Urban art is gaining a whole new patronage across the country with options ranging from wall decal (wall stickers) to Budu dolls inspired from Indian mythology, finding their way into homes and office spaces. Soma Das does a wall-to-ceiling check of the main players in this emergent market
Be prepared for a graphic art invasion into your home and boardroom as graphic art seems to be lending itself to customisation by a host of design companies across the country. It’s possible now to add some funk and energy to your walls or have such art occupy pride of place on your table, shelves, lamps and even cushion covers — with minimum effort.
A wall decal or a wall sticker inspired by the music channel VH1, by Pink Elephink
Giant Walls: Dolls on your wall
Mumbai-based Giant Walls is a space design company that devises innovative products as well as interiors and exteriors of homes/offices based on the space and the lifestyle. Founder Rahul Gaikwad says, “We started Giant Walls with the intent to use our designing skills in terms of the space and to have the liberty to ideate. Further, the idea moved to working on Indian content; one such product is the Budu doll. As visual artists, we provide the complete visualisation of a particular space, from concept and design to execution.”
Shiv Parvati Budu doll by Giant Walls
The Budu dolls are toys that can be stacked on a shelf in dozens or bought in pairs, threes or tens. Through the use of graphics, Gaikwad has portrayed mythological characters such as Shiva and Parvati and Ganesha and his consorts Riddhi and Siddhi, in a contemporary form. There are even dolls that depict human interactions at a bus stop and that of a father meeting his daughter’s suitor. Giant Walls also designs mythological artworks for the walls and boast of a range of interactive wallpapers.
Gaikwad graduated from the Sir JJ School of Applied Art, and worked with animation studios at the start of his career.
“As far as a market is concerned, we find a lot of acceptance among the young earning buyers,” he states, adding, “Your space is the extension of your personality and energy. With the use of design, if one can create harmony in both, you feel inspired and definitely your performance improves.”
Pink Elephink: Stick to the wall
Design brand Pink Elephink, which offers services ranging from motion graphic animation to theme-based design, offers wall decals as well. In case you’re in the dark — wall decals (also known as wall stickers, wall tattoos and wall vinyl) are vinyl stickers that are affixed to walls or other surfaces. “It can lift the ambiance of a space and add character to it,” shares co-founder Riya Kuwelkar.
A coffee table
Mumbai-based sisters Riya and Kimaya started Pink Elephink as an outlet for their eccentric energy. To create a design, the duo first meet and assess the person they are designing for. “Ideas can be inspired from anything: a storybook I read years ago, a sentence my teacher in college was obsessed with, fashion and random scenes on the road,” admits Riya.
While Riya boasts of a Masters in Image and Communications from the UK and has worked as a graphic designer, Kimaya has a fashion background coupled with an interest in doodling. Kimaya draws while Riya animates. “What inspires us is bad design and ugly artwork. When we look at something that we feel has the potential to be so much better, we break it down and imagine how we would do it,” adds Riya.
Challenges for design forums like theirs include impatient clients, a lack of clarity in terms of work and respect for good artworks. “People feel that getting things done for free or cheap is their birthright. So, you get threatened for your rates with less expensive options that they could avail of. Eventually, the work speaks for itself,” she elaborates.
Kitsch-ri: Hand-painted artistry
Gurgaon-based designer Sanam Edwards potters around and creates hand-painted artefacts ranging from coffee tables to lamps and trays with graphic designs, which she sells under her brand Kitsch-ri. “I love to paint unusual items that appeal to me and soon the whole project metamorphosed into a business,” she states.
Edwards has a pottery line that includes bowls, flower pots, money banks and more. Recently, she added an exotic wooden range with products such as stools, candle holders, decorative wall hangings and coasters. “My target consumer appreciates a blend of Indian culture/art with modern sensibilities. My designs are contemporary, the art that I do on them is ethnic,” she explains.
Edwards doodled her way through school and then learned other forms of art. After years as a pre-school teacher and working with children, she decided to pursue her passions of horseback riding and painting. “My designs are inspired by an urban mesh of ethnic as well as contemporary designs. I wish to bring back a love for all things Indian by finding a way to appeal to the modern masses. Urban art is the way the new generation takes things from our culture and blends it with Western influences. The result is a creative blend of old and new to create innovative spaces,” she sums up.