Interviews

Archana Sreenivasan : Illustrator

Archana Sreenivasan illustrates for magazines, picture books, comics and lifestyle products. She enjoys exploring new styles and techniques, and has illustrated for Puffin, Scholastic, Red Turtle, Karadi Tales, Katha, Manta Ray Comics, Forbes Life magazine, and The Mint newspaper. She likes cats, traveling, exploring the great outdoors, bird-watching, and doodling in cafes. She lives in Bengaluru.

Her illustration blog is here. 

Why are you an Illustrator?
I love to draw. Plus, illustration is a wonderful combination of visual communication & self-expression, design & art, which is a space I enjoy working in very much.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes. I did my BFA at Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore, and did a Post Graduate Diploma in Animation at NID, Ahmedabad.

You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I’m not sure I have a distinct style. In fact, I enjoy trying different styles. If there is indeed a distinct style, I didn’t specifically spend time trying to develop it.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Growing up, I always looked up to my older sister, and her friendship and unconditional support has helped me follow my heart, and do what I love to do.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
Perhaps it was my boss, mentor, and a dear friend, from my very first job. He taught me (and terrorized me) to pay attention to little details to commit myself fully to any job that I undertake.

What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
Illustration studios or full-time positions for illustrators aren’t much of an option in India, so freelance was the alternative. I’ve been freelancing full-time from 2011. I’ve been working mostly with publishing houses so far. I haven’t done many projects with ad agencies, although I’ve been wanting to explore that.

Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I do see illustrations being used quite widely in ads, but as I said before, I’ve been working more with publishing houses than ad agencies.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
I think I will continue to draw always, because its what comes naturally, but there have been times when I’ve considered taking on/have taken on other kinds of employment, due to financial pressures.

Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
Not really, although I’ve worked on some projects where I had to design characters intended to be made into toys/dolls.

Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
Quite a few. Topping the list is Prabha Mallya. I also admire illustrations by Sameer Kulavoor, Priya Kuriyan, and Ajanta Guhathakurta.

Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
The internet is my go-to place for discovering exciting illustration resources. Pia Meenakshi aka Gumani, a fellow illustrator, maintains an art material review blog called http://brokeforart.tumblr.com/ I find her blog very interesting and useful.
You have such a wide experience as a top working professional. What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on Illustration as a career option? Is it paying well enough?
A career in illustration usually isn’t a very well paying one. I suppose that’s something one has to be aware of before deciding to commit to a career in illustration. But many people do supplement their income by also doing design projects in either Graphic Design or Animation, which fetch better fees. I’d say a career in illustration is best suited to those who really love the work, because it involves being lost long hours in doing what you love, but forgoing the securities offered by a steady job is probably not a comfortable choice for everyone.

Mac or PC?
Mac.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
If I could’ve, probably Dr. Salim Ali, or Kenneth Anderson, or Jim Corbett.

What’s on your iPod?
I don’t have one. I listen to random stuff on Grooveshark.barbet

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Yatish Asthana : Interview with a Graphic Designer/Illustrator

Yatish is an Illustrator, Infographist and Graphic Designer . He has a Bachelor’s degree in Animation and Multimedia from Birla Institute Of Technology, Mesra , Ranchi . He has grown up watching all classic cartoons which inspired him to chose creative career.

Apart from Sketching and doodling , he loves spending time with friends and watching movies.
You can see his works at his portfolio site online.

Why are you an Illustrator?
I have been sketching since my schooldays. I am really happy being into a profession which has still kept the “small kid” inside me alive. I am paid for doing what i love to, and that’s the best part for me being an illustrator

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I attended Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi and studied animation and multimedia.

You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I keep experimenting with my art style. I think its good to experiment. You always get something new and unexpected which adds value to your style. I have been sketching since long, but last two two years have been prominent in this aspect. I am still working on betterment and refining of my style.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My grandfather. He has always been an inspiration. Also the amazing colleagues and people whom i have worked with.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
My family and friends. They have always supported me and my career choice. They have inspired and motivated me a lot. Besides them , the amazing artists whom I have interacted with on social media or personally. There is always a positive response while talking to any artist . I really appreciate them all.

What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
Although there are plenty creative agencies out there, still very few offer illustrations in specific. So its big opportunity and option for illustrators to freelance. I have been working since last 3 and half years.
I have worked with Media groups like Mail Today (India Today group) and HT Media group.
I have worked on a number of projects varying from merchandising, custom artworks to commissioned sketches.

Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
Yes, illustration design is getting popular day by day. Today, more brands want their promotion/advertising to be done in form of illustrations, be it digital or traditional. It catches more attention than normal trend.
I have been working with News Media groups since last two and half years.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
No. I never get bored of illustrating.

Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
I would love to :) It would be great to see my paper artwork turning into cool toys.

Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
I have grown up seeing cartoons by Mario Miranda and RK Laxman . They have inspired me a lot. I also follow artists like Dattraj Kamat, Amit Tayal, Abhishek Singh, Faisal Mohammad. I try to learn and gain most from these artists.

Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
There are a number of amazing artists i follow. Pascal Campion, Kerby Rosanes, Mattias Adolfson, Chris Sanders are few of the superb artists i admire.

You have such a wide experience as a top working professional. What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on Illustration as a career option? Is it paying well enough?
Practice and Patience !! Keep experimenting with your art style and most importantly ENJOY your work !
Being illustrator is amazing career choice ! It would surely pay you good if you are working hard .

Mac or PC?
I have worked both on Mac and PC, but PC is more comfortable for me.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Any pretty girl who would love to join. :)

What’s on your iPod?
Honestly, I don’t have any specific choice when it comes to music. I usually switch on the music at low volume and work. It adds a background and creates a peaceful environment to work.

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Sheel Damani : Interview With a Graphic Designer

Sheel Damani is a communication design consultant.

She loves telling stories. And tell them very fast. At work, she comes wearing a long chain of ‘Whys’ — her favourite pass time is to tell people how design can change the world. Not with Helvetica but with the overused jargon ‘design thinking’ which is another fancy term for thinking in context. She loves editing more than writing. Evidently, OCD to clean/align is one of her natural traits.

Why are you a Graphic Designer?
Because I wanted to be a designer. Graphic design just happened to be the discipline that I started with.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes. I have a Bachelor in Design (Fashion Communication) from National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi.

You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I don’t intend to have a distinct style. Its bad if I have one. Design is not meant to communicate about a designer. It is meant for the users. It should be in their style.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My role models were always people around me. My family and teachers. I always wanted to be like my (elder) sister. I copied her all the time.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in graphic design?
Just one name is insufficient. Words by Michael Wolff have lasted with me since Design yatra 2010. His approach to design, detail and human perceptions add a lot of perspective to a designer’s work. There are two people who made my work more exciting along the way. One used to be my creative head in Goa, Anurashi Shetty. She introduced me to the art and importance of writing. The second one is my current team’s head from New Delhi, Abhishek Rai (@Abhishek_Rai). He has introduced me to design as a discipline like no other. Designing for a user and talking about it are two different things. It is now that I have learnt to design for a user. Long way to go still.

When did you start freelancing?
I started freelancing in 2012 from Ahmedabad.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit graphic design?
Yes. When I had just started working. I always felt I am not good enough. Slowly, I realised the only way out was practicing more. Working on several projects and identifying where I fit in best to help people.

Are many advertising agencies hiring graphic designers? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I work with startups and SMEs. My strengths along with visual aesthetics are analysis and writing. I work on projects related to branding, info graphics, communication strategy and marketing for businesses. Currently learning a lot in the field of digital marketing. The team I work with from Delhi has launched a tool for brand managers — www.buildyourcommunity.co

Do you have clients who give you steady work or do you advertise for new clients often?
Fortunately, there has been no time to advertise for new clients. I have to share availability and follow up in most cases to get projects. I have been working with Shack Co. from New Delhi and their tool BuildYourCommunity for nearly two years. They have a fantastic way of working remotely.

Any other Indian graphic designers who you admire?
There are plenty. Orijit Sen, Nina Paley, Amardeep Bahl (Museum design), Kriti Monga, Broti Bhattacharya, Satwik Gade and most of my friends.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option?
Most of the kids who ask me about design are attracted to some ‘cool’ factor associated with it. As all the people in this world say, it is a lot of hard work — I would say the same. But it’s the kind that gives you great joy. Now, I know why its a cliched. Yes, it is a good career option. Graphic designers are good storytellers and the world needs them :)

Do you think Clients are opening up to keeping aside a decent respectable budget for design work? Do you think clients are understanding that they need to invest in Design as a communication tool and also to cut the clutter, and that good design comes at a price?
Largely, yes. Startups definitely see value in it. ‘Good design is good business’ — an IBM belief, shared by many more companies now. Thank God ;)

Mac or PC?
Mac. Always.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Tough question :)

What’s on your iPod?
Khichdi of bollywood, soft rock, coke studio, devotional and instrumental. I am not kidding.

