Interviews

Shirin Kekre : Illustrations

Shirin Kekre is an illustrator from Mumbai. She found her interest in the arts from the time she was little and went on to develop her skills in that field. She took up an Applied Arts course and graduated with a diploma from Sophia Polytechnic, after which she was approached by BBH India where she started her design career. Her first achievement was when her team won a Kyoorius for work done on Infocus phones in 2016. She now looks forward to doing more such good work for clients and for herself.

Why are you a Graphic Designer?
I was always into the creative field and I loved colors, shapes and executing my ideas. According to me, the best option was being a graphic designer.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Design

You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I took a while to develop my style. And, it’s still in process. With every illustration I do, I try to add a different style or an element of design to it.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Not while I was growing up but after I got into the field I started following a lot of great designers like Steve Cutts, Henn Kem, Joan Cornella.

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Rohan Philips : Programmatic Branding with Xaxis

A little bit of context – Programmatic is extremely important when we talk about scale.

Historically, media was bought by partnerships from organization; companies were simply shaking hands with clients and publishers (TV / newspapers) to get deals done. Even up to recently, digital media has been bought in bulk and large packages, and therefore scaling to some degree – especially when it comes to smaller brands or smaller products – has become the focus of this conflict. As a result, access to various platforms became limited, and for bigger brands, it became a challenge to understand consumers properly.
What programmatic has been able to achieve is the ability for companies to make such decisions in real-time, as well as the ability to scale up and down when, how and if they need to.
Rohan is the VP of products and strategy for Xaxis, Asia Pacific. He is responsible for developing Xaxis capabilities across the region, including defining the strategy for various Xaxis business units, developing proprietary technology and establishing strategic partnerships to deliver best in class programmatic products.
Rohan has been part of the Xaxis / WPP family for about four years now, working primarily in Singapore. Prior to joining Xaxis, he worked in London at Starcom MediaVest Group (on the media side).
Originally from Bangalore, Rohan enjoys traveling and reading in his free time.

Tell us a little about your company Xaxis (overview of the company as a global entity, with focus on India region)Xaxis is a global digital media platform that programmatically connects advertisers to audiences across all addressable channels. Through the expert use of proprietary data and advertising technology along with unparalleled media relationships, Xaxis delivers results for over 2,800 clients in 45 markets across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East. Advertisers working with Xaxis achieve exceptionally high return on advertising spend through the company’s proprietary media products, as well as through its specialist companies, Light Reaction, Bannerconnect, plista and ActionX.

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Prasad Kelkar : llustrator, Motion Designer and Art Director

Prasad Kelkar is a Mumbai based Illustrator, Motion Designer and Art Director.
After graduating from Sir. J.J. Institute of Applied Arts(2004) he worked as an illustrator with TATA Interactive Systems. He currently leads the Motion team at TAG Vinnatti, a Design and Branding firm. He has also collaborated with different agencies like LOWE Lintas, Digi Law & Kenneth, Brand Movers, Mindbird for various clients like Thomas Cook, Oakley, Surf Excel, MTS, Axis Bank, Union Bank, Tupperware, Godrej, Lodha, HOH to name a few.

Why are you into Motion graphics?
I like Motion graphics because it allows me to tell stories in different styles, mediums and materials. There is no fixed production pipeline, each motion project comes with a unique challenge and that pushes you to learn new things. Because of motion graphics I started gaining serious interest in photography, cinematography and music.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
Yes, I did my graduation from Sir J.J.School of App.Art (2000-04)

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Manmohan Anchan : In Conversation with an Advertising Creative

Born in Bangalore in 1965, Manmohan alias Maac was educated in this city and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Art from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath.

In 1989, he joined Ogilvy and Mather advertising in the art department and worked there for fifteen years. By the time he left to start Temple Advertising, he had been Creative Director for 8 years and a national creative resource at Ogilvy.

Some of his work on clients like Titan Watches, Allen Solly, Lee, Louis Philippe, TVS, IBM, 3M, Indigo Nation, Scullers, Reliance Trends, Wipro Technologies and Hindustan Levers has been commended at prestigious international advertising awards like The One Show (New York), Cannes, New York Art Director’s Index, and Clio.

