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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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How artist/ illustrator Jasjyot Singh Hans tries to shift the public’s perception about beauty and fashion through his illustrations.

CG. Could you please tell me about your educational qualifications?

Jasjyot. I studied Animation Film Design at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and then did an MFA in Illustration Practice at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland.

CG. How and when did you come up with the idea of becoming an artist and fashion illustrator?

Jasjyot. I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid, I can’t seem to recall a time I wasn’t. At the age of seven, I wanted to become a ‘3D Cartoon Animator’ even though I had little idea about what it actually entailed.

LOVER 2 LOVER

Everyone in my family humoured my interest in art, but my parents supported me through every step. They enrolled me in summer classes at the National Gallery of Modern Art, where I would roam in the exhibition halls for hours! It was there that I saw paintings of Amrita Sher-Gil and the minimal graphic work of Jamini Roy that remain my art-loves and influences even today. I was always interested in fashion and accessorising my characters (usually women), which adorned the back of all my notebooks. When my mum used to flip through them, she saw tonnes of illustrations of women in bikinis. She’d say, ‘wow they have amazing legs!’ At that time I knew I wanted to incorporate my interest in fashion into my work as an illustrator/ artist.

CG. Why did you choose to become an illustrator?

Jasjyot. After working on a small film project at NID, I realised that though I loved telling stories and animation, it probably wasn’t for me, especially in a full-time capacity. The idea of working on a variety of shorter projects involving different art styles, subjects and clients seemed invigorating to me and illustration felt like the right path.

CG. What does your daily routine look like?

Jasjyot. I wish my routine was more idealistic, sadly this will have to suffice. At the least, I hope it inspires people to do better! I sleep late, so I wake up late. I run to my Moka pot and pour myself some coffee before I can do/ recognise/ register anything. I usually take about an hour to calibrate and look through a list of continuing projects that I need to make progress on. I put on some music and make my way to the shower, think of what I want to eat for lunch, then watch a little something while I eat. Then I try to catch up on my emails and work for about 4 to 5 hours. After a short walk around the neighbourhood in the evening, I plan dinner and work a bit more depending on deadlines/ work schedule and work into the night. Some nights (read: most nights) are definitely spent binging TV series and snacking at odd hours.

Illustrations by Jasjyot Singh Hans
V R FAMILY. Tribute to queers in quarantine; supporting, listening and taking care of each other as well as their beloved breathing plant friends!

CG. What were the challenges you faced for reaching where you are today?

Jasjyot. I think anyone starting out in this industry face similar challenges: getting a foot in the door, managing work for finance vs passion, and most of all, getting to a place in your practice where both of them align as closely as they can. When I moved to the United States, it was pretty stressful to find work as a freelancer right after graduation. So in a way, I had to start from scratch, but in hindsight, I spent too long trying to create work that felt current. I got the best advice from the fantastic Marcos Chin to just create work around subjects that I like and the projects will follow.

Illustrations by Jasjyot Singh Hans
Stretching and dressing up at home

It sounds wild when bills need to be paid, but it worked out. I still struggle with getting work regularly, but that’s the life I chose as a freelance illustrator!

CG. What is the process or style that you follow to make an illustration?

Jasjyot. It’s pretty basic, read and re-read the brief, write down keywords of ideas that need to be conveyed and scribble out visual metaphors/ compositions that convey it successfully. The next step is to make a series of roughs, refine all areas that I find difficult in this stage, ink, colour, send! For my personal work, this process is a lot more easy and free, I usually think of a mood or a body posture or an article of clothing and centre everything around that.

Illustrations by Jasjyot Singh Hans
Stretch

CG. Who or what is your muse?

Jasjyot. The women I’ve known in my life are my muse. They represent everything I lack as a person and hence become my source of power through what I illustrate.

CG. What role have online platforms and social media played in your work?

Jasjyot. In the “simpler days”, I started putting work out on Blogspot and built a small community of people there. When Instagram blew up, I was consistent in putting my work out and that really helped my work get more attention and recognition. I was able to network with people in different places, which felt great. But over time, social media has kind of morphed into something a lot more insidious and we all walked right into its trap. People starting out in the industry measure success by people’s social media following and connect it to their self-worth which can be dangerous. So while I obviously still continue to put my work out pretty regularly, I feel less pressure putting in a certain kind of work or getting attention from a group of people.

