Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Divide - The Ivory Tower

Kyoorius invited a few illustrators / artists / imagemakers from all over India to respond to this year's Kyoorius Designyatra's theme of "THE DIVIDE". We were asked to examine and illustrate the issues dividing the creative output of the industry like
The Digital Divide
The Cultural Divide
The Education Divide
The Communication vs Art Divide
The We vs Them Divide
And on and on and on

The illustration had to evolve from an angle at 17 degrees from the central axis.

I chose to illustrate The Divide within Education.

While doing my research, I came across two extraordinary articles on this subject.
The first one was this superb, thought provoking essay by David Orr titled What is Education For? where he examines the myths about ‘education’ and makes the reader think and think again about whether education in itself is good at all or whether we have created a monster which alienates us from that which matters most – our environment around us. The essay is eight pages but made a riveting read which left me shaken. I spent days thinking about what he had written and I kept returning to the essay again and again.

The second is a Guardian piece on Designer Thomas Heatherwick, his thoughts, his work and what makes him tick. He too encountered frustrations in the education system which he describes as ‘sliced up ghettos of thought’. His efforts to bring about integration of various disciplines in his own design, has led unsurprisingly to comparisons with Leonardo da Vinci.

I distilled my thoughts from the writings linked above into the paragraph below and then created my illustration around it:

Whether we are using our knowledge of design to build a nuclear reactor, a house or a chair, we use it to control our planet and its resources to feed our endless wants thereby creating an alarming and ever increasing divide between our natural environment and ourselves. How much longer can we afford to live in the ivory tower of our assumed knowledge? We have to rethink design education to redesign ourselves so that we can integrate and live well within our planet’s finite resources.

The challenge was to avoid the yin yang, black white, opposites ‘look’ for the theme which would have resulted in a cliché. I also wanted to integrate the 17 degree angle into the concept rather than have a sharp line delineating a ‘divide’within the picture (which would have yet again created a cliché). The result is the picture above – The foreboding Ivory Tower rising away from the landscape, its wall dividing itself from the rest of the environment. However there is ‘hope’ as a viewer pointed out, symbolized in the stars and the slit window.

ps: I have to add a very important point here - The organizers Kyoorius are paying each one of us contributors a very decent and dignified sum of money for our illustration contribution to The Divide theme. There is none of the 'oh, do it for free, think of the publicity it will fetch your work...etc etc' tired excuses.
It is so heartening to have my work valued and my time compensated for.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

June and a bit of July

I almost think I am repeating the madness of last year’s June post as I write this. Everything chugs along peacefully for the first 6 months of the year and then comes June whirling me away on a wild mad ride (mad as in exciting and adventurous) until I pass out. I have somewhat recovered enough to write this as life resumes its normal routines once more – back to blogging, back to gym, back to French class…
Here are just pictures of some of the more peaceful moments in June and a bit of beautiful happy July. I hope it stays that way. There aren’t too many details links or captions here. I have just made a post of pictures for you to enjoy. The mad stuff I think I’ll just keep to myself. Enjoy these instead.

Wild Cardamom


The only thing that gets me out of bed really early are Saturday sketching sessions 
with friends at Richard's park.

John sketches with us.

A boy and his dog. This is one of the most beautiful photographs I have ever taken.

From one of the countless visits to French Loaf @ R town.

A lovely colourful lunch @ Imli with A :)

My first Aam ka Panna (a drink made of raw mangoes)

My first Moleskin sketchbook! And it is a GIGANTIC one :)
So big, it does not fit into this photograph.

A beautiful tea party at the home of the Chai Goddess

A green and blue dessert

Thoughtful gifts, Seedpods and cards by Aa.

Vanilla bean cheesecake by Chef N

Henrik Drescher is to illustration what Naomi Campbell is to modelling. Imagine my surprise when I get a mail from him in my inbox asking me to contribute some pictures for his project Artist's Workspaces.

Now I must begin shelved projects once more...if I can find some space at my desk!
See you later :)