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A calligraphy artist who celebrates the unique design of the calligraphic scripts of India through his creations. His calligraphy is an amalgamation of traditional Indian perspective with a modern twist.

Achyut Palav weaves his stylized calligraphy skills into a message of preserving ancient Indian scripts. With the majority of his work in the Hindi language, specifically the Devnagri script he strives to preserve the Indian heritage through his work. Being inspired by the hustle and bustle of his surroundings, he was curious to observe painters and imbibe the skills in his typographical creations.

Through the art of calligraphy, he celebrates his roots by showcasing beautiful stylized calligraphy letters that dance on-page through exhibitions that enthral appreciation worldwide. He hopes to pass down his extensive knowledge base and skills by organising a variety of workshops and demonstrations to inspire people to take up calligraphy. Furthermore, with the establishment of the Achyut School of Calligraphy, he hopes to leave an indelible mark on the calligraphy community. To find out his creative journey, the Creative Gaga team interviewed the calligraphy maestro.

CG. Tell us about your childhood memories, education, and professional journey?

Achyut. I was born in Lalbag, Mumbai where I grew up in a bustling neighbourhood among friends and family. My hometown was filled with the tussle and bustle of sounds and movement and it intensified during festivals and sporting events. My first experience related to lettering and typography were the hours I spent looking at various signboard painters who painstakingly created everything from small notice boards to huge hoardings with great precision. These unnamed yet highly skilled painters were my first teachers.

Then in school, my teacher entrusted me with the responsibility of writing the daily quote or moral thought on the class blackboard. The realization that the meaning of the text can be conveyed more effectively by stylizing the letters led to the first lessons in the fundamentals of calligraphy, layout, and design. I specialized in Calligraphy and Typography from Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Arts. Here I was introduced to various known and lesser-known Indian scripts through studies and projects. So, I decided to use this specialization to promote and preserve the beauty and heritage of India through this work.

CG. What is the creative process behind selecting a script, style of calligraphy, and background for each project that you work on?

Achyut. The text to be used, its meaning, the purpose of the project, and how its final application is going to be are taken into consideration at the beginning of each project. Sometimes the first thoughts and spontaneity act as I use tools of guidance that aid him to create beautifully stylized typography.

CG. What is the reason behind the majority of your calligraphic expressions being in the Devanagari script?

Achyut. It is the script of his mother tongue (Marathi) as well as our official/national language – Hindi. Mainly, Devnagari like other Indian scripts has remarkable forms and each letter is an excellent specimen of design. This specialty is celebrated by me through my typographical creations.

CG. How does being appreciated by multiple reputed institutions and winning awards impact your work in terms of the pressure you feel to stay ahead of the curve?

Achyut. Each award, each recognition, and each gesture of appreciation increases my responsibility towards honing my craft. It makes my duty towards preserving the scripts of India of utmost importance. The accolades also inspire me to do better and be happy knowing that the work in Indian calligraphy has been acknowledged, admired, and appreciated.

CG. By showcasing your work worldwide, what impact do you hope to have on preserving ancient Indian scripts?

Achyut. By being a part of exhibitions, projects, and demonstrations, I was able to showcase the beauty and potential of Indian calligraphy across the globe. Which has helped generate awareness and promotion both nationally and internationally. I could see how well preserved and documented, scripts and art is outside the country and recognized the need to preserve them in our country. This led to promoting the calligraphy scripts and taking some steps in that direction.

CG. What tools and methods do you use most while creating a calligraphy project?

Achyut. Every tool has its unique presence in form of the result it generates and the method of its using it to write. It is difficult to use or stick to particular ones as choosing the tool and medium depends on the vision you have in mind. I am open-minded when it comes to tools- anything can be used to write beautiful stylized typography.

CG. Being a part of workshops and demonstrations since 1986, how has the interest in calligraphy evolved over the three decades of your career?

