Interviews

Simran Nanda: Interview with a Student Illustrator

Simran Nanda is a Communication Designer specializing in illustration. She will be graduating from The Pearl Academy of Art Design and Fashion, New Delhi this year. She loves spending time with her family, friends and her pets. She wishes to get married to the city of Bombay in her near future!

Why are you an Illustrator?
Since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated by cartoons. I had a collection of stuffed animals! I think this is where my vision to create different characters came from.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I’m studying at The Pearl Academy of Art Design and Fashion. I will get my degree in B.A Communication Design this year.

You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I have always wanted to sketch but initially I was afraid to do so. I have been observing the work of various illustrators over the years. Some of them have different styles of illustrating. It took me a while to find my own style. I feel it came from practice and a lot of passion for the work I do.  I love digital work in particular, playing with different shapes and colors to create my characters. I love robots and monsters!

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My role model is and always will be Shah Rukh Khan. I admire the passion he has for his work. I have always looked up to him. Even though he doesn’t know me, I hope he does someday!
 
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
It’s difficult to choose one in particular but I remember going to Bombay for the first time and I was fascinated to see Mario Miranda’s work on the walls of Café Mondegar. I am truly inspired by his work.
I also love Mattias Adolfson, the German illustrator. Observing his work and made me pay attention to detail in my illustrations.

What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
I was motivated to do so by my mentor in college.  After building on my portfolio, I have done some freelance work as an illustrator. I have illustrated characters for social media icons and graphics for toys. I haven’t got a chance to illustrate for advertising as yet.

Tell us something about your graphic design work.
My work is mostly digital based. I have a particular style that has developed over the years. I love illustrating for children in particular. I am very fascinated by monsters and robots!

Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I think it depends on the brief given to us. If the ad requires illustration as a medium, then yes. I have mainly worked with design houses and advertising agencies.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
Not as yet! I hope I never do. But I have always wanted to see my characters in motion. So if I ever plan to divert from illustration, I would want to specialize in animation.

Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
I have made graphics for paper toys that are used as night lamps! It was a concept based on reusable packaging for children. So the packaging converts into a paper toy or a lamp.

Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
I love Prashant Miranda’s work. He was called to our college for an interactive session where he showcased his work. It was great seeing his travel logs. I love his use of watercolors.

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?
I’m just about to graduate! So I think its too soon to give my view about taking Illustration as a career option but I think it depends on person to person. You need to be connected to your work that makes a big difference. It pays well with the amount of experience one has.

Mac or PC?
I use a Mac

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Shah Rukh Khan! I want to take him out for dinner and thank him for singing for me on my birthday!

What’s on your iPod?
I listen to The XX and Phealeh while working. I love music that helps me work in peace.  Also I love bollywood!
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Interview with Zohar Furniturewala– ECD Scarecrow Communications, Mumbai

Creative, adventurous, non conformist. Thats how Zohar would describe himself.
Why are you into Advertising?
Because I was convinced by my family in not joining the army. Since I was very good in art so joining an Art college was the next option, after passing out or applied arts, advertising was a natural choice.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
I have graduated from the Sir JJ Institute of Applied Arts specializing in Typography.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Not any in Particular, I was and am influenced by different people for different things at different times.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
Again no one in particular, but in college and even later was very inspired by the work done by Pentagram Designs, Saul Bass, Michael Bierut, Paul Rand, Paula Scher, Milton Glaser, Albert Watson, Herb Ritts, David Carson, Neville brody, and above all my college Professor Prof. Saynekar. 
From the industry: Elsie Nanji, Divya Thakur, Cyrus Oshidar, Rajiv and Mahesh (RIP).

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Good Design around the world, in everything, not limited to only advertising. 
By great work done by other creative people as well.

What do you think of the state of Print advertising right now?
What you see in the mainstream is very mediocre with flashes of some brilliant work here and there. In selective medias people are doing good work. The possibility to do great work is always there. I also don’t differentiate between print and other medias. As a communication and creative person I believe great work can be done on any platform and in any media.

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?

I am not an expert on advertising per se but one has to adapt to the reality of the times we live in. 
If you are referring to creative work then by doing eye grabbing work, in whichever media and space one gets to do.

Do you think brands who’s advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
Yes it does.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?

For your work to be fresh and relevant, you have to adapt with the times and trends (unless you yourself are a trendsetter). 
Expose yourself to other arts outside advertising. 
You are as good as the last piece of work you have done, it means the hunger to do good work has to always be there, otherwise you are on your way to becoming obsolete and outdated.
 Be very serious about your work but don’t take advertising and yourself too seriously.

