Collagist Vishwajeet Talwadekar and his magic scissors
When collagist Vishwajeet Talwadekar is at work, he lets his subconscious, and his magic scissors, run wild
Pages from newspapers end up in the hands of peanut-sellers, and from magazines end up on vision boards. Because mags spend lavishly on photographers, stylists and printing, its glossy leaves can be reincarnated in several ways. Like collagist Vishwajeet Talwadekar, who scissors through images and stitches them together in strange and artful styles to create new worlds.
A fine art graduate from BS Bandekar College in Sawantwadi, Talwadekar was working at a dead-end job as an art director, when he decided to make collages for himself. "Whenever you're making art, there's some energy in it, like chi. These energies are abundant in natural spaces, when you move away from skyscrapers and cellular network towers. I decided to bring these thoughts and energies together and make something. I started in 2016, just doing it for myself. I still had no idea what it was. People talk about abstract art or surrealism, but a collage is something even my mom was not aware of [as an art practice]. In 2017, I started posting stuff on Instagram and I started getting some orders." So, in 2018, Talwadekar quit his job to be his own boss.
On his Instagram account, titled @psycollagist, 28-year-old Talwadekar makes portraits out of regional-language newsprint and international ads, places goggle eyes on famous personalities, sets tribal figures against cannabis leaves and heads of flowers on heads of state. His collages make dissimilar visuals fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. His instruments include a cutting mat, a pair of scissors, which he claims is magical with "a mind of its own," detail knives and Photoshop.
He scours the city while looking for obsolete magazines and books: from paper marts in Shivaji Park to booksellers in Fort to raddiwallas below his house in Worli. "Whenever I go out and I see any random guy, I just stop. You never know where you'll hit a gold mine. These books are dirt cheap, for Rs 20 or Rs 30." His favourite purchase is old copies of National Geographic, which "is the shizz. Its paper quality is so much better than the rest."
The initial shape of one of his artworks
If there's no interruption, he can cobble together one artwork a day, but given that he has to take care of printing, packaging and delivery, he manages about two or three a week. "The pricing depends on the quality of prints. You can buy a low-quality print for Rs 500. But quality prints, such as laser, inkjet or giclee, can be expensive. And if it's an analog piece, it could even go as high as Rs 25,000."
When he's at work, his body is tethered to his desk, but his mind wanders free. "The kind of stuff I do, I can't control it. I have magazines, and I have images from a lot of public domain sites. I just take one image and start working around it. It will guide you. You will find one image and then another image and something will start firing between them. The fun part about making collages is letting go of yourself. The more you do it with an open mind, the better it is." He allows his subconscious to call the shots, because "I used to believe I think in Hindi, English or Marathi. But I realised that I think in visuals. If you actually tried to still your mind to a point where nothing is happening, you will only see visuals."
Vishwajeet Talwadekar uses a detail knife to do his cutouts. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
While there are several mind-bending ways of doing that, and Talwadekar has tried his hand at a few, what works for him today is meditation, Vipassana and sensory deprivation tanks. "People don't believe this; it sounds like I've lost my mind. But if you're into meditation or even Vipassana, what happens is that you just see visuals. You're out of your body and in a psychedelic state." In such a heightened environment, Talwadekar creates his works. No wonder they look like hallucinations come to life.
Where: On Instagram, @psycollagist
Price: Rs 8,000-Rs 25,000
To order: email@example.com
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