What happens when art and music collide? Now let’s add death metal to the mix. The resulting vibrant, colourful symphony painted on a dark, morbid subject best describes the works of Aaron Pinto, a drummer and illustrator from India.
Illustrator, Graphic Designer and Drummer Aaron Pinto is an independent visual artist based in Mumbai, India. Going by the name Kidsquidy, Pinto designs album art and band merchandise mostly for bands in the metal genre. He has previously worked as the Senior Designer for MTV India.
Could you kindly tell us about your artistic journey and how you got into art and music?
Aaron: I have always gravitated towards art and music and was encouraged to pursue them throughout my childhood. I did not receive any formal education in art; I learnt it with the help of the internet and by studying my favourite artists. Becoming an illustrator happened by chance when I interned at MTV India, where I edited videos and learnt about production. That’s when I caught the eyes of the design team, who invited me to intern with them, thus kickstarting my career as an illustrator. As for my music career, I’ve played the drums for various bands since I was 18 and joined the band Gutslit in 2014. I’ve been fortunate to tour internationally and release multiple albums. There’s a whole lot in store in the coming years.
As a musician and an artist, does your music influence your art or is it vice versa? How interdependent are your musical compositions and your illustrations?
Aaron: My music and art are intertwined. When I play the drums, I see shapes, colours and skeletons of a design or ways to improvise an existing design. And while I sketch, I always listen to music. The lyrics from the song or just the rhythm inspire new artworks or help me compose my work.
Your artworks and your music resonate with the genre Gothic Dark Metal. How did you develop this taste and style, and since when?
Aaron: I’ve always been a ‘metalhead’. Being one of the few genres that focus on art to complement the music, Metal has always produced great art from album covers to merchandise. I grew up surrounded by Metal, from t-shirts to posters, and it has seeped into my subconscious, fueling my desire to learn and immerse myself in this genre. Though I often listen to death metal, I am open to listening to other genres. My style is deeply rooted in Metal, consisting of dark and morbid themes, but I also use pop, hip-hop, and electronica elements.
A lot of your work revolves around creating album art and other concept-based illustrations. How do you communicate the mood, theme and genre of the music to your audience through illustrations?
Aaron: Whenever I work with a band or an artist, I always ask “why?” and try to understand the lyrics, the reason behind the album title and other insights in depth. The artworks I create for the band must be unique, looking distinct from the works I’ve done for other bands. Taking in the insights provided by the artists’/bands’, along with my mood and inspirations, I create a piece that compliments the music. My main priority is to bring the artists’/bands’ vision to life. If they are on board, then the audience will be on board too.
How would you best describe your style? How do you incorporate realistic textures in a surreal piece?
Aaron: Bright colours and morbid subjects is how I describe my work. I’ve always desired to learn realistic rendering, and I finally got to it during this lockdown. Since then, I’ve been using these textures in my pop surreal pieces. It’s still in progress, but I’m happy with my progress.
How do you customise your style/technique to suit the needs of various projects? Could you kindly give us an insight into your artistic process?
Aaron: During my time in MTV India, I had to develop the skill to adapt different styles since I worked on various shows, and the illustration must complement the show. I learnt everything from Typography to Channel Branding, a much-cherished skillset contributing to my diverse clientele. I’ve worked on various projects in different styles, catering to the clients’ needs. This ever-changing style helps keep monotony away and pushes me to learn new techniques. It might not be evident to the audience, but I maintain my key aesthetic, heavy comic book style illustration, even as I apply new techniques to my work.
What are some of the most interesting pieces you’ve worked on so far?
Aaron: I love all my designs as each one has its own merits and provides me immense satisfaction. If I had to mention a few, it would be my Neon Skulls and Sinister series and CTRL ALT DELETE Stage design; these have been the most fulfilling.
Any exciting projects that we can look forward to from you in the near future?
Aaron: I have my entire year mapped out with some exciting works in progress. I have been exploring new mediums and working with some fantastic people to bring my vision to life.
What are your aspirations as an artistic and drummer?
Aaron: aspire to be better than I was yesterday. I feel like I am just getting into my stride in both art and drumming. I have goals with no blueprint; as scary as that is, the challenge is what makes life interesting.