Meet The Maker-Deepak Budhraja

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Instead of just admiring and thinking how easy or difficult it is to make, start making yourself

 

Name: Deepak Budhraja

Vocation:Professional Photographer 

Operates out of : SilverPixel Imaging Solutions, Lado Sarai, New Delhi

Alma Mater: University of Delhi

 Past Projects: Wood Storage Cabinet for home use

Current ProjectSuperhero Sculpts

A making technique you can’t wait to try Japanese Joinery 

Favourite YouTube ChannelsDIY Creators, Life Hacks, DIY Perks

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Deepak Budhraja is an eminent name in advertising photography, moreover he is a big comic books aficionado and a maker at heart. Combining his passion for sculpting with his love for comic book characters, he makes clay sculpts of various superheroes as well as utilises this craft as need be whilst engaged in a shoot. Here are some excerpts from the delightful and enlightening talk (calling it an interview would be a misnomer)…

Currently working on…

I have been working on a Superman bust for a while; watching the new Batman vs Superman movie has led to some changes in design. Currently I am detailing the head, so the look is some what a cross between the old Christopher Reeve Superman and the new Henry Cavill portrayal. I also have sent out a lot of sculpts to friends as gifts, some need restoration so I am working on that too, more specifically on a Tintin sculpt at the moment. Plus, sometimes in a shoot you might not be able to source certain props so you either adapt or sculpt or make with material at hand. For instance there is a Baywatch life saver that we weren’t able to source, so I made it using a 2 litre coke bottle, thermocol and clay. So yeah, props or an object required by the art director, these are also something I work on.

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Tools that you use…

A lot of tools that are required to work clay are commercially available best suited for the softer, wetter variety of clay. I mostly work with the air-dried clay, which is slightly harder in terms of texture. Many a time the commercially available tools would get damaged and dented on applying extra pressure to them while working. Tips of the tools getting dislodged or deformed was also a common problem. So I started making a lot of my own tools using toothbrush handles and attaching scraps of metals or wires; the toothbrush tools are handy and sturdier than even the wooden handled ones. Plus, skewers or tooth pick are something that I might use to shape the clay for specific needs. So yeah, it is a combination of the commercial tools plus the ones fashioned out of toothbrushes.

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 You got into making because…

I would say the environment at home, when I was a child, played a very big role. My dad was good with his hands; going around the house fixing things and doing repairs, be it plumbing or small electrical jobs or hammering nails, that sort of things. Or on a Saturday he’d take the bike or scooter apart and mend it, the kids would all help and by the evening as the problem got solved and then putting it all back together, then giving the bike a kick start to see it running again, it was super fun. This fondness for doing it yourself plus you know, availability of tools or materials, that made a lot of difference. Plus there was never any fear of what will elders say if I take something apart or try making stuff on my own, so yeah that I guess really instilled the whole maker spirit in me.

 

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That extra bit making has added to life both professionally as well as personally…

As a hobbyist I love to work on superhero or comic book character sculptures. I have loved comics and lot of pop characters over the years and there is a very strong online community  around memorabilia associated with these pop culture figures. So whenever I post images of a new sculpt online, there is always appreciation in terms of likes and comments from all across the globe, take as in example the Predator mask that I did some time back. This appreciation and encouragement is some thing every artist is driven by. Moreover, the reason that got me started out to create my own sculpts was the limited availability of superhero sculpts in India as well as the high cost of the pieces available internationally. Plus creating my own piece is always a joy since it is a one-off. Professionally, sculpting comes in handy at times, as I mentioned earlier. And being a maker is being somebody who is a problem solver, so I don’t get bogged down by the challenges, but the mindset is to always try and find a solution.

Thoughts on the maker movement…

I am glad to see India catching up with the rest of the world. The movement has surely been a late bloomer here, but there is no going backwards, we are definitely progressing in the right direction. The costs of 3D  printers have come down in recent years and that is really exciting, since those interested can have an easy access to own or work with a printer. Same goes for the tools that are now readily available across hardware stores now. I think the movement began a little late here more due to unavailability of resources in India, not in monetary terms but in terms of accessibility and availability of materials and tools, you know. People had always been interested, I think, we all have this desire to create something ourselves. So yeah, the maker movement is here to grow.

Changes you’d like to see happening in the movement…

I think first and foremost, we need to let kids be kids, let them get their hands dirty, let them tinker with stuff and repair and make something. The whole aura about making something being as difficult as rocket science will go as it moves out of labs. People trying out small stuff like working with LEDs and batteries, or parents & grandparents doing simple projects with their kids will definitely help. Earlier we would call a carpenter for the silliest of tasks like hammering nails to hang a painting or whatever but rising cost of labour and the decline of the philosophy of working with your hands is not for me are major factors leading to the Do-It-Yourself culture. I mean a lot involved in making are actually simple life skills that everyone should know. Schools can help propagate this movement by giving students work-space for carpentry, or doing other projects be it related to arts or science. The whole, I can’t do it because I didn’t study so and so subject, this needs to go, the movement should reach the masses and not stay with a select few who have the air of being experts about it. Everyone needs to be involved to grow the movement.

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Makers who inspire you…

As I mentioned earlier, my dad has been a great influence on me. In the current sphere of things, I am really inspired by a friend who creates Cosplay costumes and accessories, he won the competition for Cosplay at Delhi Comic-con. There are a lot of international sculptors whose work I greatly admire. In terms of a design technique, Japanese joinery is a wood working technique that I found really fascinating, as it depends on carefully cut slots to hold pieces of wood together by locking the slots in place as opposed to nails or tying it all together.

What next…

I am planning on making a display cabinet for the various sculpts, Delhi has this awful weather and I showed, a lot of pieces require restoration owing to several factors. I’ll put up lights and glass to give a good look to the cabinet. Programming and working with boards like Arduino, Raspi is something I want to try my hands on; that’s one skill I’d like to learn in the immediate future.

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A word for the new makers…

Well, just start making! Thing is, what you see is always the end product and instead of just admiring and thinking how easy or difficult it is to make, start making yourself. Visit a maker space of work space of the guys whose work you have seen and liked. This will give you the insight into how the end result is culmination of hours of labour, many failures, trying and retrying, helps you appreciate the process of it. And for people just starting out, it is a good advantage since all the tools you might require, they are readily available at a maker space and you can collaborate with others and learn and the resource pool grows automatically. So jump right to it!

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Want to be a maker, but don’t know how about it – a great way is to take a membership to our maker space.. Already a maker, and want us to feature you in our #MeetTheMaker – Do get in touch with us

 

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