Achyut. If you wish any art to progress and elevate, you must promote its beauty, its various forms, and the potential of its applicability. Mainly, demonstrations provide an opportunity for great visual appeal and have been instrumental in generating curiosity as well as certain adulation towards calligraphy. I was able to impart the necessary training and introduce the fundamentals of calligraphy through meticulously developed courses in his workshops. We have come a long way as far as awareness regarding calligraphy is concerned. Its application has reached newer heights and can be seen in diverse fields. It has also helped in enhancing the aesthetic view of people and has been used as a successful therapeutic tool.

CG. How do you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to staying up to date with innovations in the field of calligraphy?

Achyut. I love to interact with different artists and the masters of my field. It is inspiring and a great learning experience to observe their art and I am ever curious to know the background and the creative process involved. It allows me to keep reviewing my work and add new dimensions to his calligraphic types and perceptions. The Internet and social media have been instrumental in bringing information about various tools, media, noteworthy projects, and adventurous thoughts, ideas in real-time. There is also always something new to learn from budding artists of the younger generation who he interacts to keep himself up-to-date.

CG. How do you overcome challenges that arise while creating a calligraphy project?

Achyut. On a personal level, the sheer determination to solve, find a solution, and not let anything stop me from bringing a client’s or hid vision to life. I often read and re-read a text to delve deep into the emotions it conveys to be a source of inspiration. The sounds, the rhythm when listened to or felt once more can help me look beyond the challenge and creative block. I alter the use of tools and media or sometimes take a step back from the process and revisit it after contemplation which does the trick. The pause is often as necessary as action.

CG. What does calligraphy mean to you?

Achyut. Calligraphy is as essential and as calming as taking a deep breath. Especially Indian scripts and work that goes in them is the mission of his life. I have grown both as an artist and as a human because of calligraphy.

CG. How important is it to perform charity work for foundations and what do you hope to achieve through your efforts?

Achyut. It is a need of time. We need to give back to the society we have received so much from. In our possible way, we must use our skills to help people as well as fulfill the responsibility we as artists have towards our art and preserving and taking our country’s culture and heritage forward. While exploring the various aspects and applications of calligraphy, I was able to help people take it up as a viable career, use it as a therapy to overcome personal setbacks as well as unleash their blocked creativity. The money raised by calligraphy initiatives has been used to help those in need.

CG. What do you hope to inspire in people through the Achyut Palav School of Calligraphy?

Achyut. Calligraphy is a dynamic art. One must learn its fundamentals well methodically and scientifically to be able to develop stability and a sense of proportion. APSC was established to create awareness and popularize this beautiful art form and make it easily available to the masses, artists, and nonartists alike. Furthermore, various courses and initiatives have helped create a platform for learners and practitioners of calligraphy to express through their art. Specifically, with APSC, I wish to bring the application potential of all known and lesser-known Indian scripts into the limelight. An increase in the number of people taking up this art will help develop Indian Calligraphy and document its progress and preserve its ancient heritage.

CG. Having international exposure and masters that supported and guided you through your journey, what difference has that made in your calligraphy expression?

Achyut. I am exposed to new ideas, new views in each interaction with masters. I get to evaluate his work. Senior calligraphers have introduced me to new styles, helped me recognize the inherent beauty of letterforms, and hone my skills in layout and design. It was their generous guidance that taught me to explore without assumptions and self-doubt. My ideas of scalability, the vision to look beyond the mundane shapes, and the pride of our scripts are in a way developed through their teachings and advice.

CG. Your calligraphy collections have been featured worldwide in galleries, what are you looking forward to creating next?

Achyut. At times I feel my journey has just begun. India has a glorious past and a brilliant future in the field of calligraphy. I envision museums, events, publications, archives, and preservation of the art in this field.

You can bask in the beautiful stylized typography of Achyut Palav’s creations on his website and follow him along on his creative endeavours on Instagram.

 

And for more exciting behind-the-scenes coverage of other artists & illustrators from around the world be sure to follow Creative Gaga on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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Sunoo Temple House is a private worship space that is designed to feel like a galaxy. Saket Sethi, the architect has explored forms, textures, and emotions in a very creative way for his client, who wanted to surprise her husband with a home and a place of worship surrounded by greenery.

