Claustrophobia: A Picture in a Paper Cup by Biswajit Das

An apartment in CR park, near market 2 is full of fresh art. There is a piece of canvas lying on a computer desk, most of the bigger framed pieces are in a room covered up to preserve them. The house smells a little of paint and there’s music playing at a good volume. We ring the bell and are greeted by one Mr Biswajit Das. He is warm and cheerful and we quickly sit down on the bean bags. There’s a Croatia Vs. Czech match on TV but we’re here to talk about something else.

Biswajit is an artist and he’s onto something peculiar, something we’ve never seen before and is more eye catching than anything else on instagram at the moment. We’re talking about his new project that he calls Claustrophobia. It is a paper cup a day, the insides of which have been turned into a tiny picture/painting by Biswajit. Yes that little a space shows sights of a beach, an umbrella, a dog playing in field or even an island, all in full colour. You might think that that is a really small space for any clarity but that is where the skillful hands of the artist come into play. He intricately makes a new piece each day in all its detail, clicks a picture and posts it on his Insta handle.


When we asked him about the project and why this format he had a very interesting reply, “I feel like we are all trying to do something more and something different all the time, but our day jobs keep us confined. There are restrictions and limitations that are put on us or some that we make up in our minds which don’t let us do anything out of the ordinary. I as an artist find it claustrophobic to work in a 9-5 system and so I found out a way to overcome this. I figured that if I had to colour within the lines I’d rather do it in the best way possible,” he tells us.

He also mentioned that he chose the plain paper cups because it was something that he found in every office building, they are a sign of corporate slavery and present everywhere there is an employer and an employee. “It is something we pick up 3-4 times a day and throw away without ever thinking twice. And it is interesting that the same claustrophobia that I feel is also found inside the confined spaces of these cups. There is a lot of restriction and a certain limitation of angels and movement to paint within the cup and this makes it self-inspiring for me.”

PicMonkey Collage

Looking at these tiny paintings inside these cups online will not give you any sense of claustrophobia, instead only awe you as they capture the beauty of simple moments so accurately that you won’t find the confinement. But holding one of these cups you’ll feel the difference and understand how difficult it must be to paint these. “I use various kinds of pens to paint inside the cups. This is the only way I can do these intricate images. Using a brush in this space isn’t easy but that is also something that I try.”

The cups have become a daily routine not only for Biswajit but also for all his insta and facebook followers. It is a ritual to see a new one each morning when you reach office. A new sight that is as delightful as the previous. He makes them topical as well sometimes, as the one with umbrella one was posted on the 20th June, the day it finally rained like mad in Delhi. These are just small nuances of the big picture though. He has bigger plans for the project. We asked him to spill the beans but he said it’ll all happen in good time so we didn’t push. Which one will it be tomorrow? Only he knows and you’ll too when you check it on your insta feed.

Follow Biswajit’s project on his Instagram.


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