GAURAV: He is exploratory, as a kid: rebellious, wild and harmless (giggles). But I would like to do things my way and never understood why I needed to study. When I was in the 6th grade, I was passed on a trial basis (if you didn’t pass, you will be demoted), this embarrassed me and in turn transformed me. I have a problem with memory right from my childhood. However, I could understand the logic behind subjects. I cannot mug up, instead I can understand. From 6-12 grade I became a bit more stable and subdued.
After school, I thought of re-exploring myself as I thought this was not me. I wanted to break the old me which took time. I went to Bombay and did a job for 3 months as a 3D animator. I was missing college life as I was 18 and I had to be with the crowd who was much older than me like 25 or 35 years old. I was not happy as I used to see the college crowd and I kept wondering when I will enjoy that life as I was used to see college festivals and youth energy.
As I had a passion for animation and loved cartoons since childhood, I realized that I can make my own. At that time it was in its infancy in India. Nobody knew about it during the year 1999-2000.
People say that that 3D studio max was the result of my search. I started learning the software online by myself and reached a decent stage. I wanted to go abroad to study animation however my father, who is a soil and agricultural researcher, advised me to start from India. I Went to Bombay again, applied to NID (National Institute of Design). I cleared the paper in the second attempt, and left my job.
While studying 3D-animation, I realized that 3D animator is just a tool. One cannot say that by learning software they will become an animator just like by knowing software “Tally” one cannot become an accountant. It’s the knowledge that leads you somewhere. For me, getting into a college was very important. I left 3D a year later and started with 2D, materials and stop motion. I lost touch with 3D; I made a different choice without any regret. When you make a choice, things come along.
I like meeting people but I don’t attach too much to them. It creates some kind of imbalance. Basically, I am a creator who analyses things a lot, a spiritual person too which helps me concentrate.
ME:How “Art Attack” started with you?
GAURAV:While I was submitting my final project in college, I got an offer from Disney. My friend, Sarah (student of media) referred me to Walt Disney. At that time, Disney was looking for someone who was good with materials and can interact with children. I got through the audition; I had dreadlocks at that time. I was never a public person, so for me, facing the camera was a big terror. So, I was always behind the screen working at my studio.
They took me to Argentina to shoot “Art Attack”. Disney was casting the show in different parts of the world, dubbing it in different languages. In the Initial year, it used to be a nightmare but subsequent years were quite fine. I lost my passport and wallet in the midst of the jungle during the first year of my trip to Argentina. However, I traced it back (smiling broadly)!
They stopped shooting after Disney merged with UTV. They thought the project was expensive, as travelling to Argentina and shooting there requires plenty of resources and planning.
But, three years of that experience was very nice and helpful.
ME:Can you kindly tell our readers about some of the workshops you lead?
Gaurav:In Dehradun, there is a community called Global Shapers who try to improve the scenario of the world. They choose people under 29, lead and help them to perceive their objectives or goals. The goals were basically social so as to improve the sustenance of the local community.
The “Trash Can” project was a part of this. I left Bombay in 2014 to go to Dehradun and thought I would settle down there. During this time, I met Jojo who has a furniture studio. He asked me if I had any plans of being a shaper.
There was a community called “Sapera Basti” who were basically rag pickers. They don’t have money. Jojo knows them and we approached them. We tell them about our project, our learning techniques, the basics of cutting and power tools and also creativity. We shared the idea of marketing the finished product, so that they can turn it into a way of sustenance.
The plan didn’t work out as the community had the habit of living on their daily income. It was what they perceived as a hypothetical situation, unless and until we provided them with money in bulk.
We tried to put in money also but they didn’t show up. Their little kids aged 10-12 years or so came to us and they started helping us out. Under supervision, I made them learn the basics of cutting and power tools as well as drilling and welding.
But the adults used to pick rags, sell them and make money. So they don’t come to us regularly. They had their own way of living their lives.We didn’t have any financial support and hence the plan didn’t turn out well and I had to leave Dehradun.
ME:Any strategy you follow to start with your creations?
GAURAV:I plan, make calculations, visualize through drawing, search for materials and then begin with the cutting process.
ME:You travel and conduct workshops in different places. Since you travel a lot, how much does travel mean to your life?
GAURAV:I love travelling and trekking. I took plenty of materials when I decided to trek in Argentina.Travelling gives my soul pleasure! I like running in the hills. I only stay in the cities because I have a
purpose to be here, otherwise, I would love to be in the hills. While travelling I have the chance to meet new people, understand new cultures which sometime shatters me from within. Argentina is
my second home and I miss being there. Adventure is something I like.
ME:If you get bored of travelling, what you would love to do?
GAURAV:I don’t like to talk on the phone or Skype, so I will meet my friends. I will shift to another activity. I won’t rest. I can keep myself occupied.
ME:Today, there are so many creators in the market. Have you never feel competitive?
GAURAV:It’s more like of an inspiration. Old craftsmen inspire me. I once met a person named Atileo. He built a whole house by himself. He built the base of the house by chopping a tree in a cross sectional manner and filled that with mud. He keeps reading and also makes marmalade and sells that in the market. He inspired me a lot.
More than competing with people, I compete with myself. I am still brushing up my knowledge and I’m trying to refine myself.
ME:What are the things that inspire your work?
GAURAV:The work itself; in my head I have a picture that inspires that product. There is nothing bad in being inspired from the original. We can always assemble things and produce them in our own way.
Me:As today is Friendship Day, I wanted to know about the Friendship tree you created? How many days did it take to create it?
GAURAV:Friendship tree was all about the celebration of friendship between Germany and France. They hired me to do that. The Tree traveled from Bombay to Pune where they were celebrating the same. It had many branches and leaves and people came by and helped me cut the wires. It took me 8-10 days to create it.
ME:Please tell me something about the Indo-German Urban Mela?
GAURAV: It was a travelling mela, celebrating Indian and German relations and culture. They hired me to do this workshop where we made German characters, based on European folk tales as animation models. They had joints and a proper backend process. I stitched the clothes and painted the whole model.
ME:If not art, then what would you like to do?
GAURAV:I will travel. I will fix things like plumbing, fixing doors, would like to teach small kids. I would like to have a studio too. I would like to help. May be I will join an NGO. Cooking is also
something that I love. Cooking is therapeutic when I am really tired. I love baking which is very easy compared to Indian Cooking.
ME:What would you like to say to parents whose kids want to follow your path?
GAURAV: Parents should give their kids some freedom so that they can explore things themselves.Parents should show that they have full faith in their kids rather than placing additional responsibility on their shoulders. When you give freedom to your kids, they may go wrong somewhere, but they will learn from that. My parents didn’t put any pressure on and I was the youngest to earn in my family.
ME:What is your life Mantra?
GAURAV:Life is dynamic. One’s plan of action will change according to that. One should do what is required and everything else will fall into place.
Gaurav has started his own studio under the name “Thoughts and Bolts” which will be a fun as well as a great learning platform for all the kids in town. Do visit and enjoy the greatest fun ever.