The Sunoo Temple house lies on the outskirts of Mumbai, giving a magnificent look and feel for a private worship space. Saket Sethi, the architect designed the house to have an angled rooftop garden, amidst all the paddy fields in the surroundings. A view from here leaves us flabbergasted with an egg-shaped, galaxy-like, garden temple, coated with glittering mosaic.

This building was sculpted according to the likes of the very creative client, who arrived from Holland wanting to gift her husband a house surrounded by a thriving landscape and gardens, says the architect. This was designed in sync with her spiritual requirements and acted as a calm space to be able to meditate and feel the power within us.

The egg shape of the temple is surrounded by a circular pathway around it, indicating the circumambulation of the moons around the planet. The shape was also made to resemble the Shivling, a sacred form of Lord Shiva in the Hindu tradition. The architect remembers a conversation with the client describing her requirement of the space being in gratitude to the Universe. He then decided to make the facade complete with sparkling tiles, as a way of reflecting that idea. The inside gives the feeling of being inside a conch, which is heavily tiled and has spiraling interiors.

The context of the building has been cleverly matched with the lush greenery with the overflowing, yet serene rooftop garden. This attracts numerous birds, bees, and other pollinating insects helping the environment thrive. This rooftop garden also helps the house remain cooler during the summers and acts as a private garden to relax and unwind.

The house has a very open plan, with spacious living and dining, a kitchen, and four well-furnished bedrooms. There are large windows opening up from each space, giving a visual connection to the outside. The interiors have a subtle vintage decor, with collectibles from all around the world adorning the walls. This house is a very creative take on spiritual and mindful living.

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For Anirudh Agarwal, photography is an exploration of human nature, personality and self-expression. His road to being a commercial photographer was primarily due to his foresight to develop personal projects that allowed both him and the world to establish his style and vision.

Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Nitin Baranwal. Hair and Makeup - Myrra Jain
Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Origami. Hair and Makeup - Myrra Jain

For Calcutta-born Anirudh Agarwal, photography had always been his calling. Observing his father make images during his childhood and then inheriting a film SLR at sixteen, motivated young Anriudh to create his own work. When you go through his body of work, commissioned and personal, you are drawn in by a unique sense of movement in his compositions. Combined with abstract posing, wardrobe, props, and production, Anirudh showcases a need to constantly push the boundaries of concept and art. In some cases, he seems particularly interested in the time between posed moments to capture an honest portrayal in the frame.

Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Analog Files. Hair & Makeup - Myrra Jain, Headgear - Anirudh Agarwal

Drawing influence from photographers like William Eggleston, Nadav Kander, Cindy Sherman and Solve Sundsbo, and having worked with Farrokh Chothia, Swapan Parekh and Amit Ashar during his early years in Mumbai, Anirudh realised the importance of developing personal projects before diving headfirst into commercial work. After completing his studies at the Light & Life Academy in Ooty, he developed a series titled “Nysha and her Sunbeam Talbot” from 2011 to 2013.

Aisha Ahmed. Hair and Makeup - Morag Steyn, Styling - Aasia Abbas

The photographs follow a little girl and her kid-scale vintage toy car exploring various urban environments in Calcutta. The pictures are both an earnest depiction of a child understanding her world and an artistic juxtaposition in terms of scale, repetition, and “regular adult routines”, albeit scaled down. The photo series featured at the Angkor Photo Festival (Cambodia, 2013), an exhibition in Bombay with IKSA (2014), and an honourable mention at the PX3 (Paris, 2015).

Ashna Anand
Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Dr. Z from Oculus. Hair Stying - Shefali Shetty, Makeup - Myrra Jain

Anirudh excels at portrait photography and makes it a point to learn about the person he has in front of his camera. Using background research or simple conversation, he aims to keep the subject comfortable and uses that information to define a unique look. In fact, some of his more eccentric portraits were conceptually motivated by the subject, which shows how important and effective the dynamic is between the photographer and the model. When asked about his process, he said, “To put things in perspective, in a session of say 1 hour, I would spend 45 minutes conversing while the actual shooting lasts only 15 minutes at best.”

