Not many would be able to imagine Radha and Krishna or Ram and Sita click selfies but designers and artists today, have found a fun way to express themselves on social media. Graphics Interchange Format, or more commonly known as GIFs, have paved their way to the internet recently even though the technology has existed for more than 20 years. GIFs have made interactions on the internet much more animated and amusing. Adrita Das or better known by her nickname Das Naiz, is one such artist who used GIFs in her recent project titled ‘Selfie Gods’.
“A lot of artists just want to share their work without the intention of making money or getting clients. If you’re making something, then it should be able to reach people. It’s much easier now to get instant feedback. You immediately know what is working and what isn’t,” she states.
In her artwork, Das animates old Mughal and Rajasthani paintings and adds a phone showing the subjects clicking selfies. “I was looking at a lot of paintings and miniature art work for this start up I was working for. It was for tourists who find Indian culture very fascinating, especially the kitschy and exotic aspect. After going through the paintings, to me, it looked as if all of characters were clicking selfies because of their hand gestures. So in the beginning I just collected photos of paintings where it looked like the subject was clicking a selfie,” she explains. The work that Das was doing for the startup didn’t materialise but it did not stop her from pursuing this project. She uploaded ‘Selfie Gods’ on her Tumblr profile as well as on her Facebook page, Das Naiz. Within a few months, it got picked up by several sites and Das’ work got featured on several platforms.
The 24-year-old studied design from the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bengaluru and mentions how the institution pushed her to work towards her interest. “We used to make a lot GIFs in college but there was no way to put it online then. For me, art was just a hobby but over the past four years I’ve been looking at visual art as that’s my area of interest. I’m also working on trying to merge writing and art.”
She cites picture resolution as one of her challenges while working on graphics. “The most important thing while working on graphics is the resolution. The idea should be well executed. That’s one of the constraints. I try to keep the quality as high as possible and it’s something I’m working on.”
One of the eye-grabbing works of Das includes the GIF of a lady, dressed in a saree, raising her eyebrows. “It looks like Jayalalithaa but it is another Telugu actress. I found this book on vintage advertising at a friend’s house. From that I got many ideas and luckily I didn’t have to deal with any copyright issues,” she recalls.
Working on a new project for Independence Day with Delhi-based agency Animal, Das along with 68 other artists will come out with 69 individual artworks. Each artwork will be within the outline of the Indian map and will represent a specific year after the Independence. Das has worked on the year 1957, when the film, Mother India released. She looked at a lot of propaganda posters and has circled around the film to bring out the unrealistic expectations that society has on women. “I wanted to make something funny but not too preachy. At the same time, I also wanted to bring out feministic values. Mother India was one of the highest grossing films in that year. It showed the journey of one woman who struggles to survive and raise her children amidst many problems.”
Das plans on starting a satirical news comic strip on a fortnightly or monthly basis. “I’m thinking of calling it ‘Times of Darkness’ since all the news we read and hear is mostly tragic and unfortunate. I want it to be relevant and funny at the same time,” she says with an excitement as realises that she has a lot of work to finish and hurriedly signs off.
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