Tanya Gupta: Logitech gets to know the engineer-artist creating at MAX

Photograph of Tanya Gupta.

At just 11 years old, Tanya Gupta was building 3D CAD models of public infrastructure for Google Earth Beta. Several years later, after investing in the AR/VR space, she landed a job at NASA — and today, she is taking social media by storm with her unique Adobe Photoshop artistry. Adobe MAX 2022 sponsor Logitech chatted with her to find out more about her creative process, what’s she working on, and what she believes the future will hold with emerging technologies.

Can you tell us about some of your favorite projects you’ve been working on recently?

Lately I’ve gotten really enthusiastic about various artificial intelligence art systems such as DALL-E 2, a new AI system that can create realistic images and art from a natural language description, which I’ve spent the last few months exploring. Since my background is in engineering, I am very open to allowing my art style to evolve with new technology.

Can you describe the moments when you’re in peak creative flow?

Classical music — most likely Fauré, Smetana, or Tchaikovsky — plays in the background. A hot beverage, preferably a cup of masala chai, sits at my desk. My right hand is on my mouse, left hand is either at the Mac touchpad or hovering over the keyboard, ready to hit a shortcut. My moodboard is displayed on one screen with Photoshop on another. If I own anything that matches the aesthetic of the project at hand, such as props or tangential artwork, I try to keep it front and center to immerse myself and imbibe that into my art. Often when I’m in this state of flow I can spend hours at my desk, day turning into night, or vice versa.

What are the most significant barriers to your creative process and how do you overcome them?

When creativity hits, I need to strike while it’s still hot. I learned some really valuable insight from a TikTok: that creative ideas have a shelf life, and if you don’t act on them, they can expire. I have had to learn how to determine my stopping point — if I wait too long to publish my work, I enter this realm of doubt where I don’t ever feel prepared to show the world what I created. I’m still early in my creative career and continuously learning, so I try to be kind to myself and prioritize nurturing my skills rather than the frequency of my output.

To what extent do you feel the tech at your fingertips enables your creative flow?

As a creator, having the right tools means everything to me. The career that I have now didn’t exist 10, 20, or 30 years ago, because the technology simply wasn’t advanced enough to provide the creative power that it does now. The tools I have at my fingertips are the very reason I am able to enter the creative flow that I flourish in. I want my tools to feel like an extension of my body, and therefore of my craft. Without them, I wouldn’t be an artist.

What are some of your favorite products and why?

I can’t overstate the impact that both Adobe and Logitech products have had on my journey into technology and art. In addition to Photoshop, the MX Master 3S Mouse for Mac and iPad, and MX Keys Keyboard have revolutionized the way I create my art. I look for tools that feel like an extension of the body. This mouse and keyboard do precisely that.

What is the experience like for you when you find a product that works with your flow?

Seamless, intuitive, and simple. The Options+ app for desktop enables me to quickly map out keys and buttons to shortcuts based on the Adobe software I’m working on. To a beginner, it may not seem that big a deal to be able to click one button instead of, say, 2 or 3, to hit a shortcut. But when you’re in a creative flow, these little things go a long way. My production time has nearly halved because of these tools, and I am so grateful for that.

Have the last few years impacted your perspective on art?

The last few years are the very reason why I became an artist. I was a full-time hardware engineer at IBM when the pandemic hit and the world entered its first lockdown. Since my job became fully remote, I got back hours of my day that otherwise would have gone towards commuting or downtime at work. I spent those extra hours teaching myself and practicing Photoshop every single day. I scoured the web for inspiration, creating hundreds of mood boards and following dozens of new artists every week — things I had never had the time to devote to before. While the early pandemic was incredibly scary, stressful, and difficult, I look at the silver lining of how it transformed my life and perspective on art. I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity it afforded me to discover myself.

As a mixed reality engineer, how do you think technologies such as AR will change the world?

Behind the scenes, software engineers are years ahead in their development of tech like AR, VR, and AI, but without artists who can make such technology exciting to the general population, it can be incredibly difficult to proliferate. However in the last decade alone, we have seen how AR has revolutionized education, medicine, wellness, fashion, and entertainment. In 2022, this technology permeates all facets of our lives, especially on social media. While not everyone can describe precisely what the metaverse is, most people have at least heard of it. It’s hard to predict or control the trajectory of future technology. My job as an engineer and artist is to join that journey and create something beautiful.

What are your thoughts on the partnership between MX and Adobe MAX?

As a former Adobe Creative Resident, an avid user of Adobe Creative Cloud, and lifelong user of Logitech products, I feel as though this partnership was literally made for me. I could not have asked for a better way to incorporate the tools I have used for years and am thrilled to be involved in sharing this with the world at Adobe MAX 2022.

Here at Adobe MAX, what message do you hope to spread to aspiring/established creatives looking for inspiration or new perspectives?

It is never too late to start afresh. Be open to exploring new opportunities, and dip your toes into cold water once in a while. It might give you a bit of a shock initially, but once you settle in, your body will adjust and become comfortable in your environment. Most importantly, in cultivating your skill, always prioritize finding the right tools for your craft. If your brain is made of millions of connections, like a microchip, you may find that Moore’s Law can be applied to your own creativity. Before you know it, you too will grow exponentially in your craft.

Want to meet Tanya? Come and see her in action at the Logitech MX booth at Adobe MAX 2022.

This Adobe MAX 2022 post is sponsored by Logitech.