Manga. Styling - Nayanika Kapoor, Hair Stying - Shefali Shetty, Makeup - Myrra Jain
Pia Trivedi. Hair and Makeup - Morag Steyn

His more production heavy portraiture takes form in “conceptual portraits”. Anirudh states that as an artist, he has always been drawn to the beauty that lies in the unusual, and he endeavours to create pictures that have a “quirk”. While these shoots may be inspired from the state of the world to conversations with his collaborators, there is extensive planning involved with a team he has cultivated over the years before shooting.

Burden. Hair and Makeup - Riya Nagda, Styling - Anirudh Agarwal

The concepts range from mental health, cultural figures, Japanese graphic novels, isolation or even interesting set props like origami-esque curtains. They are brilliant explorations in colour and form as well.

Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Rabanne Jamsandekar. Hair and Makeup - Morag Steyn

While he notices a lack of experimental or abstract photography in the advertising, fashion or lifestyle sector, Anirudh is optimistic for its scope due to social media platforms and the requirement to target your audience versus a “one message fits all” campaign. While creators need to cater to the consumer requirement in these spaces, he thinks that new-age brands are developing unique communication strategies which accommodate uncharted conceptual waters. Some examples he quotes are Under25 (communication), Raw Mango (clothing), and Soak (fashion communication).

Irony. Hair and Makeup - By Anirudh Agarwal

Currently, he enjoys portraiture but is open to all genres of photography, and his next body of work is in collaboration with a graphic designer. This does not come as a surprise, as when you come across an image made by Anirudh Agarwal, you stay for the story.

Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Chandni Sareen. Makeup & Styling - Chandni Sareen
Photography by Anirudh Agarwal
Bon Bibi. Hair and Makeup - Morag Steyn, Styling - Kritika Malhotra

Published in Issue 52

The pandemic has brought many different challenges for everyone. But educating our young ones is among the top priority. The issue focused on how design education is still possible while most of us are locked in our homes. We also interacted with illustrators and photographers such as Jasjyot Singh Hans and Anirudh Agarwal, who seem to stand firm with their uniqueness in this time of chaos. Overall this issue serves food for thought with visually stunning creativity on a single platter.

 

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What do you do when design schools don’t seem to work for you? Tanmay Mandal, a Prague based illustrator and concept artist shows us how you can pursue your passion in the creative field, through perseverance and more.

Concept Art by Tanmay Mandal
The Ritual

Tanmay Mandal is a natural artist, however, his professional journey in the field of art began much later. Art being his natural calling, Tanmay finds great satisfaction and joy in his work. He is one of the fortunate few who find motivation and inspiration in the work itself.

Joker
Batman Fanart

Tanmay’s vivid art style is a display of hyper-realism, ethnic details, with dramatically created characters. Some of the themes that Tanmay enjoys creating are along the lines of Indian mythology, Egyptian goddesses, DC characters and more.

Concept Art by Tanmay Mandal
Isis The Godess
Concept Art by Tanmay Mandal

Being greatly influenced by the Mahabharat and Ramayana series in the ’90s, Tanmay’s art pieces showcase a recreation of magnanimous mythological characters. The discovery of Shilpa Shastra also played a role in the development of Tanmay’s distinct style.

Concept Art by Tanmay Mandal
The Enchanted Melody of Krishna's Flute
Hanumaan and Bharat

However, what makes Tanmay’s art stand out is the play of mysterious dark themes. This is possible only with a deep understanding of principles of art, light, colours, and the emotion of the character. Apart from the foundational knowledge of art, Tanmay believes that one must also understand the personality of the artwork, perhaps in the form of witnessing them in the surroundings or already being familiar with the subject. Thus staying connected to one’s roots, helps one recreate familiar scenarios in a new way. This also gives the artist their own unique identity. On the other hand, pushing one’s boundaries is just as important, allowing one’s imagination to venture without direction.

