Visual artist Santanu Hazarika talks about his first physical art exhibition, BLCK

The work of artist Santanu Hazarika has caught the attention of the virtual world. The artist well known for his crypto art and collaborations with artists such as Ritviz and Divine to create NFT art is now showing his physical work at Mumbai-based Art & Soul gallery. Santanu, who has made a name for himself in the field of visual arts for his evocative and thought-provoking creations, presents monochrome works under the title BLCK in this gallery. The show is also available online for those unable to visit the art space.

For someone who is well known as an artist, it’s surprising that this is his first physical show. But then, the winner of the inaugural Red Bull World Doodle Art World Champion in 2014, showcases some wonderful artwork that may have taken a while to create. In an interview with Indulge, he talks about the show, the NFT world, and what he’s working on next. Excerpts:

What is the idea behind BLCK?
The inspiration for this show is taken from the color black because I have always painted and drawn with this color. I have participated in many group exhibitions in India and other countries, but I always wanted to do a conventional physical exhibition in a gallery. The pandemic has given me the time and the opportunity to do so. I went back to the sketches I made during my engineering days which were the most turbulent phase of my life. I started processing these sketches and recreating them as large canvases. When I had to give a title to the exhibition, I realized that I had always used the color black and that it was a common thread that connected my past and my present. I’ve evolved now and I’m not the same person or artist today, so the BLCK title without A represents me. Even though the pronunciation is the same, without the letter a, the word BLCK means something different.

What do you want the audience to take away from it?
I want people to remember an experience, I want them to have a glimpse of my world, my process and my existence. I want them to be amazed and think about my works even after they leave the gallery. They will see something new every time they see my work. Even though my work may disturb and shake them, at the same time I want to create a sense of wonder and comfort.

You’ve minted a lot of your artwork as NFT…what are your plans on that front?
I have created NFTs on platforms such as OpenSea, Foundation and WazirX. I’m thinking about my next project where I’ll create a series of artworks and I’m going to create with a better roadmap in mind and with a physical utility attached to the artwork. But right now I’m taking a break.

How difficult is it for Indian artists to gain their rightful recognition in the world of crypto art? What holds us back?
It is not very difficult for Indian artists to gain recognition, there are many recognized artists like Vimal Chandran and Prasad Bhat who are doing amazing work in the crypto art world. But then it’s also a bit difficult because we don’t have enough Indian artists in the global NFT art community and there are very few Indian collectors and buyers. In addition to the fact that very few Aboriginal projects are underway, these are the factors because of which we are lagging behind.

As an artist, how do you think the physical art market has been impacted by the crypto world?
I am comfortable with physical art and NFTs, I work with both mediums. It’s an exciting time, it’s an interesting intersection between the physical and virtual art world. Everyone is being creative and protective in how they perform virtual physical labor. It’s a hot topic and everyone wants to get involved and get involved. The physical art market is affected, but many galleries are converting physical art to NFT and vice versa.

The BLCK show is visible online until February 28

Previous March Exhibition at Justus Fine Art Gallery Welcomes Spring
Next In Miami, a Ukrainian Art Exhibit Becomes Unwittingly Timely