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Anisha Sahni : Interview with a Digital Art Director

Anisha Sahni | Art Director, FoxyMoron – North

Why are you into Advertising?
I have always wanted to work in a creative industry. Be it advertising or animation. However, currently 3D animation especially in India has a long way to go. The characterization and 2D elements of animation are what caught my interest and I realized that I could apply the same fundamentals in Advertising. Cracking the idea, conceptualizing and executing the look along with marketing the idea, is how an animation is produced. It’s the same in advertising, but only quicker. That is what grabbed my interest and the fact that you could really think completely outside the box and not be limited to a script.

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Adil Siddiqui : Designer

Adil Siddiqui is a Mumbai based Pixel Builder aka Designer. He is currently working with a startup called Genii where he Designs User Interfaces and Build User Experiences, he also makes simple and fun illustrations in his free time. He is very creative and passionate in whatever he does, loves his friends, loves Mumbai, loves Mustang 1967 and loves Chicken(deep fried).

His personal illustration / graphic design work can be found on his Tumblr and recently he has started posting some of his professional work on his Behance.

Why are you a Graphic Designer?
Well honestly I don’t know, I never thought I will end up being one. I was one of those who never use to think about my future and what I wanted to do with my life. In college I studied Commerce and then Computer Science. I had no idea what I was doing until I stumbled upon Photoshop and Illustrator and all of a sudden I developed a keen interest in designing. ( I still can’t believe I became a designer)

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Nope.

You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I’m still developing it, I normally scribble my ideas on paper and then develop them directly in illustrator. I’m horrible at traditional way of drawing so I use a Wacom tab to draw digitally which gives me the liberty of ‘ctrl + z’.

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Uttam Sinha : Graphic Designer

Introduction – “I want to be the best graphic designer in the world.” “I want to win every award that exists, from Cannes to D&AD.” “I want to be the next big thing.” Well, if you think all this matter to Uttam Sinha, you’ll be disappointed. Here’s a guy with no such ambitions. All he wants to do in life is to bring smile in people’s faces, with his work, or without it. His mantra in life is very simple: create work that’s loved by all.

Why are you a Graphic Designer?
Honestly, I never desired to be a graphic designer. It all started with the doodling on he back pages of school notebooks, and gradually one thing led to the other. Frankly, I still don’t consider myself as a graphic designer. I am more engrossed in the work I do, rather than the designation people give.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I did my bachelors from College of Art, New Delhi.

You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I don’t know the exact time. Although, I feel it’s still in the developing process.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Well, I am from an army background. Ironically, I am the first person from my family who got into this profession, or probably in art. So, I had no clue of whom to follow as role models. Having said that, I was greatly inspired by R K Laxman.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in graphic design?
There are a lot of them. Difficult to pick one.

When did you start freelancing?
I started working in my college days. They were small assignments, but also a great respite, when you know that most of the time you are broke.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit graphic design?
Perhaps you should ask me this question thirty years from now.

Are many advertising agencies hiring graphic designers? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
Well, I believe that more than graphic designers, today advertising need thinkers. Regarding the last question, I am more associated with agencies.

Do you have clients who give you steady work or do you advertise for new clients often?
None.

Any other Indian graphic designers who you admire?
Sameer Kulavoor.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option?
It’s too early for me to start giving advice, but I feel it’s very important to enjoy the work you are doing. And be truthful to it.

Do you think Clients are opening up to keeping aside a decent respectable budget for design work? Do you think clients are understanding that they need to invest in Design as a communication tool and also to cut the clutter, and that good design comes at a price?
No, it will take time. But I am patient enough.

Mac or PC?
Mac

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
A girl with a good sense of humor.

What’s on your iPod?
I don’t have one.

 

 

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Kumar Suryavanshi : Interview

 

Kumar Suryavanshi is Creative Professional at Interface FCB Ulka Group, Mumbai.