Concept Art by Tanmay Mandal
Nataraj
Durga

While Tanmay’s art pieces have a distinct taste of hyper-realism to them, he however never really predetermines his style. His art style is ever-evolving, always aiming towards quality and great standards. Thus in his professional work, it takes Tanmay about two to three weeks to complete an illustration. However, his personal work takes longer.

Crucified Zombie

Apart from Adobe Photoshop, Tanmay also relies on Procreate as a digital sketching tool.

The Goblin Thief

Tanmay’s experience through his years as a professional artist has taught him that perseverance is key, and the creative hunger should be kept alive.

You can experience Tanmay Mandal’s creations at his Artstation portfolio.

 

And for more exciting behind-the-scenes coverage of other artists & illustrators from around the world be sure to follow Creative Gaga on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Concept Art by Tanmay Mandal
Marine Mammals
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Like every mother, Laleh Mohmedi also found it difficult to get her child to eat healthy food. But when she turned her son Jacob’s spelt pancakes into a lion – he absolutely loved eating it! That is when Jacob’s Food Diaries was born! Since then, she creates cartoon-inspired food and become a professional food artist. Laleh collaborated with well-known companies including Disney, Nickelodeon, Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Jamie Oliver. Jacob’s Food Diaries has become a platform for parents and children for inspiration to make healthy food fun!

 

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Food
Witch in Snow White
Food
Carl Fredricksen
Food
AMY WINEHOUSE
Coco
Food
MELMAN from MADAGASCAR
Food
DUMBO
Food
TIGGER
Food
EDNA “E” MODE from THE INCREDIBLES 2
Donald Duck Smoothie
George Pig
CAPTIAN HOOK from PETER PAN
PATRICK from Spongebob
ALEX THE LION from MADAGASCAR
GLORIA from MADAGASCAR 3
FREDDY KRUEGER
JOHNNY from SING
Food
OWL AVOCADO CARVING
Food
CARL & ELLIE from UP
THE JOKER (Heath Ledger)
Food
MICKEY & FRIENDS
Food
TYRION LANNISTER from Games of Thrones
Food
PIKACHU from POKÉMON
GENIE (Will Smith) from ALADDIN
Mickey Mouse

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This century belongs to creativity and innovation. In everything we do. The way we live is a lot different from what it used to be earlier. Our engagement to shape our future has become intense and pervasive. Design is omnipresent. It is so naturally embedded all around us that sometimes we don’t even notice it. Be it in architecture, product, textile, fashion or graphic design. In the past few years however sensitivity towards design has taken a turn for the better. People today are more aware and are slowly but surely appreciating the impact good design can have in their lives.

Associate Creative Director and Partner of GCD Studio, Shahana Jain is going to specifically talk about graphic design as an industry and how it has built a standing for itself as a fast growing discipline. Communication design has seen exponential growth in recent years following the surge in consumerism and media. Branding, packaging and advertising are crucial to the success of a product or service in this fiercely competitive environment where presentation is as important as quality. More so with the explosion of digital media, graphic design has found a new area of expansion.

A new brand is created every day. With the new generation rearing to go, the startup ecosystem is fearlessly growing and new players are constantly aspiring to become big names. In such a scenario each one is trying to create their unique space and identity. Branding has therefore become an obvious starting point for those who want to make their presence felt.

For instance many design firms in India is constantly working with start-ups in the technology, FMCG and hospitality space to help them create a distinct identity that then interfaces with the world. Designers are contributing to the entire visual world around us. There is immense scope for designers in almost every industry.

More and more industrial companies are utilising the services of product designers as their inputs often lead to added values in terms of improved usability, lowered production costs and more appealing products. The design is, therefore, emerging as a much sought after career option. If you have a flair for design, the industry offers you wonderful opportunities to prove your mettle. We, as designers, therefore play a vital role in giving expression to an idea and have the power to influence the success of a brand.

