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From left to right: Artists Varun Desai, Mira Felicia Malhotra, and Gaurav Ogale.
From left to right: Artists Varun Desai, Mira Felicia Malhotra, and Gaurav Ogale will showcase artworks created on iPad Pro at the India Art Fair.
communities 08 February 2023
The city of Kolkata is a densely packed soundscape — a rich tapestry of sights and sounds stirred by a spirited flow of human activity and traffic set against colonial-era architecture. Not far from this high-octane world, in the sanctuary of a soundproof studio, multidisciplinary artist Varun Desai is creating an alternate, immersive world. His building blocks: layers of algorithms, 3D art, and electronic music, all compiled on his iPad Pro.
Desai is participating in the Digital Artists in Residence programme at the 2023 India Art Fair, which also features visual artist and illustrator Mira Felicia Malhotra and artist, poet, and writer Gaurav Ogale, who will all be showcasing artworks created on iPad Pro. Their work will be on display at the dedicated Digital Residency Hub within The Studio from 9-12 February 2023, alongside an ambitious selection of technology-meets-art projects and installations.
The theme for this year’s showcase is “Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.” Desai’s answer to that is titled “Dimorphism,” a digital installation of code-generated video art, 3D LiDAR scanning, hand-drawn animation, and sound synthesis.
To create an installation of this scale, Desai combines his background in coding, his love for music, and his artistic flair, working adeptly across multiple devices, from synthesisers to iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil, as well as Mac Studio and Studio Display.
For one visual aspect of “Dimorphism,” Desai uses the LiDAR Scanner on iPad Pro to capture objects, architecture, and human subjects in 3D. Then, he shapes the 3D models with his fingers and Apple Pencil in Nomad Sculpt, an app to create, sculpt, and paint in 3D. He follows that up by exporting the models to the Procreate app for colouring, texturing, and air brushing.
The more precise rigging and animation work are performed on Mac Studio and Studio Display. “With the powerful render engine of Mac Studio with M1 Max chip, I’m able to render my animations really quick and achieve the final high-resolution video that I need for my installation,” Desai explains.
“When I model my final installation on Studio Display, I can see all the different screens together, so I can visualise what it’s going to look like while I’m working on it rather than having to wait until installation day,” he adds. “The entire pipeline, from concept to final animation, is very much in the box with these devices. It’s very efficient.”
Another immersive aspect of “Dimorphism” is the music that interacts with the viewer by changing according to where the viewer stands. This allows Desai to explore the different approaches iPad Pro can have to sound creation.
“iPad Pro is a monster tool for modern musique concrète [a type of music composition that uses recorded sounds as raw material],” Desai says. “A lot of what I’m doing for ‘Dimorphism’ comes from taking sounds of the real world and playing them back in different ways.”
A composite frame featuring visual elements of Varun Desai’s artwork.
Varun Desai’s installation for the India Art Fair includes a coded perspective grid, LiDAR scans from the streets of Kolkata, and hand-drawn elements in this composite frame.
“I really want to showcase all the capabilities of iPad Pro. It’s going to be a mix of amazing, different approaches that iPad Pro can have for sound creation,” Desai continues. “In the area of sound alone, iPad Pro is allowing me so many different workflows. I’m still scratching the surface of what's possible.” He shares that he’s utilising a variety of music apps on the App Store to create his work, including Ableton Note, Samplr, and Drambo.
Over 1,650 kilometres away in the city of Mumbai, illustrator Mira Felicia Malhotra is bringing to life the idiosyncrasies of Indian families through her showcase titled “Log Kya Kahenge,” which translates to “What Will People Say?” The body of work is a set of family portraits that offer a look into the desire to conform to societal expectations and project a certain image for society to see.
There are two layers to each of these family portraits. There is the portrait itself, which shows the conformist front that certain families want society to see. Then there is the animated layer, which reveals the true dynamics of these families when viewed using the Artivive augmented reality app on iPad or iPhone.
Malhotra, who is known for her bold, multicoloured, illustrated portraits of Indian women, feels that her iPad Pro and Apple Pencil help her bring her ideas out into the world quicker than ever.
Mira Felicia Malhotra using iPad Pro at her desk.
