They say, ‘Home is where the heart is’ and today we speak to 25-year-old graphic designer, Mayur Gurung who is rooted to that motto. He feels that living away from his home in Himachal Pradesh has left a void in him identifying his language and culture. He hopes his art can bridge the gap between his longing memories for his community, and his memories of his home country of Nepal that rests in his heart and mind.
We sat down with young, talented and inspiring graphic designer, Mayur Gurung from Himachal Pradesh. He talks to R&L about why he is so passionate about his roots, his inspiration for his gorgeous artwork and much more.
Mayur, so nice to speak with you! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Mayur Gurung. I’m 25 years old from Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. At present, I work in New Delhi as a graphic designer, both full-time as well as a freelancer. I also have other side projects where I feature elements from my Nepali culture. I am also very passionate about traveling and photography. Traveling is a big inspiration for my artwork.
Peaceful Evening in Udaipur | Photograph by Mayur Gurung
What initially sparked your interest in art and design?
At a very early age I realized that more than playing with friends, I loved playing with colours. The various shades truly intrigued me. Growing up I spent a large part of my free time drawing. I drew anything from landscapes to portraits and anything that caught my eye.
“My formal association with art started with a rather random push given by a teacher when I was in third grade – she asked the class to draw anything that we fancied so I sketched a snake and my teachers were rather impressed by it. That was a great boost and I started practicing and focused my energies on art. I started participating in competitions at both, regional and national levels, and won a whole bunch of them!”
Doko: A Basket of Journeys by Mayur Gurung
Nice! When did you get into digital and graphic design?
I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese anime so I was curious to give it a shot. After completing school, I moved to Kolkata to learn and study animation and digital art. After completing my course, I realized that I was more inclined and interested in graphic design.
A Portrait Away from the Looking Glass | Art by Mayur Gurung.
How have your roots influenced your art?
I put my heart and soul into my creations which reflect my people’s desolation. Though we have made Himachal our home, our roots belong to the pahads (mountains) in Nepal though I have never even been out of the country. In fact, hardly anyone from my society has ventured outside!
“A large part of the Gurkha or Nepali community live in Himachal, but our culture and language is anything but original. Over time, our culture has soaked up the local nuances. This has always made me feel a disconnect to my roots. I’ve always wanted to understand it more . . . thoughts of my homeland gives me a deep sense of nostalgia even though I don’t fully comprehend it yet.
I can sense the same longing and desire that my late grandfather had, who, by the way, is my biggest inspiration. He was a published writer, whose richly narrative poems touched on topics of cultural disparity and nostalgia. His vivid poems and paintings still motivate me. I am trying to cover the void that he had as well and so, I dedicate most of my current personal projects to my Nepali heritage.”
An excerpt from Mayur’s Grandfather’s poem:
A nostalgic reiteration of the strength that Himachal Nepalese have, hidden underneath obscurity, disparity and inequality.
So, here’s an urge to stay upbeat and find a way to rise above because the darkest hour is just before the dawn…
Mayur with his beloved Grandfather
Kumari – The Unseen Layers of Daiba by Mayur Gurung
What do you do full-time?
I am currently working as a lead designer at Meyer Corporation, which is an American cookware distribution company. My job involves designing packages, print and digital media creatives, product photography, and photo retouching.
“Though I have an exhausting 9-7 job (Yes, not 9-5!), I ensure to take time out to express myself by making art about my culture and Nepali roots because that’s what keeps me sane… For me, it’s like therapy from the daily chores and hustles of working life.”
“I usually spend my weekends on my personal projects or simply go around the city exploring places and taking pictures.”~ Mayur
A quaint corner of Fatty Bao (Delhi) | Photograph by Mayur Gurung.
A Tale of the Gura’s | Art by Mayur
What’s your creative philosophy? Where do you take inspiration from?
I am still experimenting and don’t really have a hard and set philosophy. I believe I am still growing as an artist and as an individual. However, I do believe in keeping my creations simple and minimal.
“My art is always centered around a strong subject and the minimum usage of colors. I take inspiration from anything that catches my attention… especially music and sometimes even through scrolling through my Instagram feed. My friends and colleagues are a big part of my designs. But having said this, my Nepali heritage is definitely my biggest influence and inspiration.”
A Granddaughter’s Memoir by Mayur Gurung.
What do you hope people take away from your art?
I am trying to mitigate the gap and void I feel about my culture through my art – especially my Nepali community that is spread all around the world. We all have the same heartache.
“My art portrays my emotions and I hope people can connect to these same feelings. I want my art to be a bridge for people to their home, their childhood, and to remind them of the beautiful memories and stories they have. I also want to draw attention to my heritage and culture… I want to show the world the sublime and intrinsic magic of Nepal.”
Learn more about the beautiful Nepali culture and people by following Mayur Gurung on Instagram
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