If anyone had told Prachin Siddhi Bajracharya, as a child, that his interest in reading comics would lead him to a career in graphic designing and illustration, he would have had a hard time believing it. Now, his life circles around creating art in digital form for events, t-shirts, posters etc. and all this has created a pathway for Bajracharya to channel his inner emotions and ideas.
Along with reading graphic novels, Bajracharya was one of those students whose last pages of copies were filled with doodles and scribbles. “Back then, the internet was not as easily available as it is now, so we had to resort to our own creativity to kill time,” he says. It was only in 2005, after completing his Bachelor’s degree, that all the doodling and scribbling he did as a child came to the rescue and he started working as a graphic designer for ECS Nepal.
After that, his career escalated leading him to do freelance work for repeating clients, design for events like the Joon festival, the Reggae and SKA festival in Nepal as well as companies like Haul Apparel. One of his illustrations, featuring the Pink Floyd logo with the prism replaced by a momo and thus aptly called “The Dark Side of the Momo” has become a favorite amidst custom t-shirts wearers and it’s easy for anyone with an interest in pop-culture to see the appeal.
Bajracharya calls his illustration style an “underground” style in the sense that it has a rough, raw feel to it. “My kind of illustration style is not big on mainstream mainly because of how different it is,” he says. Moreover, his sketches look like stills from “Bojack Horseman” but with Nepali characters and context. For instance, one of his personal illustration features a mirrored image of Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” that Bajracharya has chosen to call “The Last Momo Party” and instead of Jesus and his followers, the image features actor Rajesh Hamal, Lord Shiva, politician Prachanda and others. “I wanted to give a little glimpse of what elements make Nepal the country and culture it is today,” he says.
One of the earliest inspirations for his work on “underground” style design were the album covers of ‘Nativity in Blacks’ that were two “Black Sabbath” tribute albums that came out in the 1990s and 2000s. The detailed theme and gothic themes of the album art bear a subtle similarity to Bajracharya own work, ranging from his older works to even the more recent ones.
Similarly, Bajracharya is also big on representing social context when it comes to his work. He draws inspirations as a living artist strolling through the streets of Kathmandu, from its festivals, politics, heritage sites to other relatable local stuffs like the breathalyzer test done by the traffic police (Ma-pa-se) or the epidemic of posters and advertisements stuck around Kathmandu, to name a few.
Moreover, Bajracharya claims to have found his calling in life as a graphic illustrator. “At times, I see people walking around with a t-shirt with my design printed on it and that gives me immense joy,” he says. This also holds for when his illustrations are published in newspapers or hung as posters for events, making passers-by stop and look at his creation. “It’s all these little things that give me happiness and make me love what I do,” he says.
The process of making an illustration starts with an idea in Bajracharya mind and this takes visible form on paper or digitally, depending on the work he is tasked with. “At first, it’s all about making it look good in black and white, which is what I work with the most,” he says adding that if need arises he also fills in appropriate color or whatever he feels is right for the illustration.
According to Bajracharya, a career in graphic designing, especially in Nepal depends on how the person goes about it. “If one is working as a freelancer, getting payment is difficult at times but the scope has increased drastically over the few years,” he says adding that it is all about being creative and finding outlets to showcase your talent and passion.
Bajracharya future plan is to simply continue doing what he is doing in terms of graphic designing. One can see his artworks and illustrations or contact him for collaborations through Instagram (@kayo_siddhi) and also through Facebook. Bajracharya, now 36, has come a long way from a kid who enjoyed reading graphic novels to an artist capable of producing similar riveting new-era art form of graphic design thanks to his willingness to follow his inner calling.