Digital Artist Series – Interview with Soutik Das (@thebabumoshai)
The world has gone Digital so why not art? The evolution of digital art has bought revolutionary changes in the art sector. Art is more accessible now, and thanks to various social media platforms, you can connect to the artists all the more easily and enjoy, learn, pursue or purchase art as you wish too. With a myriad of excellent apps and hundreds of useful tutorials, there is no limit to what you can achieve through digital art. Team Weekendtrivia have had the chance to know some wonderful digital artists creating unique arts in their own niche. And we are doing an interview series with such artists. Hop on and enjoy the ride..!
Today we are talking with Soutik Das popularly known as The Babumoshai. Soutik represents not only Bengalis but a whole generation of people filled with homesickness and nostalgia. He tries to interpret his fond memories of growing up in Kolkata and everything Bangaliana through his work with wit and satire thrown-in. The simplicity yet depth of his work is a constant reminder of how so many of us, who have left our home-towns for a living actually miss them deep down. His works make for a fresh and bright wave of nostalgia. We are a fan. Read on to know about him.
Follow him on:
Website – http://www.thebabumoshai.com/
FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/thebabumoshai/
P.S. All the pictures and videos are owned by ©Soutik Das and reproduction in any form, without prior permission, is prohibited
Q. Please introduce yourself.
A: Hello. I am Soutik Das. I am originally from Tollygunj, Kolkata. I have my parents there. My father is a retired central Govt employee and mother, a home maker. My sister is a Petro-physicist based out of Mumbai. I completed my studies in Kolkata and left for Pune 14 years back. I was in Pune for 5-6 years and then came to USA for work.
Currently I am located in Atlanta, GA with my wife, who is a trained dancer and has her own successful business and my son, 6 years old who just completed Kindergarten.
Q. What made you start your art page? Please share what is your Instagram profile is all about and how did your journey start?
A: I have been out of Bengal for a decade and half. I miss my city and state. I miss my parents, sister. It is not always possible to express that in words over phone or video chat. I felt, this feelings persist in all Bengalis who are out of their hometown, away from parents, friends. I had just so much thoughts, nostalgia and wanted a way to channelize them through my doodles. I started with a Facebook Page, but since Instagram is all about pictures, I joined it, though a bit late. So, I started my FB page around Feb’2018 and actively started Instagram page around 3rd Quarter of that year.
I named it as The Babumoshai, since I have been a quintessential Bengali throughout my life and my non-Bengali colleagues fondly called me Babumoshai. So I feel this is the most deserving handle I could have given to my doodles.
Q. Is being an artist your full-time profession or do you work elsewhere? Is it possible to make out a sustainable career out of art in today’s world?
A: I am a Business Analyst in a Healthcare Insurance company here in US. Art is my hobby. I try to draw/doodle in whatever ‘me time’ I get.
I feel with today’s social networking medium, art can be a full time career, but you need to start early. There is too much competition and everyone is vying to grab the attention. Also, as time goes, reaching to maximum people gets tricky. One has to be patient and not get disheartened with initial less tractions.
Q. What would you consider your biggest achievement so far?
A: So far, I feel the biggest achievement has been to be able to connect with so many Bengalis inside and out of Bengal. They encourage me and provide constructive criticism. Apart from that , I was able to create the #PrayforBengal image, which has been used by several thousand people and so many celebs as well to show the plight of Bengal in the aftermath of Amphan. If any of my work comes in handy to mobilize any opinion, for betterment of Bengal, which would give me more satisfaction than anything else.
Q. What is your signature style of art that represents you as an artist? What does your work aim to say? Do you address current world scenarios through your work?
A: I am yet to formally have a signature style. However, mostly I like simple vector drawing and doodles which I draw via a digital medium. I generally draw on current affairs, nostalgia, famous songs or short stories and anything that represents Bengal and Bengalis in general. I try to keep the humour intact, as I feel that is slowly becoming less nowadays. We seriously need to laugh a lot, or at least chuckle. My artwork combines whatever little humour is remaining inside me.
Since we are part of the one world family, I try to provide insights into any the current world affairs.
Q. What is your favourite medium to work upon? And your favourite work tools?
A: I mainly work on digital. But at home, I use Ink, Acrylic, Watercolor based work. Those are just some scribbles, nothing worth publishing, so amateurish.