NIGHTMARE XXVII

CG. While teaching in Baltimore are you able to fulfil your dreams?

Jasjyot. We’re constantly in the process of chasing the dangling (imaginary) carrot! I try to juggle a lot of different things like fashion, editorial, publishing, comics, zine-making, printmaking, gallery work and murals within my practice as an illustrator. I think teaching is just an extension of my practice.

CG. What according to you is your best creation?

Jasjyot. I am too hard on myself to think anything is my best creation. It’s important to not be complacent!

CG. With the declining freedom of speech, freedom of sexuality and religious tolerance across the world, as an artist does it affect your work?

Jasjyot. I think it makes me go harder on things that I want to advocate for within and outside my illustrations, of course, that’s an idealistic answer. I understand people don’t always feel safe putting themselves out there in a capacity to attract bigoted views on their work and sometimes even putting their lives at risk. But this is the time for people to create more work around identities under threat and I do strive to put myself out there more honestly and Fearlessly.

NIGHTMARE XXIV

CG. Does the country you live in influence your work?

Jasjyot. I think one’s surroundings/ circumstance always finds a way into the work, whether it is a reaction that is a direct inspiration or escapist.

CG. Do your fashion clients request adjustments to the drawings to project what their ideal woman is like? If yes, do you make those changes or do you explain Yourself?

Jasjyot. It used to happen all the time, which was obviously frustrating. But of late, I think everyone that has reached out trusts that I understand their brand and will create something that best showcases their product.

CG. As an artist, how easy or difficult is it to channel your personal experience or emotions in your work?

Jasjyot. It is difficult, taxing and at times draining too, but I think that’s what makes the work more powerful, as it comes from a true place with the human connection.

CG. As an artist, how easy or difficult is it to channel your personal experience or emotions in your work?

Jasjyot. It is difficult, taxing and at times draining too, but I think that’s what makes the work more powerful, as it comes from a true place with the human connection.

CG. What is the motto behind starting the #BadaBehtarHai hashtag on Instagram?

Jasjyot. I started it just as a cheeky thing. Usually, the phrase is used in the context of masculinity and within it, Eg: the phallus. So I thought it would be cool to subvert from that and shift the conversation to a more inclusive, body-positive and femme space.

CG. Given your passion for fashion illustration, which collection were you recently drawn to and why?

Jasjyot. The Area SS2021 Couture collection was everything my senses (and the dated idea of couture) needed.

CG. Do you think the conversation around body image, sexuality and self-love are Progressing?

Jasjyot. Yes, they are, but bigger bodies aren’t nearly as normalised as they ought to be by now. In the past, characters with bigger bodies were one-dimensional and were used purely as comic relief. Even now, bigger characters are written into the media in a tokenistic way, never in a way that makes fatness seem like… just a thing. That’s probably why illustrations around these ideas from independent artists are important, and I’m happy to continue being part of this conversation.

CG. Most of your sketches are of women and you have very few sketches of men. Is there a particular reason?

Jasjyot. As gay boys, we often tend to bond with the experience of women around us because what is advertised as the male experience feels inadequate and toxic. This is why we are fascinated by women because they get to dress up in fantastical clothing and be unabashedly feminine: all things we wish we can someday do freely.

CG. What is one thing that you really look forward to doing someday in your career?

Jasjyot. Work on something big with Miuccia Prada.

Illustrations by Jasjyot Singh Hans
NIGHTMARE XIV

CG. What are you working on next?

Jasjyot. I’m currently working on writing for my graphic memoir with Levine Querido, which has been quite exciting and challenging. I’m also working on some fun character illustrations for a wallpaper design which will be installed at the Taj St. James Court, London. I’m also teaching a senior class at Towson University in Baltimore.

Apart from that, I’m continuing my ongoing series: #ManSmutMonday and NIGHTMARE on social media, and planning on working on some t-shirt designs this year!