Maac has been on the jury at the Asia Pacific Ad festival 2002, ABBY Mumbai 2008 and Bangalore Advertising awards 2000 & 2004.

He has directed over 25 advertising films. His interests also include photography, painting, sketching and sculpture. His bronze sculpture is in the permanent collection of the prestigious Lalith Kala Academi. He has also won the Kerala State Film Award as Best Art Director 2005 for a Malayalam feature film.

He now is Chief Creative Officer at Bates CHI & Partners India.

“I grew up in a house that gave me art and only art. My father was an artist, sculptor, model maker and illustrator. He was well-known in the art circles of Bangalore and was a big influence on me. I used to spend a lot of time with him in the hope that I’d one day be like him. In fact, the day I bid goodbye to advertising, I will only do pure art and look up to the sky and say thank you for all that He has done for me.”

Why are you into Advertising?
Not sure why I got into advertising. Actually I was keen to become an animator but due to financial pressures I had to forgo what I wanted to do, and I joined Ogilvy. Thought I’d work for a few years and then pursue my dreams but those few years became 18 years at Ogilvy.

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Riddhi Parekh : Photography

Riddhi sees frames everywhere, not just because she is a photographer, she always saw them. She see people, their expressions, gestures, the play of light and shade and a profusion of colours – slivers of magic, and she try’s to capture it all! The opportunities are endless for someone who sees an image in any situation.

Having begun as a clueless teenager Riddhi found my true calling only after having dabbled in the Ad world. Her tryst in photography began with assisting ace photographer Nrupen Madhvani and her resolve to become a name to reckon with became even strong. After which she joined Shari Academy of Digital photography where my passion grew by leaps and bounds and she went onto becoming the Master Craftsmen of the year and also bagged the Best Fashion Photography and Food Photography Award, Luxoculus.

Why are you a photographer?
I am a photographer because I am terrible at math and have an attention span of a gold fish.

Do you remember any decisive moment when you felt ‘I want to be a photographer’?
Yes, very vividly actually. It was my 6th month in my first proper job in an advertising agency as a brand planner and I was cribbing about how much I hate it to one of my colleagues. I was always good at arts and wanted to get into the creative side of ad making. I was trying desperately to find a way to get in to graphic designing and it seemed more and more impossible everyday. My colleague asked me a simple question: If there were no criteria or any restrictions what would you want be? I answered either a pilot or one of those cool National geographic wild life photographers. He said here you go bingo. Not sure about the pilot bit but photography seems like a good transition. And the next day I was researching about photography and within next 2 months I left my job and became a photographer.

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Nikita Mehta Shah : The Designery

The Designery is a ‘Graphic Label’ turned into a fresh new multi-disciplinary design studio based in Mumbai. We specialize in innovative design and visual communication. Out-of-the-box design thinking, Fresh perspective & a killer graphic style that has come to being loved over the years are what make The Designery. We love taking on the role of a ‘story-teller’ while we weave creative brand stories from which stems our highly design-led work belonging to various design verticals, such as branding, editorial, illustration, surface design & our line of exclusive products belonging to the home, lifestyle & fashion space.

What made you start The Designery?
The Designery –the label came into conception in 2012. The Studio with its various verticals was what the label evolved and matured into very recently. Back in 2012 The Designery was primarily a product driven label.

As a freelance Graphic Designer my core expertise was always branding and design for print that were honed and refined while working at various design studios in London and Mumbai, but starting The Designery was what gave me a whole new dimension as an artist.
Design is a wonderful world to tap into if you’re all about ‘looking at things differently’. It gives you the power to make the world see things the way you see them and make them go ‘wow’!

I wanted to explore, experiment and push conventional design standards without being bound to a creative brief that usually comes with studio driven work. I wanted to establish an irreverent graphic style that I would be known for, something that is exclusive to me and what I do and so I took some time off from my job as a Graphic Designer.

