Mumbai has a vibrant art scene. Art galleries, private and public, are often booked years in advance for artists to get a showing. But one artist uses the blank walls of the city as his gallery. His name is Tyler, the anonymous graffiti artist who is making bold brush strokes and statements across the city.
Tyler, the pseudonym adopted by the artist, is based on a character from the movie, The Fight Club. Often referred to as Mumbai’s Banksy, the famous UK street artist, Tyler also uses his art to make a statement about society. His art touches on themes of capitalism, corruption, poverty, the environment and of course, politics. Though Tyler’s art does address pressing issues, he uses humour and cheekiness to get his message across. In an interview, he states that though reading the newspaper can make you cynical and angry, looking at the same issue through the eyes or a cartoon or graffiti makes can be freeing.
He’s also an astute marketer. The spaces he chooses are busy street corners or low walls that will be at eye-level or place where typically young people may hang out.
His work is often vandalized or painted over, and while other artists may be upset with this, Tyler has expressed that often he feels satisfied, as though his art has ‘lived its life and fulfilled its purpose. He has had several threats made to him online people who are irked and cannot stomach his bold art. But Tyler has no intention of putting his paints down, and Mumbai is luckier for it.
Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.