Follow me on @phoenixinindia

Hello there!

Like many of you know, I am an illustrator and a designer. I design under the banner of The Phoenix Company (www.thephoenixcompany.in). I make doodles, design graphic tees, ethnic jackets, mugs and other stationery. We also have handmade jewellery and stoles. Our stuff is unique, niche and known to win hearts. We ship across India!

So, if you are looking to get some quirky stuff into your life, then head over to our site!

Also, all you lovely people out there can follow my regular updates on my instagram page – @phoenixinindia 🙂 You can also find the link on my home page.

Here’s a tiny glimpse of the account!

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Follow @phoenixinindia on instagram and visit http://www.thephoenixcompany.in for the products 🙂

More updates from me on our products and the stuff we make coming up soon! Until then, spread the word and shop away!

OUR SITE IS UP!

It gives me great pleasure in telling all of you that my company’s website is finally up. You can now show online with ease and choose from a variety of products. My doodles are available as products too. There are beautiful ikkat jackets, traditionally-made Ajrakh stoles and a lot more in the store.

It will be great if you guys can take a look and pick something that you like!

Here is the link:

www.thephoenixcompany.in

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Order your 2017 calendars!


Hello there! As most of you know, I am an illustrator and a writer/journo. I design for The Phoenix Company (www.facebook.com/The.Phoenix.Company.India). We have a lot lined up for this year. A website for starters and unique, aesthetic products. 

We begin 2017 with a bang! A one-of-a-kind calendar awaits you. It’s a a perfect combination of beautiful photographs, minimalist doodles (that don’t take away from the aura of the pictures) and some nuggets of wisdom that’ll keep you going through the year. 

In fact, it’s a challenge from us to you to spot the doodle as it is carefully blended into the photograph for every month. Can you? 😀

Simple. Classy. And unique. This table-top calendar is a must-have. 

Pre-orders now open. Sorry for the mild delay. Hope you had a great start to the year!

TO ORDER, comment below or inbox us. 🙂

CARNATIC MUSIC IN ITS RAWEST FORM

Chennai: Every day the world is taking a step towards ‘going natural’. From organic food to handwoven sarees, people are going back to the basics as they rediscover nature and now, music is no longer an exception to it. ‘Orisai’, an initiative of the No’Mad Projekt, focuses on preserving the original, raw form of Carnatic music by eliminating digital processing. It was launched on Sunday at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan with an enthralling performance by renowned musician T M Krishna.

“The concept of a carnatic concert production is seldom heard of. I wanted to give the listener a memorable experience of a performance by capturing the various elements of an ensemble in equal parts,” says mridangam artist Praveen Sparsh, founder, The No’Mad Projekt.

The No’Mad project aims to record music in its raw, organic form by eliminating processing. It also seeks to capture diverse creative mediums in their purest form.

The beauty of a song is often lost after it passes through countless processors. The high notes of the vocalist may drown the subtle tunes of the Chitraveena and the audience may skip out on a note or two of the ganjira. And the organic sound of the ensemble becomes history. But Orisai tries to bring back the natural touch to the musical experience.

These performances employ condenser microphones instead of the typical dynamic ones. They are placed at an angle, away from the source, such that they pick up the voice of the artist and sound of the instrument at the same time. Sound flows into a console only to be amplified and not processed.

“Orisai allowed me to hear true, real sound and respond to the music that is situated within that. In a normal miked concert, your voice escapes into the microphone and returns to you through monitors as an amplified and in a sense artificially designed sound,” says T M Krishna. “Therefore, you are not really hearing your voice from inside. In Orisai, the voice was as close to what I feel and hear naturally.”

With stage monitors out of the picture, dynamism is at its peak. Fast beats of the mridangam respond to the hollow sounds from the ghatam and the vocalist beautifully chips in to make it a melodious rendition.

“The performing artists are extremely sensitive to the dynamics in the ensemble. And they wonderfully communicate with each other on stage through their music,” says Praveen.

Elegant, simple aesthetics also form an integral part of this idea. The artistic makeover of the stage by art director Susha led to flashy flex banners being replaced with the Orisai logo cut out from plywood. And a dedicated light jockey ensured pleasant lighting.

In the long run, the initiative hopes to make musical communities rethink the nature of music. “Orisai will change the way the audience and organisers understand amplification. Today we have a situation where the microphones, speakers and monitors define music. Orisai inverts that, application is designed according to the nature of the musical form and its aesthetics. This is not audience or artist driven, it is music driven,” says T M Krishna.

[An edited version of this article was published in Times of India, Chennai.]

CAPTURING THE UNCONVENTIONAL

Chennai: A pleasant surprise awaits passengers frequenting the Thiruvanmiyur MRTS, whose drab and dusty walls have become more engaging than their luminous phones. A splash of colour and a slice of city life – the large captivating photographs stuck on the pink walls are quick to draw your attention. Captured by women from the Down Syndrome Federation of India and a group of young girls from the NalandaWay Foundation, these pictures are on display along the platform of the station until March 13 as part of the Chennai Photo Biennale.

 A digital camera and a two-day workshop was all it took to get the women excited about photography. “I love photography. I like taking pictures of colourful things like swings, slides and flowers,” says Babli Ramachandran. Photography may be seen as a challenge to this 35-year-old with Down Syndrome and partial vision but her beautiful pictures of nature tell a different story.

