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Kanchi Mehta, Illustrator

“I seek inspiration from the simplest and mundane objects around me”

Your artwork is very impressive. Where do you draw inspiration from?

It’s everywhere. Everything and anything inspires me. There have been times when a simple nimbu mirchi hanging on a tea stall has inspired me to come up with a poster for rights for women/ domestic violence on women and children.
I seek inspiration from the simplest and mundane objects around me. You never know what map is your brain building and what clicks.

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Give us some insight on your experience at Ecole Intuit. Lab.

I was a part of the first batch of Ecole in Mumbai. Everyone was at home were a little skeptical about it but I was adamant about going to Ecole. It’s a French college which will complete 5 years in Mumbai, 15 years in Paris and about 12 years in Aix en Provence.
I had friends who joined other colleges for the same course as mine and trust me this was so much better. We were never taught in a traditional way. With visiting faculty teaching us, we got a much better exposure in every subject. International workshops helped us connect internationally. A trip to France exposed us to how the French learn design. It definitely did influence most of my work for a brief period of time. It never felt like a college, it was more like home to us. With the freedom given to us, we were much aware of our responsibilities when it came to our work. I have learned so much about everything related to graphic design and visual communication. Under the guidance of Mrs. Jamila Varawala and Yan Garin, I have been able to understand where my forte lies and be where I am right now.

Which has been your most memorable piece of art that you have created? Can you give us a brief description about it and the tools that you used for the same?

Honestly, I have always thought I can do so much more after completing every project, but these two projects that I did in my final year, I have been so satisfied with them.
First, a 360 degree campaign for a bar inspired from a TV show, namely, Dexter. I named it The Code. The strategy, branding, ads, everything was designed by me and has been a game changer. Knowing the kind of person I am, I like completing my projects as soon as possible, in the quickest, smartest and well-designed way. Now, this was a grand project— a eight month long project which gets evaluated at the end of the year. I had to choose a topic that wouldn’t bore me, so I picked my favorite TV shows— Dexter and World’s weirdest restaurants. Food and serial killer/crime would never let me down. The project was pretty much like a brief proposal for anyone who was interested. The design consists of typography and blood. That’s it. Photoshop brushes helped me create realistic blood for the menu, posters and logo. Illustrator helped me play with type. This is one of those memorable projects only because I got a chance to actually create a small sneak-peak kinda space in college for our annual exhibition.
Second, a brand book for Lego. Man, I have hated editorial as a subject only because it was too easy. Again, this being our grand editorial project, it was like a challenge. Had a use a new tool— Indesign, the simplest tool to create/design books and anything that’s copy-heavy. I hardly played with Lego as a child, I preferred cars over bricks.Everyone had to pick a main theme and design the book accordingly, the copy, the pictures, everything had to be done by us. I am not good at writing, not at all, especially when I have to make a book, I can’t use fancy long words. So I kept it simple. Everything was simple and clean. My book did not talk about Lego’s history but focused on what people have been doing today. How are they creating art with Lego. I curated around 12-14 such stories in a quirky way to inspire people to start with their own Lego creation. The book’s cover is made of actual Lego plate and blocks making it a base for people’s ideas to grow.

What are the challenges that you face while working on such projects?

The biggest challenge I face while working on such projects is that everything is already done in the world. I have to struggle my way through to stand-out. I am against copying work of other designers. Yes, I know it happens everywhere, but that’s not what I was taught or that’s not what I would like to continue.

What is your usual workflow pattern?

I generally start off with mind maps. It helps you see ‘n’ number of possibilities. Then start doodling and emptying my brain onto the paper. Once I have a rough idea of how I want certain things, I open my laptop. I’ll research, read, collect data, keep sketching. I have seen people refer to pinterest and other sites the moment they are given a project, this is usually my last resort when I’m unable to get some insight into the project. I collect references of design styles, color palettes, etc. and then explore digitally.

What are the tools you use regularly as a part of your work?

Paper, pens, pencils the basic tools I use for every project. It depends from project to project, some might require watercolors, some might just be vectors. So illustrator, photoshop and indesign are the tools I generally use for all my projects.

Any project that you are currently working on?

Yes, I am working on a few projects. I am creating a brochure for a hair studio, working on a strategy and managing the facebook page of a retail outlet and working for an NGO.

What are your career goals?

I wish to be a Visual and Brand strategist with a luxury brand. I also aspire to be my own boss. So starting my own design and strategy firm is on my bucket list.

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