Background Noise, Volume 46: Aakash Nihalani

Aakash Nihalani

New York artist Aakash Nihalani’s work is all about perspective. A self-proclaimed childhood fan of magic, Aakash has always been drawn to optical illusions. He uses his different perception of the world to his advantage, placing his colorful geometric artworks in situations they don’t belong, causing them to stand out, and forcing passers-by to stop and notice. 

Aakash sort of stumbled on this medium while hanging screen prints in a gallery using blue painter’s tape. Another exhibitor had an empty pedestal in the gallery, which cast a cubic shadow on the floor. It was then that he was inspired to use the tape to go over the shadow, which created an optical illusion in itself. From then on, he was hooked. He’ll tape shapes onto public walls but also uses tape, colored paper, corrugated cardboard or plastic, and magnets to place his pieces in even more non-traditional settings, like the woods. Last year’s Landline project featured people with his shapes completely cutting through them. Often linking pairs of people together. 

It’s all incredibly fascinating work, and each piece really sucks you right in. I’d highly suggest checking out his website, where you can view all of his different types of work….indoor and outdoor tape creations, paintings, and even hypnotic, interactive digital pieces. He also has a really interesting Tumblr page. 

What was your first concert?

Last concert/show?
Aesop Rock

First album, tape, or cd you bought?
Michael Jackson – Dangerous (cassette tape)

Last album you bought?
Charles Bradley – Victim of Love

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Typical Cats – Typical Cats

Who is your musical hero?

How important do you think music is to your creative process?

Ratking – Eat
Bishop Nehru – Fickle Mind$
Shabazz Palaces – Are You… Can You… Were You?
Kelela – Bank Head
Travis Scott – Grey
Open Mike Eagle – Qualifiers
Letta Mbulu – What’s Wrong with Groovin’
Kool A.D. – Donda
Blu – Amnesia
Chance the Rapper – Acid Rain
Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y.
Blood Orange (feat. Despot) – Clipped On
Javelin – C Town
El – P – League of Extraordinary Nobodies
Portishead – Deep Water

Check out Aakash’s playlist below on Spotify. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes right here.

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