• Neon Dreams: The 3D Artwork of Sunil Garg

    Sunil Garg by Crystal Gwyn (2015)
    Sleep Fragment # 7 (Orbactiv) (2014 – 15)
    Sleep Fragment #5 w/ Sleep Elements # 5, 6 & 7 (2013)
    Sleep Fragment #5 w/ Sleep Elements # 5, 6 & 7 (2013)

    We sat down with this month’s Call For Bushwick Artist of the Month, Sunil Garg, to ask him about his noteworthy 3D art. Sunil Garg began painting, drawing, and playing music at a young age in India. With a PhD in Physical Chemistry, Sunil creates movable, lightweight 3D art that often incorporates programmed RGB LED and/or UV lighting. His work is intended to adapt to its environment and change depending on environmental and visual points of view, and also challenges viewers’ preconceptions and biases.

    N: Can you elaborate on the term ‘sleep fragments’ in your works about dreams?

    SG: “Sleep Fragments,” sometimes “Sleep Elements,” are terms I use to signify that we go through stages in our sleep that have longer and shorter cycles. So each work represents fragments of sleep durations that are coherent in themselves but perhaps incomplete. I am fascinated by time lapse photographs by Ted Spagna (published in a collected work by Rizzoli entitled “Sleep”) of people sleeping that capture body movements and positions during sleep.

    This is a link to Garg’s mini-documentary illustrating these concepts in December 2013:


    N: Can we control the course of our dreams?

    SG: Yes. Although it is a complex issue since awareness and control to some extent negate the spontaneous nature of dreams. But meditation and guided meditation can be useful in creating dream equivalent states, I think, that can refresh the mind.  With practice and training one can learn something called “lucid dreaming” where one is sometimes aware that they are dreaming. In my artwork, I want viewer to feel that they are in a place that they recognize and are familiar with without quite understanding why; familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Making the invisible, visible.

    Sleep Fragment # 7 (Orbactiv) (2014 - 15)
    Sleep Fragment # 7 (Orbactiv) (2014 – 15)
    Sleep Fragment #5 w/ Sleep Elements # 5, 6 & 7 (2013)
    Sleep Fragment #5 w/ Sleep Elements # 5, 6 & 7 (2013)

    N: You use wire mesh to create these almost amorphous, organic looking mobiles, that move amongst a wash of lights. Do these mobiles represents human thoughts?

    SG: For a while, I had quite a bit of difficulty sleeping well and continuously at night. It was almost as if I wanted to experience the actual moment I passed from a wakeful state to a sleeping state as if diving into water as a scuba diver. You are out and then you are in. So I started to occasionally draw images. Most, I later lost. But the mental images have remained. These are what I visualize for my large-scale pieces. Do thoughts, dreams, consciousness, etc., have texture, color, volume, dimension, sound, motion, energy, and all the other attributes of our physical existence? The idea is to use the simplest and lightest materials to achieve an amorphous and involved image that changes. Much like everything in life.

    N: What are your thoughts on the Native American dream catchers? Is your artwork similar to the ideas behind them in any way?

    SG: Dream catchers are basically intended to be filters and talisman to remove bad dreams and only let the good ones pass. But how do you know which is what? I want to provide a stimulus for the viewer to figure this out.

    N: Do you read Carl Jung? Who has your favorite theory on dreams?

    SG: I am generally aware of Jungian analysis. But I am more interested in the scientific side of sleep and dreams. Where do thoughts and dreams originate and how and why? Less in what they mean.

    Sleep Fragments and Elements (various) (alt. Installation View) (2015) Photo: J. Vock
    Sleep Fragments and Elements (various) (alt. Installation View) (2015) Photo: J. Vock
    Sleep Fragments and Elements (various) (Installation View) (2015) Photo: J. Vock
    Sunil Garg by Crystal Gwyn (2015)

    N: What kind of poetry do you like to read?

    SG: I used to read Hindi poetry mostly about god, spirituality, love and devotion. Not much now. I have started going to poetry events recently. I like them.

    N: You are educated as a scientist, in what way does this inform your artworks the most?

    SG: Well, as a scientist with a Ph.D., one is more a philosopher than anything, mostly about nature and its phenomenon. However, the scientific discipline and laboratory work provides me with many more media and materials and tools to work with than paint and wood and clay and plaster and canvas such classical “artistic” materials. And the problem solving approach of scientific disciplines does not hurt either.

    N: What projects do you have coming up that you are excited about?

    SG: I am doing 2 installations using UV light that is invisible to the human eye revealing only what it sensitizes and excites. Also a large piece with an environmental and colonialism theme for an exhibition in January – March 2016. I am also learning to paint with light, making slim wall pieces that draw on my large wire pieces.


    Check out his website:http://www.sunilgarg3d.com/


    Interview by Nick Rogers

    Nick Rogers

    Nick Rogers

    Nick Rogers is a writer and independent curator living in New York City. He attended University of Connecticut for English and Art History.

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