I first came across Gaurab’s work through the GOMA collective, more specifically their Nepal project. Not knowing the artist behind the work I was instantly drawn to the bold, simplistic designs emblazoned on to a plain white t-shirt and skate deck. As someone who appreciates art, but is by no means an expert on the subject, I explain my favoured style as something that is easy to digest but still manages to evoke a feeling, and for me this was the case with Gaurab’s work. Digging a bit deeper and following our Interview with the guys behind the GOMA collective we came to find out more on Gaurab, I began to see his name pop up on various platforms and across social media, gaining more attention and for good reason. Recentley out of University, Gaurab has established himself as one of the most exciting young artists in the UK, developing his own unique style full of bold lines and vibrant palettes capturing lively scenes which are full of energy.
Recently Skateboard Cafe put out one of my personal favourite graphic series of recent memory – the ‘Mode For Joe’ deck and along with it the ‘Ornette Coleman’ deck bearing Gaurabs bold Jazz inspired designs. The release prompted me to get in contact with Gaurab to find out a bit more on the artist, his inspirations and his instantly recognisable style….
Hey Gaurab, how’s it going? Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do…
Hello, I’m all good thanks! My name is Gaurab Thakali, and I am an illustrator/ artist/ printmaker.
You have a unique style, something that a lot of artist struggle to establish. Would you say there was a definitive moment in settling on this style or is this something you have developed over time?
I think its something that has naturally developed overtime, I suppose working on new pieces brings new challenges and by doing that I’m learning new things, constantly developing the way I draw and make images.
Do you feel being based in London has influenced your style at all?
Yes, my surroundings definitely influence the subject matter, but I don’t think it affects the way I draw.
What do you hold as your main inspirations behind your work?
There are a bunch of different things that inspire my work, the subject of a project I work on has a lot of influence, and visually I look upto various artists like the Impressionists, – Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, etc.
What is it about Jazz that resonates with you? And why did you choose this as a subject for a large amount of your work?
I think Jazz is a powerful form of art and expression. I went through a phase where Jazz was the only thing I listened to and I discovered vast amount of stories about the music, musicians and its history (I was intitally introduced to the music by my housemates who were studying Jazz). I got hooked and thought I should document it, as it hasn’t been touched properly.
Any recommendations for the playlist?
Yes, I’ve been listening to –
Grant Green – Idle Moments
Kenny Dorham – Afrocuban
Joe Henderson – Page One, Mode fro Joe
Bud Powell – The Amazing Bud Powell v1
Clifford Brown – Clifford Brown and Max Roach
Do you have a favourite artist? What is it about their work that resonates with you?
There are quite a lot of artists I like and don’t think I can pinpoint one person, but they all have their own attributes and personal way of making art or music. It could be anything from using colours effectively, communicating ideas, making interesting noises that I’ve never heard before, etc.
Could you tell us more about your role with GOMA Collective and the projects that you have worked on with those guys?
Since Mikey started Goma Collective I’ve been working with him on visual side of the collective, so mainly coming up with illustrations for different projects we have worked on together, like the Nepal project where we collaborated on limited edition screen prints, t-shirt designs and board designs, etc.
With your roots in Nepal, how was the Nepal project for you from a personal perspective?
It was good to be able to work on a project about Nepal finally as I’ve never had the opportunity. I approached it a little bit different from other projects, as I got to travel there and it was nice not to plan too much ahead as Nepal’s packed full of surprises and it worked out fine.
Do you have any exciting projects with the GOMA guys coming up?
Yes, but keeping this one quiet for the time being.
Tell us more on the Skateboard Café collab, how did that come about?
My friend’s brother Layth Sami introduced my work to Rich, one half of Skateboard Café and Rich hit me up last year about working on a series together. We talked through bunch of ideas and came out with something everyone was happy with!
Was there a set brief for the designs or did they let you have free reign?
It was gonna be about Jazz and that was all really.
Your artwork seems to lend itself well to soft and hard goods, would you ever consider starting a brand of your own?
Cheers! I definitely want to make some clothing for sure but haven’t thought about starting my own brand yet.
Do you have any exciting upcoming projects that you can talk about?
I am working on a bunch of things at the moment but unfortunately cant reveal anything about it just yet sorry!
Interview: Kieran Sills
All Imagery: Gaurab Thakali