Freedom, a motion graphic experiment by Aarman Roy
21-year-old graphic designer Aarman Roy creates a whimsical world of 3D renders, where simple geometric forms come together to build complex, layered compositions. Working with a diverse range of mediums, he reserves a special proclivity for the digital, having discovered it at a very young age. Punctuated with a bold colour palette, his experimentations with Cinema 4D are abstract yet unmissable and draw inspiration from celebrated art movements, music and the oeuvres of contemporary visual artists.
As a part of the Design Fabric Low-Res program, Aarman contributed posters and creatives for Design Fabric’s collaboration with NH7 Weekender earlier last year. Working with his unique style, he used basic elements to create a visual art installation. In a few months, he heads to the School of Visual Arts, New York for his first formal brush with design education. He walks us through his artistic influences and his collaboration with Design Fabric for an in-depth interview.
Take us through your relationship with art.
How did it influence your years growing up?
When I was in school, I was introduced to Photoshop, and the possibilities were endless and that had me hooked. I had always wondered how people made these intricate illustrations and abstract digital works. A big boost as a designer came when I joined my school’s computer club called Exun in Delhi Public School as a digital artist and designed a poster. Around the same time, a friend gave me a great crash course on typography and introduced me to a website called Type Connection. That really cemented my interest in graphic design and typography. I always wanted to go to art school but that wasn’t what my parents wanted. The pressure was maddening, and I stopped making art because I had this insane crippling, blank-canvas fear of making anything. I eventually signed up for a Mechanical Engineering course in Delhi Technological University, but what I didn’t realise was that I was walking around with undiagnosed depression. My friend Charu Pragya pulled me out of this doldrum and inspired me to start creating again. That was a defining moment in my life. It has been a long journey from that day to today. I feel I’ve reached a point where I’ve begun to understand how my relationship with art is evolving, how it affects others and how it is placed in the socio-cultural context.
A self-initiated rebranding project for Sante wine
What are the ideas that inform your sensibility?
The primary ideas I subscribe to are Post-Modernism and Adorno-Horkheimer’s “culture industry” theory, and the idea that art pushes us forward as a civilisation and challenges the boundaries of thought, inviting uncomfortable (but necessary) dialogue and engagement. The notions of feminism, equality and freedom of speech are also important to me as an individual and artist, and I am currently exploring these ideas in my work. A lot of my friends are queer, so my art is an expression of my solidarity with their struggle.
Chairs That Couldn't Be, an explorative project in Cinema 4D
What inspires your geometric, varicolored artworks?
For a long time, I was tentative about using colour in my work. I almost exclusively drew in black and white and never attempted colour-heavy artworks until I started posting my work on Instagram. Inspired by the Vapourwave genre of music and art movement, I started using a lot of pink in my work. It’s my favourite colour and almost all my artworks have a hint or overdose of it. That helped break down my fear of working with colour. Talking about artists that I admire, James Turrell’s installations are breathtaking and his use of light and luminance is a big inspiration.
The 80s Neo Memphis style and the chrome lettering of sci-fi movies and video games are an absolute favourite of mine. Japanese aesthetics and graphic design have also been an integral part of my style.
Islands, a work in progress
You’re a self-taught artist with a bold, distinctive visual style. How did it shape up?
I still don’t think I have a set style; it just evolved as I got making, reading and taking in things I see. Working on 3D also helped me understand how light and shadows work. Tropical foliage is a recurring motif in my works, inspired primarily by Henri Rousseau and mixed with my own inspirations. Moving from simpler pieces to bigger, full-fledged artworks required me to think about composition and the elements that reflect who I am as an artist.
I admire Sameer Kulavoor’s use of shadow and depth. Combined with my experiments in 3D and after reading a very enlightening essay In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki, in my current work, I'm trying to figure out how I can blend elements with different spatial dimensions with the use of shadows.
Recently, I’ve been trying to blend a lot of mediums that I’ve been working on, from 2D to 3D to scanner drawings and textures. Being self-taught, I’ve become too reliant on visual trends, and started decorating instead of designing. While I’m glad I’ve reached here on my own, I really want traditional pedagogical methods to teach me the principles and fundamentals of graphic design. This is a primary reason why I applied for my first degree in design.
Tell us about your collaboration with Design Fabric and NH7 Weekender.
It was an amazing experience and I learnt a lot over the three months that I worked on the collaboration. When I got the brief I instinctively knew that I wanted to have a ‘grounded’ installation sort of artwork that would represent the theme of art installations. Back then, I wasn’t deft at 3D modelling but the project forced me to play with my strengths - moulding primitive forms like cubes, spheres and cones into visually appealing and abstract compositions. I focused on arranging the shapes in the form of an installation to build on my idea. The two biggest takeaways were gaining a good grasp on typography, and learning never to compromise on quality, ever.
What made you apply to the Design Fabric Low-Res program?
I really didn’t know what to expect when I first heard about DFLR. But I think the chance to meet fellow students who are doing great work, working with some amazing organisations to get an insight into how the industry works was a big pull for me. Also, the chance to be mentored was essential, since I really felt the need for someone who could critique my work and guide me.
I’m glad this happened since the mentors are terrific and do great work. I’m really looking forward to surrounding myself with people whose craft I look up to and to grow as an artist in the process!
36 Days of Type by Aarman Roy
Aarman Roy was selected to be a part of the Design Fabric Low-Res (DFLR) Student Program, aimed to discover the best young creative talent in the country and give them an opportunity to work on commercial briefs.