and absorb things, and whatever I see, hear or listen gets recorded.” Pranav keeps his mind open and exploratory, and finds that utilising a myriad of stimulants from his day-to-day best feeds into his practice. “I borrow a lot from everyday words, colloquial terms, and the news,” he adds. “My ultimate goal is to put all my personal imperfections as colours and shapes and forms,” he says, “where it might look chaotic prima facie but everything comes together in perfect sync with a dash of quirk.”
Now, Pranav is looking to continue his “imperfect, unique, intuitive and human” art with other brands. He recalls fondly his work with Levi’s as something reminiscent of what he’d like to continue. “I customised Levi’s 501 with art for its global celebration of the iconic jean called 501 Day,” he says. “It was a great and exciting project since the scale was huge, painting on an iconic product was a novel experience and on top of that, Levi’s is my favourite brand.” The project is forever close to Pranav’s heart due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback it received. “The idea of transforming any product with art is so exciting,” he adds. “I hope I get to take my art around the world and make people experience it through their eyes, and I hope my art lives beyond me.”
Pranav Bhardwaj: Woke up like this (Copyright © Pranav Bhardwaj, 2020)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were 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.