Anshuman Ghosh uses his iPhone in a way that most would never dream of, and it's highly entertaining. Using paper illustrations, the Johannesburg visual artist transforms the much-loved Apple device into an object of many purposes – whether that’s a ketchup bottle, paper shredder or fridge – in a style he calls 'phone-framing'.
Anshuman’s offbeat, abstract illustrations revolve around his everyday hobbies such as food, music and movies. To create his self-described "quirky little imaginary world", he sketches a drawing onto paper, cuts it out and creates a simple composition against a bold background, merging the lines between reality and conceptual.
And his work is hugely admired. His Instagram account Moography, the main place to view his current iPhone illustrations, has 92,000 followers. His latest series is available to buy from LUMAS Gallery, with individual artworks at £24 each. He’s also created an iMessage sticker set which you can download from iTunes.
And keep an eye out - Anshuman says he's constantly working on more artworks for this series.
Find out how he came up with 'phone-framing' and the creative process, using paper as the main medium.
Image: The Most Mobile Sushi yet, Anshuman Ghosh
Miriam Harris: How would you describe your style?
Anshuman Ghosh: "My artistic style revolves around creating intricate yet quirky artworks, which are complex in concept as well as in execution using everyday objects. While it may seem elaborate, I often use household objects such as my son's lego bricks to setup the shots."
MH: Where did the idea for this project stem?
AG: "The concepts and visual feel of the illustrations you see in this series are actually an evolution of the original ‘phone-framing’ idea I conceptualised a couple of years ago and showcased on Instagram. ‘Phone-framing’ is basically my term for a picture-in-picture using an iPhone where the contents inside of the phone blend in with everything around it."
"Last year, I started experimenting with indoor shots using props and colourful paper backgrounds. Over time, as I got more familiar with setting up shots, I tried to incorporate more visual elements in order to "paint a story" - this is where I started working with illustrations."
Image: Die Handybäckerei, Anshuman Ghosh
MH: Why did you decide to use paper as the main medium?
AG: "I feel the use of paper ties my artworks with the physical world and underscores the essence of my art – a confluence of the tangible and intangible. Moreover, paper has played an important role in the evolution of mankind through the spread of knowledge and ideas and I feel the use of paper is the simplest homage to the age-old tradition of storytelling."
Image: The Shredder, Anshuman Ghosh
MH: Talk us through the creative process of creating each image.
AG: "My creative process consists of three phases – inspiration, conceptualisation and rendering. My artworks are inspired by everyday occurrences, common observations and most importantly, the things that I love. If you look at my Instagram feed (@moography), you'll notice that most of artworks revolve around my family, food, music, movies and travel - the five things that I absolutely love in this world! Whenever inspiration strikes me, I usually jot down the idea in my notepad or on my phone and then work on conceptualising the idea later.
"Conceptualisation is often tricky because it involves figuring out a practical way of converting an idea into a real, tangible artwork. In this phase, I usually prepare detailed sketches of the different elements, visualise how the elements will combine, select a perspective for the artwork and finally decide on how I will set the shot up.
"Once all of this is done and I have a clear idea of how to execute the idea, I prepare the paper cutouts on plain white160 gm paper and assemble the shot. Once the base image with all the paper cutouts has been shot, I import it in Adobe Illustrator and colour in the details."
Image: The Best Burger, Anshuman Ghosh
MH: The project has been described as blurring the lines between "what’s real and what’s fake". Does this represent a deeper meaning to the project?
AG: "Yes, absolutely. At the core of it, my artwork tries to "deceive" my audience into believing an illusion. In all of my artworks, the smartphone (which is the star) is portrayed to be something that it is not – sometimes it is a coffee mug whereas other times, it is a box of sushi. It is a whimsical and quirky take on the versatility of a modern-day smartphone and the different roles that it does and can play in our lives."
Image: The Donut Dispenser, Anshuman Ghosh
MH: How was working on this project different (or similar) to your other illustrations?
AG: "The essence of all of my illustrations is minimalism – conveying complex ideas through simplicity. I feel this series maintains that theme beautifully and is similar in form and spirit to my other illustrations."
MH: What projects are you working on/upcoming projects do you have?
AG: "I have been fortunate enough that my work has been discovered by brands both in Europe as well as elsewhere. I am currently working on creating content for a number of global brands some of which will be published very soon. I am fascinated with the idea of turning my illustrations into a pop-up book and I am actually working on learning the art as a personal side project."