Back to the Retro-Future
You may know Prateek Vatash for his critically acclaimed work during this year’s Frēsh Awards, including ’36 Days of Type’ and ‘Gliteratti Dynamite’. The truth is that his body of work features an impressive blend of elements, taken from his interests in typography, geometry, occult, architecture, neon, and retro-nostalgia. His style exudes contrasts, often mixing 2D and 3D visuals, in a vibrant and bold manner that aims to inspire and excite others.
Smooth curves, rich texture and a broad prism of colours converge in Prateek’s work to create resplendent visuals that balance between illustration and reality. Based in Bangalore, India he draws inspiration from the world’s occults, the glorious 80s and architecture.
Here’s his hero profile.
Fabrik: Your work is highly regarded and has a strong photo-realistic element to it. While this would appear to be one of the main premises of 3D design, have you ever considered how a physical representation of your work would look?
Prateek Vatash: "Thank you! It would absolutely be a dream to actually be able to visit and physically experience my work. At some point in the future, I would love to actually work with big empty spaces, transforming and working on them the way I would digitally. A couple of people had suggested that I could also possibly try an interactive approach through Virtual Reality, so that’s also definitely something I’m curious about."
Fabrik: There are strong architectural and retro elements in your work, which is uncommon in 3D design where futurism and surrealism are prevalent. Would you like to tell us more about your source of inspiration?
Prateek Vatash: "I’ve always had an interest in spaces, architecture, and buildings. In fact, I think I would have been an architect, if not a designer/artist. I had also wanted to become an environmental concept artist when I was in art school, which I had to let go because I changed my focus more towards graphic design and illustration. In that way, a lot of inspiration just comes around from the places I visit, and things I interact with. I’m also fascinated by retro-futurism, and 80s pop music. So I guess elements from all these areas culminate in my work in some form or another."
Fabrik: Both your personal and commercial work feature a resplendent collection of forms and shapes of all kinds. Have you ever had any difficulties pushing your creative and artistic approach to clients?
Prateek Vatash: "Often times, clients have approached me based on a certain style that they liked from my portfolio. In that case, it makes it easier to work towards an outcome, because I have a visual direction in mind to start with. I always love to take up new challenges, so it’s also fun when a project brief requires doing something I’m not too familiar with. It’s worth it in the end to push boundaries, and come up with something completely new and unexpected. The uncertainty of not knowing the outcome is also very exciting, and I look forward to it."
“The uncertainty of not knowing the outcome is also very exciting, and I look forward to it."
Fabrik: Would you like to offer a little bit more insight on the creative process?
Prateek Vatash: "I generally start with a rough sketch of the idea I have to visualize. Depending on the complexity of what I’m trying to create, it could require the use of multiple software, starting with basic outlines in Photoshop, then working out details in Illustrator, and then finally adding dimension through 3D software. Sometimes I also jump into creating something straight away, without a fixed goal in mind, and improvise on the go. It’s fun to come up with visually diverse results that way by trying out new things."
Fabrik: Will you let us peek into your digital toolbox? What software and plugins can you not live without?
Prateek Vatash: "My primary software for 3D is Cinema4d, which I use along with several render engines (Mostly a mix of VRay, Cycles4D and Physical) depending on the requirement. Irrespective of that, I can absolutely not live without Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. These two, in particular, have helped form the foundation of all the work I have created.
Over the years I have created a collection of custom brushes, actions and presets for both, that boost my productivity a lot. I have also created several workspace templates for all these software, which are very helpful and allow me to switch the work palette easily depending on the task at hand."
Fabrik: Any interesting or fun anecdotes from your time working on projects, or from the reception of your work?
Prateek Vatash: "I find it interesting how certain artworks are perceived in different ways by different people. I also really enjoy interacting with others on social media, and love to hear opinions and suggestions about my work. That has helped me push my own boundaries of what I create. I truly appreciate the audience and the support that I have received from them over the years."
Fabrik: Is there any piece of work, be it a film, a song, a painting, that has left you with a lasting impression or any mentors you have encountered throughout the span of your career? Or any work you admire, but it’s not yours?
Prateek Vatash: "One of my biggest role models in life has been Madonna, and I think her work has influenced me the most. Her career has always been so awe-inspiring, and I love how she has always reinvented herself so many times. As an artist, I feel it’s so important to keep trying new things, both in and out of one's comfort zones, and she is probably the best example of that. That’s something that has stuck with me, and I strive to keep reinventing and moving ahead with my work. Many of her early-2000s albums still heavily influence my work in terms of the art direction, colors, and the mood."
Fabrik: Any advice you’d like to impart on your craft to art directors, 3D designers going into the field?
Prateek Vatash: "Do the work that you're happy with, feels right to you, and something that you connect with. It’s very easy to get carried away by trends and things that are popular, and doing things very similar to that. I think the true magic happens when you inject every bit of your personality into the work you create.
At some point, I also realized that if you make stuff just to make others happy, it doesn’t really work. If you’re being yourself, the world WILL notice for sure."
"I think the true magic happens when you inject every bit of your personality into the work you create."
Prateek is using Canvas, a feed-style theme featuring a sidebar and layout options aimed at providing more control over the placement of text and images. A great choice for portfolios that require images to be displayed uncropped or in portrait format.