A traffic filled 7 pm on October 25th, 2017 drew in the crowd at Above the Habitat to experience the work of 4 individual creators - Harshvardhan Kadam, Zameer Barsai, Rhea Gupte and Aniruddh Mehta.
The four speakers stirred the audience with their personal journeys and perceptions about Design and Art. Here’s a quick low-down on what went on that evening.
Of Stories and Spaces that aren’t meant for claiming - Harshvardhan Kadam #
An artist equipped with the vantage point of mythology and contemporary style in equal measure, Harshvardhan travels across the country shaping thought and life with his large-scale artworks in public spaces. The artworks function as a constant, living, breathing feedback loop on what works and what doesn’t for him. “Mythology without religion is so full of stories that it is never ending steroids for me”, he says while describing the humour, learnings and beauty of mythology as an inspiration. He sees every blank wall as a calling, and works together with the artist community and the government to make real these visions. Be it the Bangalore Metro Station, walls of a Goan village or the biggest mural in India- on the walls of Yerwada jail in Pune- he uses his art as a conduit for storytelling and thought-provocation, beyond what hoardings and capitalism feeds us. His process starts with a concept that he sketches on paper to get a sense of the idea laid out, but after that he goes straight to painting it directly on the wall, no grids! His WIP for Taxi Fabric is his take on the concept of time during travel, with the metaphor of a tortoise and a time machine, to bring alive the feeling of “not moving” even while travelling. His pipeline of projects also includes Kama, a collaboration with Jaya Mishra (a graphic novel depiction of the Kamasutra), due for publication. He credits his perception and credibility to his parents, who introduced the world of comics and graphics to him. His style is constantly evolving, as he believes following just one would leave one redundant.
You can find more of his work here.
Distorting time, Souping it up - Zameer Basrai #
Soupy Spaces, named in honour of the Munchow soup at Sahibaan restaurant in Mumbai (every bite tastes of everything), is a thought-framework for design, half-abstract, half-real, and said to be everything right with the world. Zameer took the audience on a journey that challenged all things familiar with regards to time, process, innovation, design and agility in projects with a ‘graph’ (mindset + design tool rather) that Ayaz and him developed at the Busride design studio. Challenging as it is to summarize, it functions on the principle of leveraging multiple disciplines, finding emerging patterns, being deterritorialized (open and connected) and being a flexible ideology, complemented with diagrams on a page. A close reference Zameer described, being the Unbox Festival. An upcoming manifestation of this will be seen at Toit, that is to open in the month of November in Mumbai; designed as per topography, for functionality and aesthetics and to curate collective energies in the design of the space as intended. He made-real the abstraction and ideology with examples of Ayaz’s home, the Foley House and objects and spaces that defy conventionality, to inspire behaviours. They view spaces as “living amongst objects and not between walls”, a ideology that seeps through in the objects designed to inform behaviour and to be multi-purpose themselves.
You can find more of their work here.
The Pursuit of Everything - Rhea Gupte #
A photographer, stylist, , model, visual artist and writer, Rhea combines her skills with the commitment to seeing through her concept to fulfillment by taking ownership of every step and learning whatever she had to do be able to do so. “I started my journey with a basic DSLR and a buttload of self-doubt”, she tells an audience so keen to hear about the mystery woman behind and in-front of the camera lens that captivates anyone who comes across a campaign by Rhea. With a love for shooting clouds, the beach, sustainable fashion, negative space, nature and contrast, with every image she tells a story. She channelizes her creative works to cut through the noise of advertising and daily consumed consumerism with the hope to make something that sticks in the minds of people, if only for a few seconds. She wants brands to treat their users like they’re intelligent, conscious and attentive individuals with the capacity to perceive beyond the cookie-cutter, standard forms of media. She doesn’t do mood boards or references for her clients, but instead ideates on paper and weighs heavily on the colour palette and concept to bring alive any picture. With Design Fabric’s ‘Image Issue’, when she was asked to reimagine herself as a man in the future, she said “I guess I reimagined myself as a flower instead”, for her belief in challenging norms allows her to imagine she’d be much like herself in that hypothetical future too.
You can find more of her work here.
The Boy from the Hood - Aniruddh Mehta #
A self-taught illustrator that believes he “can’t draw”, Aniruddh uses bold minimalism, disruptive patterns and intricate geometry across his creative works. He believes his lack of conventional artistic skill allowed him to develop his own style. What began as creating shapes with joining dots and lines on softwares, has transformed over the years into a unique amalgamation of multi-media works. Every project that Aniruddh started, from his years as a student till today have been about taking a brief and making it his own, using the freedom to figuring of the “how” after the “what”. His artworks have made their way to Ghost Notes, Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, audiovisual collaborations with Spryk and a London based band, Zoax, amongst others. He loves playing with optical illusions that can trick the human mind, and pushes his own limit with hours of staring at his screen, while he tinkers with multiple mediums and softwares to create literally mind-bending work!
You can find more of his work here.
The evening filled with creative and intellectual stimulation in equal measure concluded over beers and conversation, with a promise from Design Fabric to host the Design Fabric Festival in 2018.
Meanwhile, stay tuned for WIP session 4 in Mumbai again, to be held on 21st November, 2017.