, by Kuvelü Tetse-O
Cynthia's Art on the walls of Dream Cafe in Kohima.
So what came first? Art or Fashion?
The ar̥̄t was ther̥̄e even as a kid. I got into art first and then fashion followed. But I was always mix matching colours and easily combined art and fashion and that gave birth to my designs. My degree in fine arts has honed my sense of art more and I love the process of creating art fulfilling.
Describe your personal style.
I always wanted my style to be unique and I choose to be different from the rest. I wanted to modify everything I bought - doodling all over my clothes, adding tiny details to my bags and shoes etc.
My style always has a personal touch, comfortable and something that stands out.
I am a big fan of Fashion Designer Manish Arora for his colourful and unique designs; and Kelly Smith for his awesome fashion illustration and sketches.
I love travelling in the Northeast region of India. I also have a fascination for beaches.
I feel great when doing any Art or fashion events as it gives me immense space to explore and experiment. My favorite projects have been the ones where I also get share a message such as the NSACS Projects and what I got to do with Project72hrs.
I'm looking forward to and planning bigger art and fashion projects in collaboration with some famous icons. There is an art event called A thousand Art in New York where artists come to showcase their work and connect. I'm working hard to be a part of it and looking out for support. Fingers crossed.
Your thoughts on fashion in the NE?
Most of the NE people are fashionable and that's what I see in the state capital. For me, fashion is not about branded clothes but how we can mix and match colours and items of clothing to express yourself and that true style.
Present state of mind?
Murals/Street Art was always a dream for me to fulfill. I have a habit of drawing and painting empty walls or doodle on every blank sheet of my notebooks. It all started with mural art on my room walls at home, my neighbour's wall and eventually realised officially with my collaboration with Project 72 hrs for large scale street art to spread awareness and beautify the town. As of now, we are doing street art at our own expense for the love of it but hopefully, in future we hope to get commissioned by the Government to do more art or get some sponsors. That would be a great help.
Say hello to Tuden Jamir. He is quite a bubblehead in the nicest way possible. I think he is the most creative person I know in the Naga Music scene. Just watch a few of his music videos and surely, listen to his music to know what I am talking about. He’s just brilliant. We catch up late one evening to talk about his music plans and the things that make him Tuden and got to hear his new song “See”. Make sure to grab it when it comes out.
I think I am quite a nerd. Call me a musical nerd. Hidden talent? More like a hobby then but I had this phase as a child when I was completely enamoured by Magic and magic tricks. I read so many books on magic for 3-4 years. And I even called myself Tuden the Magician and had a personalised seal by that name to stamp my collection. My mastery of the English language came from those books. I adapted and invented games for a solo player. Me. One was called Dungeon but it was pretty complex and that didn’t go too far.
Since my other siblings were all much older to me, I was quite the kid who had a lot of time to himself. I always wanted to write my own songs. Writing songs started quite early, right from when I was in 9th grade and there is a shift in my approach as I have grown. My new music is much more reflective of personal moments, events and feelings. I feel that songwriting is a very natural process and it should not be forced. It doesn’t work with pressure. It doesn’t work with pressure. Either it happens or it doesn’t. I usually find a chord progression going, get into groove I like and allow the lyrics to come to me.
When it comes to making videos for my music, it is a creative process that comes naturally. I am hugely inspired by the band Grimes and I love to check out the work of as many artistes as I can. I don’t copy but it gives me ideas that I can work around. With the help of talented friends and family, I have been able to pull it through. My family supports my music but my parents are yet to see any of my music videos as we have all been busy.
I am rather laid back but a perfect day is when I get to make progress on a song or video and it’s keeping me busy. I feel a sense of accomplishment and a spurt of confidence in myself that I still have it in me. It is a strong affirmative moment. Weather wise, a perfect day is Dimapur in January. Not cold, just pleasant and sunny without the humidity or heat.
I have a certain easygoing approach to fashion. I don’t think or worry about it. I’m mostly a tees and jeans person but when I have to really get it going, I can put on a nice shirt and trousers. For me, style is more about the person’s comfort in what he is wearing and how it fits rather than the brand or price tag.
My favourite colour? No idea, but if I find out, I will write a song about it. My music has a certain melancholy to it.
I love British music especially Radiohead but my musical influences are varied. Currently on my playlist, Lady Gaga’s new album. A million reasons. California by Grimes. I hope to cover this one some day. My all time favourite song is Just like heaven by The Cure. It’s timeless.
I could watch the movie Back to the future over and over again. I binge watch TV series and enjoy most of Leonardo Di Caprio’s movies.
I’m not a fussy eater but I love Naga food. Besides that, my Hyderabad stay fostered a love for biryani and korma and the love remains.
I haven’t travelled enough but my dream travel destination is Japan. And musically, the ultimate high would be to be recognised one day for my music down to the neighbourhood paanwalla. Until then, I will keep making music with some help from my partner in crime DJ Mojo and work on more music videos for my newest EP “Seconds” and release a few more singles and more albums in 2017.
Here’s hoping everyone will soak up Tuden’s music and take generous “second” helpings too.