Textual content by Akanksha Pandey. Photographed by Neal Bhaumik
How do you discover magnificence, inspiration and a contemporary perspective within the midst of a lockdown? For 25-year-old Viraj Khanna – model director at Anamika Khanna and co-founder of clothes label AK-OK (he’s additionally one in all her twin sons) – it was about discovering a novel, private creative imaginative and prescient. The College of Southern California graduate started experimenting with collages through the pandemic, oblivious to the truth that they might go on to turn into the inventive basis for the prêt label. AK-OK’s second drop explores Khanna’s artwork and develops a brand new visible language that appeals to a younger viewers and displays a recent spirit.
Verve talks to the artist about his model, enterprise and craft….
Had been you all the time occupied with artwork? When and the way did you uncover your inventive aspect?
I’ve grown up taking a look at artwork in several kinds, particularly textiles. This helped me develop a sure eye or style. I all the time loved seeing and understanding artwork, however it is just just lately that I’ve began to make issues by myself! I randomly determined to start out reducing up magazines and placing completely different objects collectively in an effort to create completely different constructions. These collages kind the idea for my sculptures and work as properly.
When did you begin making artwork collages? What led you to do that? Did you make these with the intention of utilizing them as prints on materials?
I started working with collages through the lockdown; it’s one thing I all the time wished to get into. I feel the free time and the solitude at dwelling throughout this era simply struck a chord. I do consider creativity thrives in boredom. I simply picked up a few magazines, encyclopedias and different books that had been mendacity within the studio and began placing issues collectively. Folks consider the stereotype that an artist has an inborn expertise or it’s “within the genes” however I don’t suppose that’s true in any respect. Creativity is one thing that’s cultivated, and keenness is one thing that’s constructed solely after you get deeply concerned in a specific topic. That’s what occurred with my collage work, and now it’s moved into many different genres. Solely after just a few months into the method did I resolve to make use of them as prints.
Is the convergence of artwork and trend at AK-OK particular to this assortment?
I feel my collages are going for use as the idea for the prints and shapes for a very long time. I can’t say for certain how we are going to hold shifting since that basically is dependent upon what we wish to create. However just lately, for the reason that collages are so various, we’ve been ready to make use of them as the inspiration for numerous instructions that we wish to transfer in.
Do you observe a sure course of relating to your collages and sculptures?
I create the paper collages first after which use them to make the sculptures. I start by reducing up pictures of varied unrecognisable components of our bodies, merchandise, animals, and so on. and mixing them in an effort to create a brand new determine. This methodology ends in paper collages. The sculptures are additionally made holding in thoughts the bizarre placement of the completely different objects. Whenever you see a sculpture or a collage of mine, you’ll discover the “discontinuity” in a few of them because of this distinctive course of.
What conjures up your work? Who’re the artists in your radar?
Hannah Höch is my greatest inspiration once I make the collages. I additionally actually like Annegret Soltau, Stuart Davis, Rashid Johnson, and Jogen Chowdhury in India.
What was the thought behind AK-OK?
AK-OK is the posh prêt line of Anamika Khanna. We wished to supply a faster-moving, but super-luxurious product for aspiring purchasers. The demand for youthful, sportier clothes is rising at a fast tempo in India, and we felt it was the fitting time to introduce a brand new model.
Outline yours and Vishesh’s roles at AK-OK. What’s it like working along with your twin brother?
So, Vishesh and I really by no means battle or argue. We each know that no matter we resolve or do shall be for the advantage of one another. If I decide, he doesn’t intervene and vice versa. Fortunately, we barely have conflicting opinions in any case. We each look into the general design and administration of AK-OK. Who performs a bigger position in design or administration is dependent upon the gathering. There aren’t any mounted roles but.
Are there any similarities or variations in Vishesh’s methods of working and the way do you resolve them?
Vishesh likes to delegate work, and he actually researches and understands one thing earlier than moving into it! I, then again, get pleasure from leaping into issues and studying on the way in which. So the mix of us working collectively really helps us stability issues out!
Who’s the viewers that you simply wish to costume? Do you will have a muse – an individual or an concept that guides your collections?
The product is for anybody who desires one thing luxurious at a comparably affordable worth. Sonam didi [Kapoor Ahuja] is our endlessly muse! She appears wonderful in something she wears.
What has been your greatest takeaway watching your mom – one in all India’s most profitable designers – at work?
Onerous work! I’ve by no means seen anybody work as arduous as AK. She wakes up at 5 or 6 a.m. and begins designing. Goes to work after that…then returns dwelling and designs once more. It’s the type of ardour that I’ve by no means seen earlier than, even now after so a few years. It goes to indicate how the fervour that drives arduous work is an important high quality to constantly excel in any area.
What have you ever delivered to the older label? What have you ever imbibed from the aesthetic of AK?
I primarily appeared into the finance of the older label. AK-OK was our toy to experiment with and do actually every thing we felt like. I’ve imbibed a style for excellence in high quality and design. It has additionally helped me perceive refined nuances in color stability and the significance of perfecting each aspect in an effort to create one of the best product.
What are your ideas on sustainability? What measures do you’re taking to make AK-OK a sustainable model?
We be certain that the items we make are of the very best high quality, which the buyer can re-use and put on for a very long time. Material and materials are upcycled to create the items. There are upcoming collections that shall be utterly upcycled.
What’s within the pipeline?
We are literally launching a brand new assortment for AK-OK very quickly! I’m additionally doing an artwork exhibition in February at Quest Mall in Kolkata. I’m working with the gallery Artwork Publicity, which is representing my work.