We did a whole collection of home décor pieces, which were themed with light and Time that were inspired by glass and typography & exhibited them at various exhibits around the city. And every time someone picked up the piece I created and went ‘that’s amazing!’ gave me an adrenaline rush that I had never experienced before and this is when The Designery was born.

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Amish Sabharwal : In a chat with a Creative Director

Amish Sabharwal, one of the lost children of the bridge generation has desperately tried to do nothing and everything at once and ended up in Advertising.
He believes in happily ever after (Not be confused with Happy Endings) and would like to be a celebrated work in progress.

If a Schizo was to yank pages out of random books about music, fiction, Chess, TV, beat poetry, theatre, cinema, voice performance, dance and stick them hastily into a hardbound cover in no particular order, he would get a piece of work called ‘The life and whims of Amish Sabharwal’. And it might read out like a rant.

Why are you into Advertising?
I wanted two things in life, a fairy tale romance (which has nothing to do with advertising) and a job I would love going to every single morning. Advertising has been a book shelf for a disjointed work like me. And I love the hunt. Nothing like pumping distracted and cynical minds with magic lead.
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Kruti Saraiya : Typography And Design

Kruti Saraiya is a graphic designer/ typographer based in Mumbai. The focus of her practice has been to allow for a contemporary Indian design narrative to emerge to fill the gap between mtv kitsch and traditional Indian crafts.

As a typographer, she sees her role in infusing context into letters and bringing the written word alive. Her strengths lie in working with scripts of Indian languages to create an equal space for them alongside English in urban India. Her commercial and experimental work celebrates the Indian aesthetic in a fusion of east and west. ‘The key’, she says, ‘is to change our mindset from an either-or to an AND.’

Besides this her portfolio includes branding, packaging, editorial and web design across verticals. She has been a speaker at the Indian Design Forum – IDF 2013 and a part of the core team to set up Design Museum Dharavi (2016). Her work has also been published in International design magazines like Creative Review (UK) & Visible Language (USA). She has exhibited in a group show ‘Pushpa Patha: The Flower Trail’ in gallery BMB, Mumbai.

She graduated from the London School of Printing. She has worked with Rabia Gupta Designs, Mumbai and taught at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru for several years.

She currently has an independent practice and teaches in the Visual Communication Department at the Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) and Ecole Intuit.

Why are you a Graphic Designer?
I actually identify more with being called a typographer – I love words. I’m super excited by words of all languages – what they mean, how they sound and especially how they look.It is an immensely satisfying feeling waking up each day and infusing context in to the words.
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Vijit Gupta : Photography

Vijit is a freelance photographer based in Bombay. He loves playing with light and has been learning from the best (Martin Prihoda). Is a fitness enthusiast (mainly basketball and cross fit). Briefly did a client servicing internship with Lowe Lintas just after college and realised that he had to jump onto the ‘other side’.
Why are you a photographer?
Because photography allows me to express, travel, meet new people everyday, learn new things and have new experiences.

Do you remember any decisive moment when you felt ‘I want to be a photographer’?
After my stint at Lintas for about 20 months, I moved back home (Ahmedabad) to figure out what to do with life and picked up my dad’s old Pentax Mesuper and started shooting randomly trying to make use of whatever time i was wasting. It really got my attention and i quickly enrolled myself into a basic workshop at NID Ahmedabad. After meddling around with the camera for a few months i contacted my old friends at the agency and hustled an assisting job for Martin Prihoda. That was it.

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Hari Kumar : Illustrations and Graphic Design

Hari Kumar graduated from Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. He has a passion for illustration amd graphic design. He enjoys illustrating for children and creating his own characters and environments.He also loves playing competitive video games with his friends and eventually wants to create concept art for the entertainment industry. He is most happy while reading comic books.
Why are you a Illustrator?
My interest in illustration was sparked when I was in school and read a comic book for the first time. Since then I knew I wanted to be in a creative field later in my life. I began drawing characters from comic books and cartoons, and soon began creating characters from my imagination. During my college years, I worked on my own style. I got the chance to illustrate storybooks for children, and really hone my illustration skills.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I went to Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and studied Visual Communication.

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