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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CURRENT ISSUE

 

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For the majority of good design, less is, in fact, more. Rahul Bhogal and his team at Nothing Design Studio aim to declutter and simplify brand identities and strategies to make a memorable experience for their user bases.

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Making Waves Swim School, Facility Design
Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Making Waves Swim School, Signages

Rahul Bhogal is a ‘meticulous maker of well-crafted brand identities’, and it definitely shows. He has clocked over ten years as a graphic designer and art director, specialising in brand identity and digital design. Rahul runs an independent design studio called ‘Nothing’, which at first glance, may seem an interesting title choice for a visual-heavy enterprise. Initially starting as a joke inspired by a Seinfeld episode (“The Pitch”), he found that the name resonated with his spiritual journey and desire to explore our world. As a bonus, he tells us it’s a great conversation starter at the very least.

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Spline Group
Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Spline Group
Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Spline Group, Outdoor signage

When asked about his design philosophy, Rahul quotes Sadhguru, “Forget philosophies, embrace reality.” He finds philosophies to be creatively crippling, closed off and restrictive, choosing instead to follow a practice to do what he loves while being passionately detached from the work he produces. Rahul expands the thought to keep curiosity alive and design for delight, empathy, coherence, and trust.

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Spline Group, Website
Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Spline Group, Website.

Rahul’s experience in the industry has revealed that most brands struggle with establishing a solid connection with an audience due to being unclear about their user base. Catering to vague demographics and personas affects their ability to provide a memorable experience or produce creative methods of communication impacting their overall brand identity.

Canary Dental, Identity and signage.
Canary Dental, Identity and signage.

He tackles this by gaining clarity on the problem his clients are trying to solve and determining the metrics used to measure success. Working within these parameters allows him to reduce the solution (design or strategy) to its core for the most impact. Echoing Dieter Rams, Rahul believes that “simplicity is the key to excellence” and believes there is elegance and sophistication to the reductive design.

Art as Therapy, Brand Collateral
Art as Therapy, Brand Collateral

An excellent example of this mentality is the brand identity redesign for the Spline Group. Exploring the case study, you can see how Rahul directs the vision towards stripping away all the bells and whistles of the old identity, eventually leaving a customised wordmark and a striking colour palette that makes its presence felt. For a brand in the engineering space, this modern overhaul inspires a modern, professional, and dependable identity that cuts to the chase. The website design had an honourable mention on Awwwards, and AIGA featured the identity in its members’ gallery.

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Game6 Sports Academy, Identity, court design, and team jersey.

“I’m interested in creating work that is inspired by culture and community” – a trait that we see with his self-initiated creative projects inspired by Sikh culture. On the one hand, the work features a gorgeous painting of Guru Nanak in a meditative state and a playful “Sikher than your average” t-shirt design on the other.

Brand Identities by Rahul Bhogal
Source of Nature, Branding and packaging.

We asked Rahul about his experience navigating the pandemic and if he had any new insights about the future of the design market. He found it challenging due to a lack of human interaction and collaborative environments. Still, as the world is headed towards digital experiences, he has taken the opportunity to understand human behaviour and emotions within these constraints.

Bramptonist, Swag with messaging

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.

 

Order Your Copy!
CURRENT ISSUE

 

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Roshan Gawand, a freelance illustrator and design owner at Gangsta Paradise Tattoo, from getting inspired from his daily Pinterest feed to moving his flashbacks to his canvas, shares his process of creating art and how he succeeded in this industry.

Collecting guava from guava garden

CG. Could you tell us about yourself, how you got into art and illustration, and your tattoo studio Gangsta Paradise?

Roshan. I am an Illustrator based in Navi Mumbai. I have done my Graduation Studies from L. S. Raheja School of Art as a commercial artist. I spent most of my childhood in a village and lived in an ordinary family. I feel the painting does not only colour on canvas, it is an expression of the artist. I keep expressing my thoughts through different artworks. I love to explore different colour schemes. As an artist, I never stop making myself better from all angles. My journey as a tattoo artist started during my college days. I used to earn money for myself by working as a freelance tattoo artist. This is how I earned my very first salary. Step by step I developed my skills and here I am today owning the Gangsta Paradise Tattoo and Art Studio located in Panvel.

