behind the genius: shaunak godkhindi
I met Shaunak in our freshman year at UGA – we both lived in the tiny, cozy, pre-war Payne Hall dorm. By our senior year, Shaunak had quickly become one of the main players in the Athens comedy scene, hosting his own show with Jake Brannon downtown and performing with the nationally-recognized Improv Athens team (aka the campus cool kids !!).
In addition to being one of the most hilarious and fun people I've ever met, Shaunak had an amazing eye for design. While we were still in school, he and his friend Reed started a t-shirt line called CHZPZA. The designs they debuted each season at killer house parties off-campus were intellectual, cheeky, and cool... also who doesn't love cheese pizza?
Anyway, his Instagram is one of my favorites to follow, full of clean, bright graphics. You can see more of his design work at Shaunakg.com. Also, catch him performing almost every night of the week in Atlanta!
TELL US ABOUT WHAT YOU DO!
Hey folks! I’m Shaunak. I’m a graphic designer when the sun is out, and when nightfall sets, and the moon creeps behind the clouds, I change...into something warmer and go out and do stand up haha. I’ve been designing in some form or the other for my whole life and specialize in logos, corporate identity, and making cool things. When I’m on stage I specialize in being a weirdo and making people smile. I also make clothing and screen print when I have the time (which is becoming harder and harder to find these days) and I’m also a writer (if you count twitter and this blog post). Oh, and I’m a great cook too. I can make a tofu taco that’ll make your PETA-hating-Republican-grandpappy go get a man-bun and an OM tattoo.
WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS + DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE?
I want to be the best. I want to be the best at design and the best comedian and the most impactful artist of my generation. I want my daytime to be filled with creating things visually for people, brands, and artists that help them through good design and taste, and I want my nights to consist of performing in theaters and creating funny things with my heroes. In design I would love to work for the big brands I love like the Olympics, Tabasco, and Hasbro to create compelling and powerfully designed identities, but I also want to help companies that are new and want to play in the big leagues, and achieve that success through good design.
My comedy goals can be explained more simply – I just want to create really funny stuff that makes people feel good, I want to be in movies and on TV shows that I believe in, create undeniably good content and help my friends do the same. My more immediate goals in comedy include learning and growing from all the people in Atlanta that are ahead of me in this game, then somehow becoming the best comic in Atlanta, leaving and making a name for myself in one of the coasts, and recording a dope first album that I put out for free on Soundcloud so I can hangout with Lil Yachty, Lil B, and Lil Pump.
I also want, and I haven't told many people this, to create an amusement park of sorts. Like an immersive park with interactive art and design installations that involve all forms of visual art, virtual reality, sculpture, cinema, etc. I want to have an emptied out art gallery where visitors put their work up and paint on the walls, as well as areas where my resident artists and designers create work. I want to have performance venues, giant installations, a park area, and design studios among many things. This’ll be a project that happens a looong time from now, but I want to be able to show the generation after me that nothing is impossible ya feel? Like if this tiny kid from India with no god given talent except hustle can do this, so can you.
Oh, and one day I hope I get to do a dramatic scene in a movie where I’m beating up a bunch of henchmen while wearing a leather jacket and you’re watching it through a security camera. And then that zooms out and the footage is being watched by a bunch of CIA dudes in suits that are in awe and then one of them says, “Oh my God...he’s back,” and then the movie’s title card comes up. That would be sick. Ima do that.
WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT LATELY? (WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO / WORKING ON / DAYDREAMING ABOUT?)
Man, I don't know. I haven’t gotten into a new show in a while- but that’s probably because I only watch and rewatch Mad Men. I’ve seen it 5 or 6 times through. That sounds insane but I just like it ok please don’t @ me. It’s good to keep on while I work and it’s soothing, so please don’t judge me. Seriously though, if anyone wants to hit me up and chat about that show please do so, I’m sure Sarah is going to include my contact information somewhere on here. I also watch A LOT of cooking videos. Youtube and anywhere else I can find them.
As far as what’s on my Apple Music, I listen to maybe a comedy album every day. My commute is long and I’m just trying to absorb and learn as much as I can. Ms. Pat and Casey James Salengo have been the standouts in recent memory - go check them out. I have also been getting into a lot of older R&B/soul, and I’m really excited to bust out a few new patented Shauny dances next time Anita Baker’s “Good Love” comes on.
My daydreams as of late have included jet skeeing and sumo wrestling. I watched a long video recently about sumo wrestlers and their lifestyle. Did you know many of them get plucked from their homes as young as 10 to go live and train in a sumo academy? Freakin nuts yo. If this comedy and design thing doesn’t work out best believe I'm gonna get huge and move to Japan and be the next big thing in sumo.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE?
Kanye West is always my immediate answer. He’s probably the first person whose art and words impacted me because he made it ok feel good about yourself and state your dreams as if they were real and achievable. Him, Muhammad Ali, MIA, Massimo Vignelli, Rory Scovel, Chappelle, and Spiderman are the folks I think of the immediately when I’m asked this question. But my parents are probably the people I admire the most. What they’ve done, sacrificed, and deal with on a daily basis to give my sister and I the life we have is tremendous and for that I’ll never be able to thank them enough.
WHAT DOES STYLE MEAN TO YOU?
Style to me means dressing like the version of you in your dopest daydreams. Dressing like the movie or comic book version of yourself. If you feel like the most confident and badass version of yourself would wear a leather jacket, black jeans, and hot pink shoes, then get yer bum to the mall and go get that stuff. Dress like the coolest version of yourself and you’ll feel like the coolest version of yourself.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO LOOK LATELY?
My go-to in this Atlanta fall-winter-spring nebulous has been slim fitting black jeans, white sneakers, a shirt that I made, and a denim jacket. It’s versatile and casual. But truth be told, I’m tryna get my hands on a propeller hat. Those things are ill as hell and I’m gonna bring that look back you heard it here first.