April 21, 2016
Banished by the neighbours for filling their living room walls with scribbles, Rahul Sawnani’s love for art began at the age of 5. Painting his way through school with inter school art competitions, he spent countless nights conjuring themes for the display board.
His adventures with art continued through high school as he spent countless hours finding refuge in the art room. However, this wasn’t poetic as it sounds. “This triggered nasty bullying resulting in rampant isolation,” he explained, but undeterred, he continued filling blank pages with colours.
We first stumbled upon Rahul’s intricate work for Enchanting Cities – a series of illustrations for a notebook brand S.W.O.T, launched by Shrachi Group. “I worked on the project during my internship at NH1 Design and implemented a style drawing inspiration from traditional folklore and tribal art of Gond and Madhubani,” he said. The hand rendered illustrations feature montages of elements defining various cityscapes set against splashes of watercolour.
Working a day job at Prasun Mazumdar Design, Gurgaon, Rahul spends his time after work planning short personal projects. Scrolling through his Instagram page, a series of colourful illustrations stand out, one of them reads: “Breathe In Breathe Out Day In Day Out.” #100thingstosaybyRahul started as 20 artworks on mental health for his graduation project, but evolved into exploring other themes from existentialism to romantic love.
“I find it hard to doodle. There’s always a strong narrative behind everything that goes into my sketchbook,” he expressed. Rahul’s sketches interfuse his thoughts with colour and often provide the sense of an intimate conversation.
Another project Break the Mundane interplays humour with his mundane days documented via illustrations on photographs. For Rahul, art is about healing and he hopes to do the same with his work. “I happen to be emotionally driven. My outcries are mostly presented in the form of positive affirmations,” he says.
Talking about artists who inspire his work, Rahul mentions Pranita Kocharekar and Dallas Clayton for the message of love and kindness that they bring through their art. Another artist who has hugely influenced his work has been Deshna Mehta. “For her relentless decision to exclude anything that promotes consumerism in general from her professional design practice,” he stated.
Mostly spotted with his micron pens and the Wacom Tablet, he recently worked with the Indian Cancer Society to design t-shirts for the Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. Apart from this, he also volunteers with the TEDx Delhi team on the visual design material. “I believe in service of value,” he said hoping to continue working on projects that further his resolve for positive reinforcement.