Illustration by Roshan Gawand
Indian village girl and her Matka

CG. Could you describe your primary illustration style? Which mediums do you like to work with?

Roshan. I really like to work on Procreate. It gives me the ability to quickly bring my thoughts to life. I also like to create art with watercolours, it takes me back to where I started my art journey.

Illustration by Roshan Gawand
Partner, this artwork showcases the commitment and trust between a camel and his keeper.

CG. Some of your work depicts themes of nature and rural culture. What motivates you to illustrate village life?

Roshan. I was born and brought up in the village only. Even now I live like an hour away from my hometown, so I have a warm spot in my heart for my native place. That’s where all of my motivation
comes from.

Illustration by Roshan Gawand
Nothing is better than a cow grazing in a large open field.

CG. The series has a very unique use of colour – cooler colour temperature, vibrant, and abstract in some uses. Could you give us some insight into your approach?

Roshan. To me, colours are like a new way of living life, so I try to incorporate that happiness, joy and new way of life in my paintings. Human eyes are easily drawn to bright and vibrant colours, so I try that aspect in my artworks. People have started accepting these colour patterns nowadays.

Lotus, a Lotus flower, rooted in mud, surrounded by water and somehow finds a way to bloom

CG. Tell us about your process when creating illustrations. How do you approach concept development?

Roshan. Whenever I see something interesting, I always try to click a picture and keep it on my phone. Most of my inspirations come from the actual scenes and experiences around me. For some ideas, I try to search for some inspirations on Pinterest as well. It gives me the ability to play around with the ideas that I carry in my mind.

Illustration by Roshan Gawand
A girl who he saw everyday on his way to school, with two sheep in her hands.

CG. Where do you draw inspiration from when creating work with no source material?

Roshan. So whenever I do not have source material I do stick to my inner ideas and memories that I carry from time to native experiences. I start with a simple scribble over the blank page and then just continue drawing instinctively as my thought process allows me to move my hand.

Illustration by Roshan Gawand
Mirror - Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you”

CG. How do you approach work for your tattoo studio? Do you create only custom work?

Roshan. I would say most of my tattoos are custom work as per the client’s requirements. And the rest of the tattoos are from references that my clients bring along with them.

The soul of India lives in its villages. Reminiscing old times, when farmers and their families spent time milking the cows, bonding with them

CG. What is your opinion about the appeal of tattoos in general?

Roshan. People are more drawn to tattoos nowadays. They like to get tattoos as a mark of special memories from their life. This COVID situation has impacted the footfalls in the studio but I am sure that once everything goes back to normal, more people will start coming to the tattoo studios.

CG. Are there any other areas where you would like to apply your creative skills?

Roshan. I am into wall arts, watercolour paintings and dot work tattoos and I have done a couple of wall painting projects.

Indian Summer Rituals. The lady sitting in this artwork is shown cutting chillies

CG. We’ve discovered a way to animate tattoos on people and a person wants you to tattoo them in your signature art style. What do you develop?

Roshan. I would really love to tattoo my signature style on a person. I can already think of many ways I can make it look like a masterpiece. Just tell me when and where!

Illustration by Roshan Gawand
Wheel of life, taking inspiration from childhood experiences, when an outlander would ask for a lift from native villager

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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CURRENT ISSUE

 

Monica Alletto
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Monica Alletto is a renowned illustrator from Italy. Having graduated in 2016, Alletto has collaborated with numerous established clients such as Bibite Polara S.R.L, Eden Viaggi and Marò. Alletto is currently working on several projects that range from publishing to graphics for website & social media while also partnering with various communication agencies in Italy and abroad.


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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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Nili Bhavsar
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Having graduated from UAL Central Saint Martins in MA Character Animation, Nili Bhavsar has obtained immense experience as an illustrator.


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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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Nayna Yadav
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Having masters in 2018 from IDC IIT Bombay, Nayna has collaborated with numerous established studios and agencies. Nayna Yadav is currently working as a Creative Director at Bare Anatomy.


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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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