As an introvert child, Shakya was drawn to physics and spent most of his days locked inside his room, fiddling with electronic gadgets. But this just made him more self-sufficient, and art became an outlet to let his thoughts out.
After brief animation courses in his late teens, Shakya learnt to paint with acrylic on canvas and graduated to digital art with his work in video games.
“Digital art gave me the freedom to express my creativity and emotion and taught myself the techniques with experimentation,” he says, pointing out two of his favourite works, The Mahakal’s Epitome and Mellow Dwellings II, which is his best-seller with eight copies sold.
“The combination of music, the crowd and infrastructure were lucid for me when I was working. I could feel that I was a character in the piece and enjoyed the emotions that played inside my head,” he says.
The artist is nocturnal. Sometimes inspiration comes in dreams, and he wakes up to visualise his idea. Shakya burst into the art scene after the earthquake and blockade for his surrealistic digital images: animated temples floating weightlessly above a valley shrouded in smoke and dust, fearsome manifestations of anthropomorphic gods and goddesses, and old Newa houses transformed into guitars and sarangi.
Born and brought up in Kathmandu, the city is Shakya’s muse. He draws inspiration from its rich heritage and its dystopian urbanisation. The themes are dark, the subject matter heavy, and the approach psychedelic. Yet Shakya treads lightly, leaving the images dangling in our mind’s eye to make what we want of it.
He says, “The universe is ever-evolving. We humans are just specks. I don’t take the human species too seriously. Nature will survive, the Earth will go on without us.”
Shakya’s exhibition at Dhokaima Café’s Van Gogh room will run until 24 March. Kholo 2.0 – A Cycle of Life is ongoing at Dhokaima Cafe until 27 August.