Writer, poet, lyricist, adman, storyteller and a hard-core biryani lover . . . Kumar is a great mix of the creative and the marketing. A strategic planner before he moved to creative, he is a friend to many of his clients and a great motivator to his team. He has won many awards and accolades for his outstanding work. He is a versatile talent and has worked in Pepsi, Interpub, Rediffusion Everest Brand Solutions, Leo Burnett, and is currently with the Interface FCB Ulka Group. His journey from marketing to advertising is truly an inspirational story for many young minds who want to follow their passion against all the odds.
Why are you into Advertising?
Because I love writing and believe in creation more than following the line.
Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
I am still attending the school called ‘LIFE’. I personally don’t believe in any school that can teach you how to communicate your ideas. To some extent in Art, it is required because you need a certain kind of skill set and a sound knowledge of tools but for writing, either you have it or you don’t have. Period.

Tell us about your recent work campaign?
My recent campaign is for the Mahindra commercial range. It was a superb experience working on it.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My role model is and always will be my mother; she has been a great support and a great friend. I have inherited the fighting spirit from her. Whatever I am, big or small, it is all because of her and her immense belief in me.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
Though I have never worked with them but I always look up to Piyush Pandey and R. Balki.
There are some people who really inspired me and contributed to build my career . . . Dilip Chabria, Rashida Patel, Padmakumar, Nitesh Tiwari, Rajesh Mani, Rupesh Kashyap and my friend Nikhil Mehrotra.

Tell us something about the Interface work environment.
The work environment is very comfortable. People are nice and believe in teamwork.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Life.

How do you think Advertising should move into a new age with severely segmented media, short attention spans and declining print and TV viewership amongst the young?
Advertising is not something that you can restrict to any age. We are in the business of communication and over time, communication has changed its medium and it will change continuously. We need to know the pulse of the newer generation and understand their language and needs. We need to upgrade our skills to new media and match the demand of communication without losing the power of content. The new generation is digital and it is happily overtaking print and TV. So I feel it is just a matter of upgrading to new media.

Tell us about your first job in Advertising.
My first job in Advertising was at Interpub. It was a superb encounter in my life.
After I did my MBA I was placed in one of the big MNC beverages companies. I worked there as a Brand Manager for almost a year but I always wanted to write and do something creative. So one day I just left that job and started looking for a foothold in my dream profession. I went to many ad agencies but all of them said I would be a better planner than a creative because of my qualification and experience. But I was adamant and finally I landed at Interpub where Mr. Dilip Chabria (Ex- CEO Interpub ) interviewed me and told me to take a planner plus servicing job at first and then if I prove myself, he said he would help me get into creative. I proved my worth sooner than later. However, by the time I could ask him for a transfer into creative, he resigned.
After that I got a planning job at Everest Brand Solutions, and after seeing my proactive work Paddy (Padmakumar ex- NCD Everest Brand Solutions) took me into the creative department and thereafter I never looked back.

What do you think of the state of Print advertising right now? At least here in India, the released work is most often too sad.
Nowadays, it is in a bad state but as I mentioned before it is not because of lack of interest in print but because brands are getting a much bigger platform in digital and other innovative media. However, there is good work still happening in print.

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
To some extent I believe in it. I feel that if you create work, which will create awareness in the market and move customers and influence their buying decision, then it will definitely win the janta and jury at the same time. And that is what I call award winning work.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
Follow your heart; listen to your gut. Always believe in yourself and work hard. Success will follow.

Do not let your career depend on any person and place. Remember, if you work for clients, you will keep solving their difficulties. But if you work for brands, you will always create opportunities for them.

Your dream project?
Creating opportunities for brand India.

Your upcoming campaigns, if you can talk about it?
There are many, but they are still taking shape.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Most definitely my wife.

What’s on your Mac or PC?
A Royal Enfield pic.

 

 

Sujoy Roy: Interview with a Senior Creative Director

Sujoy joined advertising because it allowed him to go to work in his cargo shorts. He is convinced that Superman exists. Has a couple of imaginary friends. And echoes Christopher Nolan’s belief that an idea is the most resilient parasite in the world. 

11 years in the industry. 11 years at Ogilvy. 2 offices in India. And an expat stint at Ogilvy Sri Lanka has collectively increased his insatiable appetite for great work and ideas beyond boundaries. He has a Cannes lion and an Ad fest Gold along with credits at the London International Festival, Young Guns and World Press Awards. If he is on leave, you’ll find him fishing for talent as a visiting faculty at media institutes or creating curious Bong and Chinese concoctions at his father’s restaurant in Kolkata.