Visual artist and illustrator Mira Felicia Malhotra creates her artwork using Apple Pencil and Procreate on her iPad Pro in her Mumbai studio.
Once an idea comes to mind, Malhotra begins sketching on iPad Pro with her Apple Pencil in the Procreate app. Alternatively, she would capture images of her subjects on her iPhone 14 and then build on them by adding layers of illustrations. As Procreate allows Malhotra to export files in PSD — Adobe’s native file format — she is able to perform additional editing of her artworks on Adobe Photoshop later in the process.
Bringing iPad Pro and Apple Pencil into the picture felt natural to Malhotra. “I want a feel that is similar to drawing on paper, as opposed to looking at the screen and drawing with another mouse-like device,” Malhotra says. “With iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, it’s the pen and paper, the brush and canvas, all in one.”
As efficiency is critical when juggling multiple workflows, Malhotra is also able to speed things up using gestures on Procreate. “With gestures, I can perform commands really fast without having to click or tap on a whole bunch of things,” she explains.
“Ascension” illustration displayed on iPad Pro.
“Ascension,” an illustrated family portrait, is one of Mira Felicia Malhotra’s artworks that will be showcased at the India Art Fair.
For digital artist and storyteller Gaurav Ogale, having no fixed studio space means taking a nomadic approach to gathering inspiration and turning it into art. Travelling since the age of 16, Ogale has been documenting his memories and the people he’s met along the way, and turning them into animated, nostalgic short films.
Through his work, titled “Best-sellers,” Ogale aims to flip the script on what it means to read a book on the bestsellers list. The experience for viewers at the exhibition would be like browsing the bestsellers shelf at a bookstore. However, while flipping through digital pages on iPad Pro, unexpected stories of everyday people will unfold.
Ogale usually begins his process by jotting down a thought, a memory, or a poem either with pen and paper or using the Notes app. He then starts building the visual aspects by sketching on his iPad Pro, using Procreate or editing on Adobe Photoshop.
As a multimedia storyteller, Ogale makes his narratives leap off the page in motion by drawing frame by frame in Procreate, and then editing the video file on Adobe Premiere on his MacBook Pro, and layering in audio recordings taken on his iPhone 14.
“I usually take a lot of time to get used to technology, but with iPad Pro, somehow, it’s been quick. And it has become an alternate to my journal now,” Ogale says.
“Marketing १0१” (Marketing 101) illustration displayed on iPad Pro.
Gaurav Ogale’s “Marketing १0१” (Marketing 101) will be on display at the India Art Fair.
“India has such a vibrant creative community, and we love seeing the ways these talented artists are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on iPad Pro to take their innovative ideas to the next level,” says Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.
While the works of Desai, Malhotra, and Ogale are predominantly made on iPad Pro, they also demonstrate the seamless integration of Apple devices, including Mac and iPhone, in creating immersive and interactive artworks.
Aside from showcasing their works, all three artists will also be leading their own Today at Apple sessions at the India Art Fair. Today at Apple’s free daily sessions, available at Apple Store locations around the world, are dedicated to offering hands-on educational and inspirational ways to unleash customers’ creativity and go further with their devices. Attendees will also have the option of joining Today at Apple sessions led by Apple team members that focus on digital art skills on iPad to unlock new styles and techniques.
For his creative session, Desai wants attendees to get the sense that they can create a piece of art out of the ordinary. With iPad Pro, the attendees will learn how to capture 3D models using the LiDAR Scanner. The scanned models will then be turned into wireframes and made into one celebratory mural.  
In Malhotra’s session, attendees will take self-portraits and focus on their own physical features to create works of art that celebrate their own uniqueness.
As for Ogale, he is inviting attendees to travel back in time to draw inspiration from objects in their memories. They will then create their own book covers on iPad Pro with their own personal twist and narratives. 
By partnering with three artists who are very different in their creative process and the way they use Apple devices, these Today at Apple sessions are designed to inspire a new generation of creators to incorporate technology as a tool to create art.
The 2023 India Art Fair takes place from 9-12 February 2023. Attendees who wish to participate in any Today at Apple sessions may sign up online.
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