I love Autodesk Sketchbook and Procreate for Ipad. The ability to use the layers and color pallets are awesome.
Q. When you start a new piece of art, how do you get the inspiration/motivation it? How long does it take approximately to finish one piece of art?
A: After a long day in office, when I come back and watch the new channels or switch on the Bengali entertainment channel, I get enough food for thought. I note them down so that I don’t forget. I generally take 30mins-1 hour to draw, textualize and finalize a post.
Q. Who are your biggest influences?
A: All Bengalis. Every one of us have so many stories and variety, it is just an ocean.
Q. How do you manage your family life along with other commitments and running a page?
A: I just follow the Japanese principle of “Ikigai”, try to always keep busy into anything that I found interesting. Also, when I am down, I listen to trance and new Age music and help soothe my nerves. Also, my son is my constant partner. I know it is tough, but You have to do what you have to.
Q. What are the biggest challenges that you face as an artist? Is creative block a common problem?
A: Challenge is trying to balance the fine line between what I think and how it would be accepted. Several times my point of view can be different than what my followers feel. But that should not hinder us from speaking our mind. Because very few of us get the choice to speak out.
Creative Block is definitely a problem. The best way to overcome it is to read more, forget that you have to create something. Just leave everything.
Q. Which current art world trends are you following, if any?
A: world is slowly but steadily moving towards digital art form. I am amazed at the level of creativity of artists using digital medium to express themselves. So much vibrancy, so much complexity. Also, I am very much into kids’ book illustrations. They are a joy to watch.
Q. Apart from being an artist, what are your hobbies?
A: I like to read, anything and everything. Then comes gardening, you would always find me (If not in my office room) in my backyard, working on some plant or shrubs. Last but not the least, I love instrumental music and a big fan of Yanni, Secret Garden, Enya, Kenny G and Adrian von Ziegler.
Q. Please share your experience with different brands/projects you have worked with?
A: I have worked with couple of regional brands as well as some college festivals. The best thing about them is I was given full freedom to work on anything. Even I was allowed to make changes to the taglines. I am unable to take full blown projects, since I get very little time a day to work on these stuffs and most of these require complete devotion of time and faster deployment, which unfortunately I can’t. But let us see what’s in store.
Q. There are a lot of shoddy people on social media who either try to discredit others or stalk them. How do you deal with such people or negativity in general? Does it bog you down or affect your mental peace?
A: Oh my God. Tell me about that. I just created an illustration on a short story by Shibram Chakraborty titled “Debotar Jonmo”(Birth of God). It is also there as a part of our curriculum in West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. It is such a satirical piece, loved by kids and elder. However, looks like in the current political scenario, any post saying anything about God leaves bad mouth in taste. Within few minutes of posting, my page was swarmed with so called net activists and they even tagged Bengal Police, Kolkata Police, ACP and called for my arrest. Happily, Bengal still has majority of people who are not religious bigots and value culture and they supported wholeheartedly.
It does affect, not always in bad sense, but makes me ponder where are we heading? Earlier, I used to engage and try to pacify any comment war, but now I feel it is not worth it.
Q. Would you like to give a word of advice to all the budding artists who are trying to make their mark through their art?
A: I am just a novice, I myself need advice on improvement. What I can say is, just be yourself. Draw whatever you want to. Just do it. Try to understand who you are and your canvas would depict you.
Q. What are your future plans for your page and profile? Are you happy with the way it has shaped up?
A: Future plan – umm, haven’t thought much. There are so many things to do. Just that I should not stop. I need to bring in more variety and keep searching for my style. I would have been happy if even one person liked my work and now with several thousand with me, I am content.
Q. Lastly, any word for our blog? Thank you for your time!
A: This is a very well thought out blog. I have browsed few of your articles and they are so well articulated. Also, by giving me an opportunity to tell about my work, you opened up several of my memories. Thank you for that. Please continue to encourage new entrants into the digital art like you are doing now.
Thank you, Soutik, for taking out time to talk to us, and having such a wonderful conversation with us. Team WeekendTrivia loves your work and looks forward to your continuously bringing more such beautiful memories and happiness on our feed. All the best <3