Why are you into Advertising?
Because I hate wearing a tie and absolutely despise formal trousers.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
No. I learnt how to use alphabets to form words and sentences in school. And heading the Students Union as General Secretary of Presidency College, Kolkata, taught me everything I needed to know about management.

Tell us about your recent work campaign?
We have recently rolled out a campaign for Kwiknic, a nicotine gum from ITC and pulled off a charming poster on Hot Wheels.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Yes. My dad is my hero. I have inherited his energy and passion. And my bosses Sumanto Chattopahyay and Zenobia Pithawalla are the reason why I have reached where I have. Without them I would have ended up as just another anonymous summer trainee at Ogilvy Mumbai.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
Piyush Pandey.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
By observing my 19-month-old son. He is the most creative person I know.

Tell us something about Ogilvy and Mather, Kolkata work environment.
Well, we’re a tight nucleus as a team. There are no cubicles. Its just one big floor full of loud and boisterous people jamming together to create meaningful work. And we hate to introduce ourselves as colleagues.

Tell us about your first job in Advertising.
I started with Ogilvy Mumbai. When the office was at Lower Parel. It was that Alice in Wonderland feeling. Distinct. Heady. And mind-boggling. I mean, Piyush Pandey walking up and down the isles of the Creative Department. That rabbit hole was the most colourful one I have ever seen.

What do you think of the state of Print advertising right now? At least here in India, the released work is most often too sad.
Good print advertising still works like magic. You just need to change the lens on it. I think the static work on the web is very similar to print advertising. Print, I guess, is evolving.

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
Ab-so-lute-ly. Advertising that’s effective is creative. Look at Dove ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ and Dumb ways to die.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
Build a book that you’d like to place next to you in your grave.

Your dream project?
I would love to write an animation film for my son and get Pixar to do it.

Your upcoming campaigns, if you can talk about it :)
That wouldn’t be wise, right?

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My wife, Sharmishtha. I can’t remember the last time we went out for dinner. We are the proud parents of a toddler, you see.

What’s on your iPod?
I don’t own one.

Mac or PC?
Mac.

 

 

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Shashank Nimkar : Interview with a graphic designer / animator

Shashank Nimkar has just graduated from Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune. Major in animation film design. Having a deep interest in craft since his childhood has inspired him to specialize in the technique of stop-motion animation. Nature, he believes is his biggest inspiration.

“I have been a craft lover ever since I can remember. The traditional method of creating something with hands, having various materials spread around, getting hands dirty with glue and the will to see something productive and innovative coming up keeps me going.”

Why are you a Graphic Designer?
I have been creating things since my school days just for my creative-satisfaction and today I get paid for that. What else could be better. Living my dream.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes, I have just completed my B Des. studies from Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune.

You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I have always been fond of tactile creations than virtual ones. The most challenging factor about such creations is that there is no ‘ctrl+Z’, and you can actually feel what you are creating. I started doing paper quilling six years back from now, after I completed my 10th grade. Soon I started making hand crafted illustrations(and products) that can be used for print and digital campaigns.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
I have always been open to any source of inspiration and learning, hence, I consider anyone who is passionate about work and creates an admiring work as my role model.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in graphic design?
Considering my quilling work Yulia Brodskaya has been a major inspiration in terms of medium, though her style is very different than how I use quilling.

When did you start freelancing?
Majority of my projects are self-initiated. Since this medium is new in India, plus I am trying to do something unconventional in that medium; I first make creations that I can relate to then I make them public for people to imagine what all can be done with this medium.
I did something similar when I started out, back in first year during college’s annual festival in 2011. I made 65 unique designs of my signature Finger Buddies based on which I started freelancing and today clients approach me for such customized finger buddies for their brand or people buy it for themselves or as gifts.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit graphic design?
As long as I am doing craft, NO WAY. I have never been bored or tired of it. When I get into the phase of serious working I don’t even realise that I have been working for 6-8 hours continuously.

Tell us something about your stop-motion work…
To be honest, I had no clue what animation is all about when I opted for the course. I just saw it as an opportunity to keep doing craft. Seeing my craft coming to life in animation was a feeling of immense joy and inspiration, it was no more a static piece of art to be place in a showcase. Since I love exploring mediums, till now I have made four stop-motion short films as a part of academics and each of them uses a very different medium. And they all have been nominated at various film festivals.

