Over the years we have seen, heard about and appreciated all forms of street art. From installations to murals to paintings, art for social change is no new genre and yet when Baadal Nanjundaswamy stepped out with his brand of street art, his work proved to be far more than just being anti-establishment. Nanjundaswamy’s work had it in itself to not just trigger change but actually play on the social angle and to urge the authorities to act upon its misgivings.

We engage the artist in a conversation. Excerpts here…

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BB: Tell us more about addressing the potholes with your street art…

BN (Baadal Nanjundaswamy): It was not intentional but totally unintentional. I was just getting ideas and executing them and later realised it could be termed as taking art to the streets. I have read somewhere that the creative minds that refuse to compromise with the establishment have an innate urge to protest. Probably I too was thinking of protesting against the establishment even as I painted because painting is all that I know. I tried to see if I could mock the system. I realised that I was doing so after several of my works got quick response from authorities. I realised it was possible, I had proved it right. However later it was described as art for social cause. I was unaware of it while working at it. My sole intention at the time of creating the art was that the broken divider needed to be fixed and an open manhole had to be shut.

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BB: Tell us about your art philosophy and the intention of you work?

BN: My philosophy of art is that art is enlightenment. Earth is the canvas, colour is the religion. The intention of my art is to explore inexplicit possibilities. Even to this day parents hesitate to let their children take up arts as a major subject for study. I am trying to voice the sufferings of those who have taken up art, like me, for livelihood. Art is required in every aspect of our life, yet it is not given the main status. Only a handful of artists achieve success and other artists continue to depend on other means of livelihood and set art aside. I want all of them to come back to art and prove that art also is utilitarian.

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BB: As a former visualiser with a leading advertising agency, you quit your day job and have now claimed fame or your art? Elaborate?

BN: I don't know about claiming fame. I just work. That's all. I studied painting for five years. Then when I went to work at an ad agency I learnt how to create an idea. Because I have no dearth of ideas, I had the confidence to come out of the agency and make it on my own. I believe that an idea can change your life. Every idea is laughed at before it is implemented but after it is implemented everybody follows it.

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BB: Since you quit your day job and pursued a dream instead, tell us more about your creative philosophies and instincts.

BN: I really enjoyed working at the ad agency. I learnt a lot. It was difficult for me to withstand the work pressure though. It was an integral part of the work culture there. Then it hit me hard that I had studied painting for five years and was spending time in an agency. I wanted to make a living using my skill. I succeed in that. Now I will continue to do just that.

BB: Apart from the art and paintings that keeps you busy, what other projects are you working on?

BN:  When I am not painting or creating art I work as an art director for movies. Recently I finished work on ‘Lucia’, an Indian Kannada psychological thriller written and directed by Pawan Kumar. I have also worked on ‘Avant Garde Pythagoras Sharma’, a Hindi film directed by Ajay Singh staring Nakuul Mehta. I will also be starting work on Ajay’s next project, ‘Graffenberg Online’. Recently, Prakruti, a Kannada film I have worked on won a national award. In addition, I have also been working on a series of 3D paintings, the response to which has been very good.