I simply love to doodle. Especially when I feel good about anything I did, saw, about something I ate, some music I heard or anything that pleased my senses.
By Kanika Gupta
I love to express it on my gateway paper or my diary, with my rotring pen or clutch pencil…my journey begins from this love of mine. Drawing and doodling is meditation for me. I graduated from Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art and specialised in illustration. My art school exposed me to people that came from big cities to some of the most unheard villages of India. This diversity helped me grow a lot as a person and as an artist.
JJ’s shaped me and my life to what it is today. The environment of an art college like mine is almost a rarity today. I learnt everything there (apart from the design lessons taught in my class!). I learnt sitting with my classmates outside the library over a cup of coffee or Energee, with my seniors jamming over a song or working on a project with friends. The vibes on this campus somehow just moulds you to an artistic shape.
Post my graduation I worked with a couple of design houses, where I learnt a lot about the design process – including pleasing clients, design as a business etc. But more than learning, I realised something…I realised I spent a lot of time and effort executing my designs in the form of a brochure or a direct mailer/invite etc for my client who would eventually forward it to his client database. So these guys would actually experience my design the most – it was ultimately for them. However, I noticed they barely even viewed my work, forget about experiencing it.
A brochure that I had once designed was posted to my house, and my mom simply happened to throw it in the bin. This affected me a lot and made me very, very, restless… I felt what I do makes no difference to anyone and my work has no life. I felt my designs and art deserve to live a little longer than this.
It was the time of Diwali, a time full of colours, lights and art in the form of rangolis, diyas and torans. I was very keen on creating something during this time of festivity and glitter. But again, I wanted to create something that would live post Diwali as well. So here it all began, I designed a set of playing cards, with a different concept and packaging. I love Indian mythology, and get inspired by it, so here I did a set of cards with an owl illustration who is the carrier of the Hindu Goddess of Wealth – Sri Lakshmi G.
The owl described the suit of the card it carried in the Hindi “Taash” terminology for eg. eet ki duggi, paan ka ikka, etc. The owl is draped with the 1 rupee coin and the ‘paanch so rupyaia’; the cards are supposed to bring the owner/player luck and wealth. The cards were also gilded with gold to bring about the sona-chandi effect and titled, “I get lucky I get Lakshmi.” I don’t know about my buyers but it certainly got me both!
It was my first attempt at my dream venture and it did bring a lot of good fortune. I collaborated with a few known stores in India (Attic, Sobo, 100 ft, etc.), and the response was super. This motivated me even more to go ahead and invest in my creations.
I took a step forward towards achieving my dream. I didn’t know exactly where I was going, I went ahead and tried executing all the orders that I was getting for my services. I got opportunities to design identities for brands, to work with spaces and lots of other exciting projects.
I have always been a huge fan of Meerabai, the poetess/saint and mad lover. Her madness and spiritual trance always inspires me. I once visited a temple in Rajashthan where she had expressed her love to her sweetheart through her poems on her musical instrument – the ektaara. It is from here that I stole the name of my company/studio – iktaara.
Iktaara, also means one star, and hence most of my illustrations end with a star and a dot. It’s like a trademark.
Currently I am based out of Bangalore and run my own graphic design firm – iktaara. My firm executes corporate identities/stationary, print media (brochures and mailers), websites, etc. Always keeping in mind solutions that will make our designs live longer. (For example a brochure that turns into a planner, an invite that is like a jigsaw puzzle).
We work on spaces, collaborating with architects and interior designers and create interactive walls, murals, customised blinds, carpets, wallpapers, etc. We also do personal identities, stationary, tags, wrapping papers, party/wedding invites and giveaways. Iktaara is also a brand of daily mundane products that have a different look to them…for eg. playing cards, diaries, bean bags, kites, etc.
We currently supply to 15 stores across India and eventually I dream to run iktaara boutique stores across the globe offering services, products, art and design. Seems farfetched but not unreachable…and I also want to make a movie or music video for Meera’s love.