Are many advertising agencies hiring graphic designers? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I do not have much experience with that. I have just started collaborating with clients. I work with anyone who knows the value of the work and understands how much efforts are put into it, even if the client is an individual and not a brand.

Do you have clients who give you steady work or do you advertise for new clients often?
I have just started to build my relations with clients so cannot say anything for now.

Any other Indian graphic designers who you admire?
I do not have any names in particular but I keep looking for good inspiring work every now and then.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option?
As of now I am one of those. But for those who are thinking about choosing a career and/or want to take their skills/hobbies into serious profession, I would just say that if you can’t live without art you should not live without it. Do what makes you happy and live your dream. And keep observing around, we are midst inspiration and opportunities.

Do you think Clients are opening up to keeping aside a decent respectable budget for design work? Do you think clients are understanding that they need to invest in Design as a communication tool and also to cut the clutter, and that good design comes at a price?
Yes, as many clients I have worked for they all have an understanding about the impact of design and the efforts put into making it. Also, they valued it well in terms of budget.

Mac or PC?
Frankly, doesn’t make much difference to me. Majority of my work is tactile.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Ummm… It’s a secret :P (just kidding, no such plans for now)

What’s on your iPod?
Complete Bollywood collection, from 90s to the latest. I am a big bollywood fan, Shuddh filmy. :D

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Shovona Karmakar : In conversation with a Photographer / Artist

 

A Fine art Graduate from Kala Bhawan, Vishwabharti University, Shantiniketan and with a Foundation in Design from MIT Pune, She has well practiced in the visual media Specifically in Photography along Textile design and Graphic print. She has mixed up her sensibilities quite depicted in her Concepts,Food,Portraits and Cinemagraphs….

Along being a photographer she has worked as a Digital Artist in Wacom India, an internship with Vogue India, Documenter for Tata Tanishq and others…

She believes in an endless ongoing process to evolve and expand her capabilities as an artist and being ..

 

Why are you a photographer?
Photography and trying to make a living out of it, I personally feel is a mere play of my destiny .. which I guess had planned for me.. I was always into sketching and painting since childhood.. and after I gave up the plan to go for Indian Civil Service, I was planning for Animation and though I got through a design college.. I left to pursue for traditional painting. as I wanted to make something more personal.. but gradually I felt for a camera and digital illustration and art.. and finally after all those trials and errors of making life worth.. I found this medium of making Visuals..called photography..

I come from a family where parents give up their dreams to let their children live theirs.. it was a mere surprise for me to find my dad into photography in his 20′s and 30′s with a agfa click 4 film point and shoot camera.. and my mom being a self taught classical singer and dancer.. I guess I got their genes which helps me think creative and make it large every next day..

Do you remember any decisive moment when you felt ‘I want to be a photographer’?
Coming to the plan of being a photographer.. was one of the most interesting evolution I can ever think can happen with me or anybody.. bored of the very outdated techniques taught in my art college.. I brought a digital camera.. and while then I came across the idea of 365 project , I thought to do something but with a personal touch.. I just randomly planned to do a 365 self portrait which I named DESI INSIDE.. PARDESI OUTSIDE.. clicking myself for one complete year .. and shared it over various social media platform and it so happened.. that people started following me and I got the niche to move on with it … Then a life turning factor came.. and I believe self blessed to have it… Ritam Banerjee, an internationally known photographer .. saw my work and gave me an opportunity to come down to Mumbai..and helped me to see the industry in more practical terms..sure his guidance all these years has helped to make various logistics involved become easy to deal with.. He still plays an important role to help me become a better Photographer both Personally and Professionally…

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
I belong to an industrial community where being an Engineer or Doctor is meant important in life.. anything else is a taboo.. my parents wanted me to pursue any of the above as they were aware how to go about it.. but they were at the same time very supportive about what I want to be and where my interest belongs.. Beside my Dad and my mentor… being an art history student ..I came across and studied various national and international artist from various mediums like painting to graphic print to sculpture… understanding the way they lived their creative life, struggles and how they came up with what they came up is important in terms of understanding its own evolution..

