Students were asked to write a blog post about another student in their year group in the style of an interview. I’ll be talking to final year BA Graphic Design student John Sinha (pronounced Cena, that’s right, John Cena. Hold your meme jokes until the end).
I asked him some pretty difficult questions and he gave me some pretty great responses. The following text will be the transcript of the interview. (It should also be noted that, due to a series of unfortunate events, most of Sinha’s work cannot be visualised to accompany this article.)
AS: As you start your final year in BA Graphic Design, what work have you done that you’re most proud of (from last year or the year before)?
JS: In hindsight I find it very hard to choose as when I look back at all the individual pieces there’s always something I want to improve and change, even though they’re all dear to me. But one favorite brief is the Boustrophedon, or snake book, that we did in our first year for Matthew Hobson. It was extremely useful as we got to play around with a classic and historic format together with our own interpretation and investigation of aliens and narrative. My final outcome was a rollercoaster-themed poetic display of feelings of alienation in the up’s and down’s of our break-neck society.
AS: What do you feel is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from the course to date?
JS: There are a whole bunch of lessons learned so far. I remember in the beginning of the course the critique given could seem and come off quite hard and unfounded. You just need to bear in mind that our tutors in most cases actually know what they’re talking about and that some of them have no prior experience with psychology so the fine line between constructive and destructive criticism may be crossed at one point or another. You just have to push through it, swallow your pride, take more risks, and try new things and to remember that failing a task is good, because you learn so much from your mistakes.
AS: Do you still have the same ambitions you had when you first started the course?
JS: My ambitions have not really changed. But my plans and modus operandi are under construction at the moment, due to this Brexit ordeal. I am a bit older than my fellow classmates so I’ve seen and been through a helluva lot more than they have, I’ve been to all the continents (except for Antarctica) and lived all over, so I’ve seen a great deal of design. I remember when I first moved to London I was very excited. This is one of the greatest cities in the world, especially when it comes to art, culture and design. But when I noticed all the mainstream visual communication I was deeply underwhelmed. I just do not get it. It is extremely unpolished and generic. It’s especially evident in adverts and commercials on TV and in print. Probably 7 out of 10 ad’s features either a person wearing a cheap animal costume; a robotic animal; a poorly animated animal, singing, talking or dancing for whatever it may be, British Gas, Insurance Firms or Broadband Companies. How about those singing and dancing packages of crackers and cereals? It is truly tacky, I’ve never seen anything like it in this vast amount and it has made me question the taste level of Britons. This has also caused me to question myself; maybe my practice is not for the British audience? So when this Brexit thing happens, it might not be such a tragedy after all, I would actually like to live and practice in a place more refined. Yes so my ambitions are the same, it is just the strategy that has shifted a bit.
AS: When you’re unsure of what to do, where do you take your inspiration?
JS: I tend to have multiple sources of inspiration. I find architecture intriguing with the likes of Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier and their Modernist formations. But also Brutalism awakens the creativity in me. When it comes to my photography practice I have always and ever since childhood been obsessed with old films from the Silent Era as well as from the Golden Age of Cinema. I believe these influences are very noticeable in my photography. Other influences, to name a few, are: the Stenberg Brothers and Constructivism, the Dada movement, the Bauhaus, Picasso and Kazimir Malevich. For me, Less Is always More.
AS: Do you have any definitive goals for this year?
JS: On this final stretch I am determined to be less of a stick-in-the-mud by taking more risks, even if this means getting sloppy or failing. This will hopefully amount to a more diverse, improved and enriched portfolio by the time of graduation.
This concludes the interview. I would like to thank John for offering his time and his candid opinions on all things. I’ve long admired his work output and have enjoyed this opportunity to put some questions to the mind behind the work. Even the interview itself is telling of John’s approach to design, as the PDF with his answers will attest.
You can check out John Sinha in all his glory here.