Airphish was founded by Smriti Choudhary for the love of nature, for the love of art and for the love of beautiful things. Her inspiration comes from everything aquatic & aerial and her obsession with detail. She loves to make birds swim and fish take flight. She uses pen on paper to create surreal visual experience that takes one on a journey through tranquil scenes of nature.
At Airphish, art travels from paper to beautiful handcrafted products that people can touch, hold and even eat on; art and products that become part of people’s homes. All designs start with hand-drawn illustrations that are hand-transferred on unique products, so each item is slightly different and has a lovely handmade feel.
Why are you an Illustrator?
I am an illustrator because drawing makes me happy. I have always loved to draw, ever since i was a little girl. Though when i was in school i wasn’t much aware about the career choices in this field. My world changed and things got clearer when I joined National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad in the year 2000. After one year of foundation at NID, i knew i wanted to explore more in the field of visual design and chose graphic design as my specialisation. Soon after my graduation i started working as a freelancer and worked on all kinds of graphic design projects. During the initial years my primary tool was my laptop. Even the illustrations i created were mostly digital. It wasn’t until 2010 when i was pregnant that i started to draw on paper again and reconnected with my love for nature through illustrations. After that i knew i wanted to concentrate more on creating art and since then.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes! NID, Ahmedabad.
You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
It’s difficult for me to answer this question because i feel that it is a continuous process of exploring, learning and growing. My style is constantly developing. although, the one thing that is distinct throughout is my fascination with black and white, whether it is: pen illustrations, linocuts ceramics or even embroidery.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
In my early years I didn’t have a particular role model, but if I had to give the credit to one person it would be my mother. She was a talented painter, who always had the drive to explore different creative fields, even whilst raising four daughters. Through her I was exposed to trying out different things myself.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
I have been freelancing since 2006 but not only as an illustrator, i am also a graphic designer. I have worked on many branding, print and web design projects in past 11 years, I decided to freelance because I like to create in my own time and space.
I am very selective about taking on advertising projects, as I want to focus more on my work as an artist. In contrast to my black & white artworks, the work I produce for advertising is mostly digitally produced and are quite bold and colourful, a good example is the work I have been producing for my husband, Nucleya.
Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I only make illustrations for my brand Airphish. I also work on digital illustrations for my freelance graphic design projects and those always come directly from the clients. I don’t work with any agencies or publishers.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
There has never been a time when i have not wanted to draw. In fact if i don’t get to draw for a few days, i get restless. The process of detailing my illustrations is like a therapy for me.
Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
Yes, i have! Funnily enough I had sketched out some ideas just a few months back. I am waiting to find the right craftsmen to develop them.
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
I am big fan of Hari & Deepti’s paper-cut art. Some other illustrators that i really like are Jasjyot Singh Hans, Hanisha Tirumalasetty, Svabhu Kohli.
Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
Teagan White, Marco Mazzoni, Jared Muralt.
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?
My advice to all creative people will be to do what you really love and enjoy. When you do something with your heart, there will always be positive results. I don’t measure my work’s success with financial gains but what difference it makes in my life and others’. Art is so subjective that as a career choice it can be very well paid or not at all. The point is to not give up if you feel strongly for this medium because the possibilities are endless.
Whats your dream project?
To grow a real forest and help protect wildlife.
Mac or PC?
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
What’s on your iPod?
Ibeyi, Bonobo, Novo Amor, Gotye
Whats your Twitter Handle?
my handle on all platforms is @airphish