By Palok Singh:
Art, creativity and imagination have a greater purpose in life. They are not a different stream of work but a part of everything that we do in our daily life and help us evolve. Think of evolving from Stone Age to modern day men without art, creativity and imagination.
I worked as a filmmaker with a production house in Delhi until I quit about a year and a half ago. The idea of ‘Antigravity’ grew cumulatively out of many experiences in the creative industry (in my case advertising). To be frank, we do absolutely nothing much creative in our profession. We survive as servicing professionals, securing our earning position. Most of the time, even a school student can prove to be more creative than us. We are slaves to software and client’s money. I have rarely known myself as creative.
While working on an animation film about three years ago, I was delighted to see the painting skills of my animator. On seeing his paintings, I was surprised to know that he paints only in spare time now because it doesn’t help him support his family. That did not make me happy for the longest time, although this was not the first incident I knew. People give up their passion all the time to ‘make money’.
This is where I thought of creating a platform that can be economically supportive and creatively enriching for inspired minds. In simple terms, a place to explore, express and extend. I called it Antigravity, as it aims to free one from all sort of gravities in life that hold them down and prevent them from evolving.
Along with my college best friend, we started working slowly and did a test run to learn t-shirt making. Hitting all sort of markets for fabric and encountering all sort of people we made 100 t-shirts by the end of August 2014, which is normally a low time for sale. Still, by going from friend-to-friend, door-to-door we sold about 60 of them and got some good feedback. We were finally ready to share the idea with others and over a few months’ time, got on board an Art Director (who I always look up to), an Academician friend (who debates all our ideas), an IT wala Friend (who chose us over others for our purpose) and many who ‘came and went like the wind’. We started hunting for artists from our friend circles and colleges. It wasn’t easy at all, much because nobody thought we were stable enough an opportunity. We wanted to take galleries and exhibitions to each house in this country. Eventually we met Augustine Mullick, who was so generous that for the next 2 months he worked on what came to be our debut collection.
Ever since its inception, there had been creative and business challenges. On the creative side it was important to get the t-shirt artwork its deserved attention and value and make sure it not just communicates to people but for them as well. We also strived to ensure that the sanctity of our designs stayed intact and that the artists did the best job possible.
We picked a theme to draw attention towards the artwork, took opinion on what people thought, and made sure we experiment and don’t fall for the easy route. The whole process delayed the launch a lot but we never compromised on the sanctity of the idea. The idea was to create theme based communicative t-shirt artwork. Our designs were turned down by many printers saying they can’t be printed, some cost too high and a few dumped us in the middle of the process. One of the manufacturers tried cheating us on the quality of fabric which resulted in the termination of his contract half way. And a packaging vendor disappeared for no clear reason. We were funding the entire project from our pockets, burning our salaries and savings (if any) and a part of some friends’ salaries. So at every stage be it designing, production or marketing, it had been and is still our everyday task to find money from somewhere and keep it running. We want people to be exposed to art in daily life and not just acquire basic art appreciation sense but also learn to express themselves.
We finally launched Antigravity through our website and Facebook page. We plan to add more number of artists, more variety of tees and be able to venture in other art forms. We want to work to be known as people who love to imagine and create. Explore. Express. Extend.