This artist creates pop art-inspired portraits to raise funds for COVID-19 relief

Pop art of a man with a dog   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Many people are brushing up on their existing skills or working on new ones during the COVID-19 lockdown. In his hometown of Lucknow, 24-year-old entrepreneur Swastik Saxena is busy putting his newly-acquired skills to noble use. The founder of recently stepped into the world of digital pop-art through YouTube tutorials.

“I was trying to learn some new digital art skills, but was mostly distracted because of the ongoing crisis, especially its impact on the daily wagers,” says Swastik.

So Swastik found an innovative way to do his bit for them. “I could not go out and help them physically because of the lockdown, and hence, I decided to use my art to raise funds. I asked people to donate, and I give them a personalised pop-art digital painting of them, for free,” he says.

Swastik Saxena

Swastik Saxena   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Swastik believes all people need is a little push, “The initiative (Donate for a Free Artwork) is to motivate people to donate, and I am using my art as the external stimulus for motivation.”

Swastik’s Instagram feed is a colourful showcase of work that he has already completed for donations. From a man in blue with his cat against a red background to a young couple hovering over an iPhone against a backdrop of mustard, each piece is unique and individualised. “All you have to do is email me a portrait image and I will get back to you with the artwork and donation link. You then donate and send me the payment screenshot for confirmation,” says Swastik.

Currently, for each piece, Swastik is asking patrons to donate ₹250 to either of the two organisations hand-picked by him — NGO Goonj or people’s collective People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI). He says, “Goonj is specifically working with daily wagers in a project named Rahat COVID-19, where they are providing ration kits to daily wagers regularly. I went through their detailed report on the website and decided to pick them. PARI is both a journal and an archive. It reports on the countryside, thus enabling stories of daily wagers to reach the larger public.”

Swastik’s initial idea was to raise at least ₹5,000 per week, a target that he reached within the second day. He says, “Now, I am just completing artworks in the pipeline and will open the donation drive again next week.”

Pop art of a couple

Pop art of a couple   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

He adds, “People have paid ₹1,000 for a single artwork when I asked for ₹250. It is heart-warming to see people sharing the idea and the art on Instagram so as to reach out to a larger audience. I have been getting messages where people are asking if they can pay in advance, which is amazing.”

Swastik aims to continue this donation drive at least until the end of the lockdown, and is flirting with the idea of keeping it open even after. He says, “I am an artist by heart, and I try to look at things from the perspective of design. In future I might create an online platform where NGOs can collaborate with different artists to raise funds.”

Follow Swastik’s art on the Instagram handle @artpandit.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 11:50:08 AM |

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