Mac or PC?

Both.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My Wife and son.

What’s on your iPod?
I prefer silence.

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Dharmesh Shah : Interview

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Dharmesh Shah is a Creative Director at Draft FCB Ulka, Bangalore

Why are you into Advertising?
I am a trained diamond grader, have learnt jewelery manufacturing, tried selling/marketing diamond jewelery. I joined a science college to become an engineer. I don’t think I can do anything else.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
No. I did my b.Com from Bhavan’s Andheri- Mumbai. Then a one year course in advertising by Noorul Islam.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Kapil Dev.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
Can’t name one. I read a lot about David Ogilvy and Bill Bernbach before I joined Advertising. In my career though, Chax has been a big influence. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everything. I am big copycat. Everyday life gives you so much to use.

Tell us something about the work environment at Draft Bangalore.
I have never seen anyone really do work here. Yet we end up doing a lot of work. I wonder how.

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?
We have to move from loud and in-your-face to subtle and less intrusive. Media segmentation is one problem. Larger concern is people hate advertising. When I was growing up advertising was fun to watch, sing along, remember and talk about…if we can achieve that again…tv, print, internet or outdoor is just means to reach. If people like us they will hear and see us.

Do you have any kind of a program to nurture and train young talent? 
Yes we do. We have Star One. It is the only program in the industry today that inducts creative as well as account management and media trainees in the a real way. It is a two month process that teaches you what colleges and management institutes do not.

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? Why do you think it has lost the shine? Why are the younger lot more interested in TV? 
I think I have partly answered this above. It will take a while before print gets better. I do not like the way our industry, especially the seniors around look at the decline of print and sort of blame it on youngsters. The fact is we live in a country where we are selling to a major illiterate population or people who do not read even if they are literate. Kids grow up watching television and make their choices based on what they see. Written content in general is poor. I hate reading the newspaper for the sheer bad quality of news and journalism. So why will I read ads or rather where will I read ads. Also visuals stories reach more people irrespective of language/region. So we all watch tv. So there are more tv ads.  So why complain?

More and more young people are web savvy and want to work on the internet or on more entrepreneurial ventures. Has that affected the quality of people advertising has been getting?
To a certain extent this is perception. The numbers really are not that large. More people talk internet than actually living it. Also internet/web is really restricted to FB or youtube. How many of us use internet beyond that? The entrepreneurial ventures yes, but for every one online venture that succeeds…how many fail to even take off?

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
No always.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? 
Know what you are good at and what you want. Do not join advertising because you want to become a lyricist in Bollywood and need a job to sustain while you struggle. Or you want to become an artist but no one would buy your stuff.

What is your dream project?
Where the client is willing to use common sense and not common knowledge.Where ideas are need not be restricted to certain individuals’ sensibilities. Powerful ideas are judged by powerful minds.

Mac or PC?
PC.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My wife.

What’s on your iPod?
Sa Trincha, AR Rahman, Amit Trivedi, Gregorian Chants, Bhimsen Joshi, KishoriAmonkar, Anoushka and Ravi Shankar and a lot of fusion stuff from Talvin Singh, Zakiretc

Jitendra Patel : Interview with an Illustrator

Born and raised in Baroda, Jitendra Patel (aka Jitu) has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. Currently, he works as an art director at Ogilvy and Mather, Mumbai. Besides his art, Jitu is also passionate about movies and old-time songs. He spends his leisure time sketching and lately, attempting to learn how to play the flute!

Why are you an Illustrator?
Since childhood, drawing and painting have been my first love. My notebooks were filled with drawings rather than notes. So you could say my childhood passion lead me into the world of art.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes, I went to one of the best art schools in India – Faculty of Fine Arts MSU University, Baroda.
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Sumedha Sah : Interview with an illustrator

Sumedha Sah is a self taught artist and illustrator and hails from the beautiful hill station of Nainital. Having completed her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from MIT Manipal, She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Sustainable Architecture from CEPT University in Ahmedabad. Her artwork is inspired by mundane life experiences, her travels and her innate love for nature. She enjoys spending time with her pets, 3 dogs and a cat. As well as travelling to the unexplored parts of the world.

Some of her clients include, The National Geographic Traveller Magazine India, TED x India and Full Circle Publishing based out of Delhi.