With retail moving into self-service formats, the shelf appeal of packaging has become more important than ever. The market is flooded with products vying for consumer attention. Packaging design has become critical, as it is the initial point of purchase: the point of decision making for the buyer.

Attractive and relevant graphics, appropriate balance of colours and typography, as well as attention to forms and material make a significant difference in the aesthetic appeal of a product. Large corporates and businesses have realized the importance of packaging design and are continuously investing in revamping their product packaging so as to make it more in line with current trends and to counter competition.

Advertising has also evolved in last decade. With the advent of the digital media and people consuming information all the time, short, simple and impactful advertising has become the order of the day. You have to be instantly noticed to make an impression in a cluttered marketing environment.

The consumer should feel excited and compelled to ‘follow’ you, ‘like’ you or ‘tweet’ about you. Divided consumer attention can be channelized using the tools of good design. Given the changing fabric of advertising, more time and energy is being spent by big and small corporates on brand strategy including the use of effective marketing and social media tools to get the message out.

Digital, web and app development is an area there maximum expansion has happened. And it will only increase in the future. If you do not have web presence you’re not in the running. Meaningful content development, both visual and copy is essential to maintain brand presence. Smart UI and UX design including easy layout and navigation determines whether an app/website is user friendly and hence functionally viable. Therefore role of graphic design becomes critical in finding appropriate solutions for the task at hand.

From a global standpoint, design is no longer contained within the boundaries of any country, as the world wide net is really one holistic platform. It forces design to find some sort of universal language and designers to be aware of trends around the world. Every new brand is present on the net and the net is accessible to people in virtually every corner of the world.

While this was always the mantra for ‘global’ brands and MNCs – today even if you are a boutique coffee roaster in Coorg, you will have presence on the net and your brand and product will be accessible to people all over the world! So designers sitting in New Delhi or Beguserai, could be creating brands for a consumer in Tokyo or Chicago! And therefore designers need to be up to speed with developments and expectations not just in their local area or country but also on a global platform.

The design industry in India is adapting itself to deal with increasing demand for good, discerning design, both locally and globally. Design schools are equipping themselves with the best teaching tools and updated software knowledge to keep pace with industry requirements. Design companies on the other hand are beefing up their service portfolios and bandwidth by adding to their skillsets and expertise.

Freelancers have found new ground, as there is work for everybody. This is in turn is enabling the availability of talent to large and small organizations who are setting up their independent design departments to accommodate the gamut of work.

To sum up, the design industry is booming and is in a very promising space today. The future is getting brighter, every aspect of life demands a new approach, a new solution, a new way of looking at it.

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Illustrator, Siddhi Ranade, takes us through his thought process and the key aspects that goes into the tale-telling through his illustrations/art. He, thereby, goes on to illuminate the various facets, such as geometry, colour and the nature of the subject; how they contribute to his work, and also why design needs to be time relevant in constantly modifying times.

Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling
STILL A DEBT TO PAY.
Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling
HIDING THE OTHER HALF. COLOURS.

Every Tool has a Crucial Role.

Geometry, patterns, and symmetry are assets that enhance a certain piece of work. They add to the simplicity and alignment of the illustration. It enables one with various combinations during the execution, Siddhi feels. ‘Line’, though, is the dominating factor for him to get to that exact line that expresses the true meaning of the illustration/art. The ‘Colours’ are next which help him add a mood to it in a more dramatic way that further dominates the existence of the artwork produced.

THE WAIT – THE EXPRESSION. STROKES.

Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling
SURYATRI.

Colour Speaks More Than Words.

When Siddhi does portraits, he usually chooses to derive the colours from the life and experiences of his subjects. Through a brief exchange with the individual, he gets a tone of the colours from the way they talk and behave. “It’s all an entire palette performing in front of me,” he says, “All I have to do is just adjust it a little, and give justice to what I produce with respect to the subject. The colour gives individuality to the expression and the forms, narrating the best message of it.

THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY. DUO.
Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling