Lacoste L!VE presents unconventional talents as part of its Spring/Summer 12 campaign, shot by The Cobrasnake in Brooklyn. Amanda Warner from electro duo MNDR, Leyla Safai from HeartsChallenger and street tape artist Aakash Nihalini are the stars of the series and the collection is inspired by the New York borough in which it's shot, the collection reinterpreting the timeless codes of a summer wardrobe – and the neat sport vocabulary Lacoste is known for – in vibrant prints and pop colour. Dazed Digital spoke to Aakash to learn more of his art.
I went to India at the end of last year. The art you find on the streets there is usually functional, on store signs and such, or for religious or political purposes, so it's a strange thing for someone in India to encounter a guy randomly taping on a wall or a fruit stand
Dazed Digital: When did you begin working with tape?
Aakash Nihalani: I did a lot of printmaking during college. I would silk screen hundreds of cubes individually on paper, cut them all out, and then arrange them together in different compositions. I could've done it using a computer, but I like working with my hands, and there was something cool about making work so digital in it's aesthetic, in an analog way. Anyway, I was hanging some of these silkscreen prints on a wall during a student exhibition, and there was also a pedestal in the gallery space that was casting a shadow on the floor. The shape of the shadow was similar to the forms I was using in my print work, and so instinctively, I took the blue painters tape I was using to hang the prints on the wall, and used it to outline the shadow on the floor. That was the start, by coincidence really. The fact that it was tape later allowed me to feel comfortable enough to bring it out on the street.
DD: How intuitive is your process? Do you find yourself thinking all the time in geometry?
Aakash Nihalani: I always have my eyes open for spots to hit, I think that makes me more aware in general, but I'm also just more entertained walking around looking at mundane shit... I found the perfect arrangement of windows on a building the other day, and I'm thinking of going back to hit the row of dumpsters down the block. I'm not really interested in making something in my studio and then going out and sticking it up just anywhere. I try to react to the environment and make the work interact with the people and things around me. I'm aiming more to capture a moment than to leave a permanent mark.
DD: Do you have any highlights from the works you've created?
Aakash Nihalani: I went to India at the end of last year. The art you find on the streets there is usually functional, on store signs and such, or for religious or political purposes, so it's a strange thing for someone in India to encounter a guy randomly taping on a wall or a fruit stand. It was cool to put out artwork with a more abstract intention for people to engage with, and it was fun getting to tape on a completely new visual landscape.