Vibrant, arresting, and unapologetic illustrations from the National Institute of Design graduate
Even the most cursory glance at Noopur Choksi’s work is enough to grab your attention. The towering women she conjures are mesmerising, the idea they embody shining through their eyes: yes, they are beautiful, and yet they’re not here to please you, they’re just here to be.
The experiences which shape these bold depictions of femininity can be traced back to Noopur’s childhood. Growing up, she realised that the “society around [her] always expected women to be chirpy, pleasant and unassuming,” and remembers how “a woman with an explicitly complex personality and opinionated outlook was not appreciated and [instead] was looked at like someone who had to be fixed and controlled.” Committed to disrupting these expectations, Noopur’s work celebrates “women in all their complexities, as these imperfect characters — strong independent and moody, lost in thought — who go beyond the one-dimensionality of female characters depicted in the visual culture around us.”
It was while studying graphics at the National Institute of Design that Noopur narrowed in on illustration. Having spent her childhood filling the pages of sketchbooks with imagined worlds and characters, this decision felt like an organic extension of her lifelong love of drawing. Whether a piece is “based on some folklore you heard growing up, your nightmare from last night, or a complex emotion that’s hard to verbalise”, it is this magical ability of illustration to “turn something mundane into a visual treasure chest” that still resonates with Noopur today.
Her intricately detailed illustrations, rendered in electrifying pops of colour, are an assault on the senses. Gooey shapes take over the compositions and an inherent sense of fluidity gives her artworks an unmissable, hand-drawn feel which Noopur believes provides “more life and character.” Shuffling between her sketchbooks and Photoshop, she defines her creative process as a “volatile marriage between analog and digital media”.
Music has always been an unfettered source of inspiration for Noopur. Some of her fondest childhood memories revolve around long conversations about music with her parents and family. Today, she draws vivid illustrations for Bandcamp Weekly, creating portraits of musicians like Kamaal Williams, Meerna and Auntie Flo. “I’m very easily moved by music, and I began listening to Bandcamp Weekly shows long before I started illustrating for it,” says Noopur. Each illustration draws on the artist’s “aesthetic and … body of work,” which helps her to shape the kind of story she wants to tell. “Sometimes I play the music on loop, which helps me [to] find tangible elements to convey intangible things,” she explains.
The coming months are all about experimentation for Noopur. With a score of projects ranging from space design, a vinyl album cover for a Brazilian musician, and concept art and illustrations for a short film, Noopur is heading into the future at full speed. With her eyes firmly set on the horizon, we can’t help but wonder what worlds she’ll take us to next.