We met Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra in their quirky studio to talk about their art, which combines pop culture, fantasy and graphics

Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra’s recently established studio in Gurgaon has a no-fuss design, yet incorporating fun elements. The concept uses two large shipping containers, one to act as a think tank and the other as a workspace. The studio has a lot of their work integrated in the space, whether it’s the new collection of furniture created from scraps of the studio’s construction or the “art games” that have been exhibited recently at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai. Their work has elements of pop culture, fantasy, surrealism and strong graphics, touching on subjects such as Indian-Middle class identity, consumerism, globalization and other social issues. IFM met the duo, popularly known as T&T, to talk about their art, which takes viewers into a bitter-sweet fantasy.

How did you both decide to work together | What is the process you follow while creating art | We never really thought about it, it came to us naturally. Our work is never distributed but always supported by one another. Jiten is more hyper and aggressive when approaching ideas while I (Sumir) am more easy-going. We have a good understanding of design, which helps us filter ideas quickly.

Which materials do you mainly use while creating your art | What are the techniques you follow | It’s first the idea and then the medium. There are no constraints as to what materials we use; we have mainly used metal, porcelain, stone and, at the same time, we have also used chocolate and most recently colored water. For one of our upcoming projects, we are using hair as a material. Hair, used in many religions, has its own qualities, physicality and is a form of DNA; at the same time, it is basic and can be found everywhere.

Our paintings are first digitally created after which the image is projected on the surface and traced whether it be canvas, metal or board. In our series on Escape, we depict the Indian Middle Class and what we call Punjabi Baroque through different materials. The work is cut in the shape of an actual floorplan and a building shows obsession Indians’ obsession with having their own property.

How do you feel Indians react to interactive art | We want people to be able to touch, feel and take home our art. Our recent exhibit Games People Play at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai had a great response. At least 55,000 people had attended the exhibition which was record breaking for the museum itself

What is one tip you would give people looking to buy art | If you love it and it gives you sleepless nights then definitely buy it.

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