An illustration for IQ magazine, on a story by Ira Pande called The Silver Wedding.
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‘Signwallahs, the Past or the Future?’
A thesis focused on the sign painters or Signwallahs of India.
The Signwallahs are a community of extremely talented artists who are struggling with their art. I see their survival as a major contemporary art issue. Signboard painting has been a popular tradition in India since the early 20th century. A storehouse of creativity, the Indian streetscape is made up by the work of the signwallahs.
Having grown up surrounded by this vibrant and quirky art on signboards and transport vehicles I was compelled to explore it further. I met and worked with creative individuals who have been involved in the tradition of this art. I was fortunate to meet and interview Hanif Kureshi a Graphic Designer who created handpaintedtype.com. I also worked with Painter Premi and Painter Kafeel, signwallahs based in Samrala (Punjab) and Chandni Chowk.
As technology advances and India slowly embraces western corporate culture it is unfortunate to see the tradition and artistic talent of the signwallahs slowly fade into oblivion. In order to prevent this loss, collaboration of the old with the new is essential. As multinational advertising agencies, graphic design firms and fashion houses set their foundations in India, creative individuals of the Indian society must inculcate cultural identity into these establishments to achieve a unique global identity.
The Work in Progress Exhibition is held in March each year for the Stage 3 Illustration students of Central Saint Martins. Held about three months before the final Degree Shows this exhibition showcases student work that is still in development. This poster was my contribution to advertising the show on campus and on social media.
As I sat down to brainstorm for a design for the posters the first words that came to my mind were rough, messy and sketches. I began visualising what my room usually looks like when I am working on an illustration-open bottles of drawing ink and acrylic, scribbles on my hands, sketchbooks, papers and pigment liners scattered around my desk.
I wanted the poster to represent spontaneity. The poster in itself should look like a work in progress.
West Elm is a Brooklyn based home decor store that collaborates with independent designers and craft communities. In need for a part time job I started working for West Elm, London.
The store has an exciting creative environment that attracts staff from various design backgrounds. My colleagues were talented individuals brimming with creativity. As dancers, musicians, artists and designers these individuals inspired me to represent the West Elm community in a series of portraits.
Capturing the human form on a two dimensional surface is both exciting and challenging. A portrait can be intrusive, exploiting the very notion of privacy. It is a very intimate representation of an individual. Studying, drawing and painting my colleagues proved to be a great learning experience. As an Illustrator this is one of my first series of portraits and I immensely enjoyed the challenge.
An illustration for IQ Magazine, on a story by Alba Arikha called The Old Poet.
An illustration for IQ magazine, on a story by Salil Chaturvedi called The Mughal Cheats.
An illustration for IQ magazine, on a story by Bijal Vachharajani called Minimum City.
‘My mother’s warning flashed through my mind- ” Arrey, dhyan thi, chattri kagdo thai jase.” (Careful, the umbrella become a crow-a term used by Gujaratis when umbrellas turn inside out in the wind.)’
‘Unlike Bangalore, where everything grinds to a halt with the hint of a drizzle, Mumbai revels in the rain.’
An illustration for Verve magazine on an article about Manhattan’s Manic Style.
“In the city that never sleeps, fashion, too, has insomnia. Against the backdrop of Manhattan’s ever-changing skyline, fashion pulses, beats, morphs, and morphs again. Change is, of course, the very nature of fashion. So is hurrying up and hustling. It works in our favour, then, that we New Yorkers are also an impatient and solution-focused breed. Sure, some of us have or make time for a leisurely shop with a friend or alone on a stress-free afternoon, trying to gather a sense of where “style” is headed through actual fieldwork. But for many, the new fashion free-for-all has given rise to new, city-specific practices. Homo sapiens newyorkus is a remarkable adaptive and flexible species whose fashion strategies warrant careful observation.”
The Foyer commission for Five Pancras Square approached Central Saint Martins for sample illustrations of symbolic Camden buildings. These illustrations were a contribution to the project.