Babli is one among 14 others who attended the introductory sessions conducted by Lensational, an organisation dedicated to empowering marginalised women in developing countries through photography. “The idea is to challenge stereotypes through photography and transform lives. These girls have a strong artistic acumen as they shot photos in unconventional spaces like slums and garbage dumps,” says Bonnie Chin, founder, Lensational.

The striking images of red pomegranates, yellow flowers, colourful plastic pots, rusty hand pumps and happy locals catch your eye while waiting for the train. Shot at Nageswara Rao Park, Kapaleeswarar Temple, the slums in Perambur and areas near the Kodungaiyur dump yard, these pictures reveal untold stories of the city through the lens of these amateurs.

“When we went to shoot near Kodungaiyur, we noticed that there is so much garbage and people were living around it. We felt that if we shared our pictures of the place, the residents may get help,” says V Dhanalakshmi, a class 7 student from NalandaWay art lab. Similarly, 12-year-old Kushbu Solanki captured stagnant, dirty water around a hand pump covered in fungus to convey the living conditions of slum dwellers.

The programme was a unique experience for most girls as it was the first time they interacted with the local community. “They had no qualms about going to a dirty place. In fact, it triggered a lot of questions and they came up with great ideas for pictures,” says Monisha V, associate for projects, NalandaWay Foundation.

Photography served as a platform for expression and the exercise has been empowering. “The women have become more outgoing and confident after this,” says Dr Rekha Ramachandran, president, Down Syndrome Association of Tamil Nadu.

Pumped with energy, they fearlessly roamed the streets capturing what they liked. “We noticed that these girls weren’t hesitant to put cameras before faces and click pictures. We would think twice but they were thrilled to engage with the public,” says photographer Shuchi Kapoor, who conducted the workshops with French photographer Yannick Cormier.

BY HAND FROM THE HEART MAKERS MARKET

Chennai: Heart-shaped balloons and red roses have become clichéd expressions of love. This February turn to ancient poetry to express your affection. The Madras Mag is launching Kurunthokai by S Ramachandran – a collection of poems from the 2000-year-old Sangam literature on love, loss and separation at the Makers Market at Lalit Kala Akademi on Friday. The book with handmade illustrations is one among many handcrafted products that will be available at the fair. Continue reading

WHEN CULTURES BLEND ON CANVAS

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Chennai: Manipuri artist Golmei Gandumpu briefly stares at his canvas before dipping his brush into a blob of blue and applying measured strokes to a dancer’s costume. But the somber tones of blue and white are in stark contrast to the vibrant attire of a dancer belonging to the ancient Kabui tribe of northeast India. The painting seeks to reflect the story of a community that is losing its culture because of ethnic tension.

“The green background alludes to hilly areas of Manipur and the pale blue figures depict a fading community,” says Gandumpu, who is one among 24 artists participating in an interactive workshop organized by the Lalit Kala Akademi.

Titled ‘Ethnic Mindscapes – II’, the programme has 12 artists from the northeast exchange ideas on painting styles and techniques with participants from different parts like Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. During the workshop, artists are encouraged to experiment with their paintings by incorporating or trying new techniques that they observe.

“Previously the programme also included experimental art and installations. But this year, the focus is only on paintings,” says Rm Palaniappan, regional secretary, Lalit Kala Akademi.

The vast cultural diversity is apparent in the themes and colours used to create the art work. Realism is a recurrent theme in many paintings this year, with only a few painters taking to surrealist and abstract art.

From a small house at Kumbakonam to scenes from the Lai Haroba festival, most paintings mirror the sights and sounds of the artist’s surroundings. And the story behind every painted canvas reveals a hidden individuality. “Painters usually reproduce still-life in their art work. But since dance is an essential part of my culture, I have tried to capture movement rather than static postures,” explains Gandumpu.

Also, while observing the larger picture, one tends to miss the subtle differences in technique and style. “I realised that northeast artists use the same medium differently. In watercolour paintings, we use a brush to spread colour on the canvas. But they let the paint drip, giving the image an accidental effect which is quite interesting,” says senior artist Manohar Natarajan from Kumbakonam.

On the other hand, artists from Tripura, Assam and Manipur are drawn to the detailing seen in south Indian paintings. “Their attention to detail is fascinating as it is precise and intricate,” says Tripuri-based symbolist artist Ujjayani Nandi, whose paintings stand-out as they depict dream imagery.

There is also a stark contrast in the colour tones used. While thick coats of fiery reds, bright yellows and rosy pinks are seen in the realist northeast pieces, sober greens and pale blues characterise the south Indian ones.

“It’s very interesting. The northeast people are very soft-spoken but their art work has bright, loud colours. We, in fact, are quite outspoken but our artworks have subtle shades,” says Mumbai-based artist Shilpa Pandit, whose oil painting will include letters from Buddhist scriptures.

A short trip around the city has also inspired many artists to capture the most striking aspects of their journey like the houses at Cholamandalam Village and the fisherwomen at Marina.

The public can meet and interact with the artists at the centre until January 31. The completed art works will be added to the Akademi’s archives. They will be exhibited in the third week of March.