Thursday 4 August 2011

Interview 28 (Part 1)

Sameer Kulavoor is an illustrator and designer based in Mumbai, India wh
ose new publication Zeroxwallah zine provides visual evidence of his numerous visits to the city's copy shops.

Please tell us a little something about yourself, your studio, Bombay Duck Designs, and what it is like working in Mumbai.

Being born and brought up in Mumbai, India (then Bombay), the transitioning urban landscape, contrast and chaos, diverse people, (pop) cultural mix, globalization, has had an influence on my approach and aesthetics. What
I like about working in India is you never fall short of inspiration. Immensely saturated in innumerable ways, it is quite a visual bomb. There's an indescribable beauty about the chaos and the way things work here.

Bombay Duck Designs (BDD) is an umbrella under which I create and direct Illustration, Design and Animation. As a small but specialized design/illustration/animation studio, we do a lot of varied mainstream work globally across print and motion for MNCs to Music bands and channels. Last few projects being:

A (soon to be released) rotoscoped+animated music video (based on the idea of loops) for one of India's leading electro-rock act - Pentagram

Series of illustrations for Mothers Pride pre-school brochure which won a Cannes gold lion (agency: Out of the box, Delhi)

50-page quirky illustrated book for Gillette (agency: BBDO NewYork)

Poster designs and Exhibit for NH7 Weekender, India's biggest music festival.

How did Zeroxwallah come about and what is it about the medium you find so inspiring? What role does the publication play in the promotion of your design studio, if any?

Zerox shops in Bombay are omnipresent and easily spottable due to their distinct yellow black 'identity'. They are usually chaotic and haphazard with signboards that could drive a type-designer a headache (and heart ache) The interiors are equally bold and chaotic, if not more. But they are indispensable for the numerous students and office-goers who frequent them. The overall mish-mash of everything around and inside the Zeroxwallah shop makes it visually quirky and interesting. The smell of the toner combined with the sound (noise of papers,people) of a bustling tiny shop can be a heavy dose to all your senses. Frequenting the Zeroxwallahs during my art/design school (Sir J. J. Institute of applied art) intrigued me and the zine is a way to translate my experiences into a tangible product. The use of photocopy for the book was an obvious choice. And the dash of yellow screenprint over photocopy gives it the perfect character and feel. A limited edition zine was the best way to bring out the spontaneity of the Zeroxwallahs of Bombay.

This zine is one of the many parallel personal projects that BombayDuckDesigns works on so we are not completely gutted with (sometimes mundane) commercial work and it also helps to keep our work fresh and inspiring. 'Zeroxwallah' is the first of many more to come.

Do you think there is an emerging fanzine scene in Mumbai or, in India generally?

The fanzine scene in India is at its nascent stages. One reason being the limited outlets and limited demand. That seems to be changing slowly but surely. Delhi has seen a few book 'boutiques' (CMYK and Yodakin) Mumbai (BMB gallery & bookstore) Chennai (Masalachai store) who believe in encouraging independent artists, designers and publishers. Also The Greenhouse (an art culture venue in Delhi) hosted an intimate event 'I ♥ Small Books' encouraging zines and independent books. These initiatives have created awareness and interest and hence demand. So its an interesting time for the small Indian fanzine scene to take off!

For images of Zeroxwalah zine please see Interview 28 (Part 2).