Stationery items catch everyone’s fancy, even when one doesn’t need them, one tends to spend money on them. But, there are times, when you come across some that are so well thought out that spending money on them makes sense. Siddhanth Purkayastha’s illustrated notebooks, coasters and bags are exactly those items.
Siddhanth (24) is the quiet kind, more popularly known as the ‘silent man’ among his friends. He also goes by the username shootkey on Instagram, where he finds himself more comfortable when it comes to sharing his work.
‘It is at my engineering college (National Institute of Technology, Silchar) that I took drawing (and art) seriously. There was creative chaos all around, and the intimacy with friends redefined my thoughts.’
Illustrations happened to him when he realized how poor his drawing had always been. He despised the way his lines looked at the beginning of an artwork. Dissatisfied, he sought help from Tulirekha Deb, an artist and art teacher from Guwahati, who guided him with all her knowledge. As he started practicing, illustrations seemed a proper application of all that learning. ‘Apart from other things that I do, illustration is something I’d love to keep doing.’
Siddhanth thinks Guwahati, like any other Indian city, has a character of its own. Its streets tell stories that are different from other cities. According to him, things that make it different are the aroma of Assam tea from the roadside stalls, one of a kind city buses that are not seen anywhere else in the country, the filling in the samosas, the whiff of paper and ink when you are passing by Panbazaar.
The Maati Centre, based out of Guwahati, creates a platform in the region for ‘better exposure and knowledge sharing in the field of art and craft’. It is through Maati Centre that Siddhanth has been able to find a space to exhibit his work. His artwork has appeared on bags, coasters, notebooks, et al, that is now available for purchase at the Centre.
Interested in depicting the space that he inhabits, which is bursting with life, he feels there is a lot to see and feel, and it is too early to focus on one subject. ‘It is better I keep myself to experimenting and learning for now.’
Work for Maati Centre
The work that Siddhanth has been doing for Maati Centre sheds light on the ‘here and now’ of everyday culture, which he says is rather easy to miss out amidst all the bustle of life. ‘The coasters reflect exactly that. The first series was on Guwahati itself–certain elements that might just get lost in time. It was a team work with Pranjeevan, a junior of mine from college.’
His second series of coasters for Maati Centre was on local fishes of Assam.
‘The city itself is an inspiration for me. It’s one big theatre.’ Apart from that, there’s social media, which has helped him in observing what artists all over the globe are trying to do.
Siddhanth has no plans of moving out of the city in the near future.
When I asked him about keeping Northeast as a base for himself even in the future, he talks about how with the advancement of the digital age, the idea of ‘base’ has become ‘totally absurd’. ‘That’s again my wishful thinking, but I hope to see a day when one can live anywhere in the country and become equally active in the art and design scene. Northeast is full of inspirations and it is only a matter of time.’
Meanwhile, he is a partner/designer at ‘Right Hemisphere’–a team of entrepreneurs, designers and developers that just began its journey. Laughing, he says, ‘That’s it for the future.’
Written by Sanskrita Bharadwaj
Photos/Illustrations: Siddhanth Purkayastha
Siddhanth’s artwork can be followed on instagram.