Sheehij Kaul's work exudes oodles of surrealism. It comprises of otherworldly landscapes, humans and underlying musings compiled in the form of digital collages. Like a breath of fresh air, the underlying messages in her work are devoid of a serious tone and instead instill some humour into her work.
Sheehij took to art as a kid on account of having glanced through her father’s art file time and again. ‘My dad is a painter. He used to be an artist but adulthood got the better of him’ she jokes, ‘I remember picking up on art when I was 5-6 years old and I would keep going through this book where he compiled his works as if that was the only book I ever wanted to see or read’. Later on she went to Apeejay Institute of Design to attain her Bachelors in Graphic Design. It was while working on a client related project in 2016 that she found her style of digital collages which fll us her Instagram feed. She currently juggles her post of the Senior Creative(Art) at Wieden Kennedy along with her relatively new found passion.
Her work sees outer space elements, diverse landscapes and humans juxtaposed against each other. Galaxies, craters and cosmic elements are a recurrent theme in her work. On asking her what draws her to exploring and depicting these themes, she tells me, ‘A lot of my work is about escaping and finding an alternate world. The use of space and night skies is my brain telling me to get away from reality.’ Furthermore, the vast wide open landscapes seen in her work give her the feeling of being an insignificant speck in an elaborately significant universe.
A particular series by her called At Play features a work showing two children sitting across a table with galaxies painted on it, each with a globe in their hands. It conveys the vivid imagination that children have and her desire for an era where children would be awarded the freedom to uninhibitedly explore the same, an era devoid of the distractions of the present day.
The Creative Process
Sheehij religiously maintains a collection of royalty free digital images that can be put to use. When it comes down to creating something, she takes a free flowing approach as her thoughts organically culminate into an artwork as she dives head first into the process. Other times, it’s more intentional. She thinks of an idea and sets about gathering reference images in order to form the actual work.
To create evocative pieces solely using digital medium is a feat in itself. As I ask her what draws her to the medium which dominates her work, she replies jokingly, ‘I think it is the lack of having other hand-skills’. Though on a more serious note, she reveals that it was when she stumbled upon the medium of digital collages two years back and she knew in an instant that it was something she would like to explore further. Since then, she has been hooked.
Text Supriya Jain