Who was the most influential personality on your career in photography?
I somewhere felt free and got the gut to think differently when I came across one of the best photographers internationally ,Erik Almas.. his personal struggle for 20 years to get his big break into this industry still give me the Lift when I feel Blue.. sure his works amazes people.. but his personal struggles is something amazes me above all..

How has photography changed over the course of the last couple of decades? Is execution/art direction more important than it used to be?
To be honest I am just a starter into this industry.. still having those baby steps.. But if u ask me to talk about it.. Photography in India.. has changed since the Camera companies has started marketing it immensely and the reasonable prices have made it reachable to every individual now..Sure Having it digital is the biggest Revolution into this field.. Though the positive aspect I feel.. is the Respect now as a Professional Photographer gets, but still indians has to understand the good work from the bad.. as every one is becoming a photographer its giving a tough fight for the one who deserves.. as in India.. involved Logistic Quantity Dominates over Quality..

What do you think of the current state of Print Advertising photography in India? Is it at par with the work done worldwide?
India is Growing.. the evolution of internet has made the world small.. coming aware of whats happening abroad is not a surprising factor anymore.. Sure Indian Creative industry concerns more over Quantity than Quality, few Indian photographers have proved they are at par with international standards.. Still a lot of awareness about the Quality has to be done in creative Institutes and other.
I don’t feel we lack anything.. If one is given a freedom of expression… taking care what the concept demands.. sure We can give a tough competition to the west.

Where do you get your inspiration?
WWW.GOOGLE.COM

How did you get focussed so much on food photography?
I am a big foodie… as I lost 20 kgs during my well admired project of 365 self portrait, I became quite a health conscious person.. As I live alone and i spent my quality time beside my working table ..is in kitchen.. trying to come out with something healthy and simple, Thanks to my dietician.. :D .. so being a photographer .. trying a hand over this topic was not a surprise.. it again helped me to share what I like with people. Initially I remained terrible with it.. but gradually as I studied others work, I started coming up with decent images.. enough to call clients like restaurants and cooking hobbyist to photograph and document their product respectively…

Cinemagraphs are still a new medium. How did you start creating them?
Cinemagraphs, or living photographs is something will force you to see things differently.. Came across these simple GIFS while I was Googling..researched about the technicalities involved.. and gradually I started observing these Frames with mere actions in my day to day life..

My very first cinemagraph was about two carpenters working in their factory…

Initially you don’t get whats happening .. but as you start shaping the image to a living image.. it just becomes an immortal movement…

Though this medium has some restrains.. but above all.. its sometimes somewhere speaks more than a photographs and I like that factor.. the production of a seamless cinema graphs has its own challenge which one can come out with proper planning..

Was there any time when you wanted to quit photography?
Well I have just started.. so this question doesn’t imply on me now.. but for sure.. creating visuals is something I guess I will not get bored off.. not so soon I guess.. as I keep on trying to incorporate other mediums to make it larger than what it remains.. and yes making a living out of it.. requires a lot of patience and input in-terms of hard-work and lots of homework to make clients believe what you are capable off.. which is sometimes frustrating..

Any current work in Indian Advertising that you find exciting? Especially Print?
There are many whom I admire and get inspired a lot from.. Old is gold.. Nirma.. Lijjat papad and latest Vodaphone and Fevicol are some which are anytime amusing.. I admire the Indian Flavour Amul Print Advertisment has carried all the way all these years..

Whats your dream project?
Talking about dreams projects.. I will like to say SURPRISE projects.. :D.. my first 365 self portrait 2010-2011, project which I just started randomly was a Surprise for me… that I did..then last year.. I planned to discover Chattisgarh, India and it surprised me with its beauty.. discovered some amazing landscapes to getting an unexpected entry to open coal mines.. going all the way 150feet deep down the earth and discovering the FIRE OVER WATER factor and then the portrait session of Coal Employees.. coming from various part of INDIA working harmoniously keeping aside all the cultural and religious differences aside.. was quite an learning experience for me
Presently I am doing my second 365 days.. :)

looking forward for more surprise projects which will help me discover myself…. :D

Who would you want to spend a dinner with?
Back home with my family..

Whats on your iPod?
Though I carry a transcend as it fitted my budget over IPOD.. I love to have those pop music and instrumental.. forcing me tap my feet and rock on hard…

Mac or PC?
I started with a PC.. but now I find self addicted to Mac :D

 

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