Why are you an Illustrator?
I draw because it gives me immense joy. I draw for this simple reason everyday. With a sketchbook and a box of travel watercolours, I doodle and create. I find inspiration in the happenings of everyday. I strongly believe in the simple joys and know that many of our lives go by, doing things for the head rather than the heart. My sketchbooks are a way to document my life and record the thoughts that cloud my mind on certain days. On others they are a mirror to what I feel.

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Sujata Keshavan : Interview

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Chairperson: Ray+Keshavan/Brand Union
Judge, Branding, D&AD awards 2014.

What does your role as a D&AD judge entail?
The D&AD awards are highly respected and are widely regarded as the Gold Standard of awards. It really means a great deal to creative professionals to win a pencil. The best thing about being a judge, is that one gets the opportunity to see the most recent, most brilliant work, the best of the best. It gives you a sense of the state of design in the world.
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Sreejita Chakraborty : Interview with an Art Director

Having stayed in various parts of the country, Sreejita always brings a fresh perspective to the table. Being one of Ogilvy’s home-grown creatives, she has worked in the agency’s Delhi and Kolkata office. With a keen sense of design she is also known for experimenting with typography. She is an erratic, chaotic and a somewhat charismatic individual. Treating each work as her last, she believes she is the most finicky art-director on the face of the planet.

Why are you into Advertising?
Because I would rather think of new ideas every day than be submerged in excel sheets. It’s fun, it’s chaotic. It’s me.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
Yes, I spent the best years of my life studying Communication Design at D. J. Academy of Design, Coimbatore.

Tell us about your awards?
Other than a couple of regional and Pan-Asia awards, I’m still working up to the biggies. You’ll also find my work in last year’s Luerzer’s Archive, Volume 6.

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Sameer Kochure: Interview with a Creative Director

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Sameer has been in advertising for 11 years now. From taking up a job without a contract to creating original work across 6 countries, he has come a long way. He is currently, as he likes to put it, ‘fabulously jobless’ since his last company Commonwealth, APAC went houdini on him. He keeps busy sauntering from one beach town to the next while waiting for a challenging, integrated role and dreaming of a multimillion dollar contract. He has worked in Mumbai, New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur.

Why are you into advertising?
I wasn’t smart enough to do anything else. With my modest performance through school, my mom knew it was best not to leave me to a more conventional future. Which back then used to be some form of medicine or engineering.
She took me to meet some of her friends working in advertising. The prospect of escaping math forever appealed to me. As soon as I enrolled in college, I fell in love with advertising. My mom had seen something in me I hadn’t. Thank god for making moms! And giving me an especially gifted one.

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Bodhisatwa : Interview with a Creative Director

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Bodhisatwa Dagupta is a Creative Director, Grey worldwide, Delhi, at the time this interview published.

Bodhisatwa, or Bodhi as he is fondly known in the advertising circus is an obsessive, compulsive writer. When he’s not writing ads for a target audience he hasn’t met, he’s writing the first line of books that he won’t write. And when he’s not writing that, he’s writing about irrelevant things that have no implication in the macrocosm of things. Bodhi hates long words. Like obituary. And when the time is ripe, he’ll write his own, thank you very much.

Why are you into advertising?
Strangely enough, because I like the word ‘fuck’. I’ll explain. When I was a kid, perhaps 6-7 years or so, I used to see these hot shot advertising executives waltz into my place to have meetings with my dad (who, because he was in PR) had to deal closely with them. They looked really cool – long cigarettes dangling dangerously from their lips, drinking at odd hours, and using the word ‘fuck’ freely. I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be cool. And so at the age of 7, I made up my mind that I’d like to be in advertising.

The reason I stayed in advertising, years later, inspite of finding out that contrary to popular beliefe, it is not cool at all, is simply because I don’t think I can do anything else.

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Prasad Rao : Interview with an Art Director

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A keen observer, a doer, and a humble guy at heart. His work reflects his ingenious ideas and lateral thinking. Even the smallest of jobs rolled out from his desk have a sense of sincerity and a sense of design. Apart from being his creative self he is also a team player and a leader, who supports his subordinates and teaches them every little bit he has learned over the years. There are very few people who have the gift and so willingly share it with others and Prasad is one of them.Working with him in a team is not only fun but also very gratifying. (I made my copy partner write this last part, haha!!)
Why are you into advertising?
I’ve always loved to think, read and ask questions in school. I used to discuss any subject, loved to argue and debate, loved to day dream, loved to observe the people around, loved to make stories, loved to draw and paint, so advertising was the closest where I could do all of this. So here I am today, doing what I wanted to and I am lucky to be also getting paid for it. So it’s been a great journey so far.
Although very few know that I wanted to be a lawyer when in school.

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