Category Archives: Graphic

My friend – Manas Kunder

Manas Kunder. Artist. Illustrator. Unassuming. Mad. On a Madtrip. Manas is that guy who I would be happy to spend hours discussing art and life with. Somehow everything about him is calm and non threatening. His art and way of thinking is so different from mine and yet… his sketch book gives me insight into a very complicated mind. And it is one I would love to unravel over a few drinks just talking and painting. This guy I wish lived closer…

I met Manas at Beach House Project in march last month at an idyllic week long residency in Fort Kochi. You can read about that trip here. One week together can get a bunch of people quite close quite fast. And that is exactly what happened.He is next in my series of Effortless Friendships. Read on to find out more about him.

What did you study in college?

I completed my B.F.A (bachelor of fine arts) from Rachna Sansad College of Applied Arts and Crafts. It was a four year course which took me five years to complete as I had flunked in the second year board. It did come as a big surprise as I had flunked in art rather than all the other boring things I’d studied, but it did give me a push to excel more and I passed out topping the university in the last year.

What made you pick art/ design?

I have been inclined towards art right from the earlier days of my childhood right from making my own paper toys to silver foil creatures. My grandma”s wall was all distorted and had paint chipped off, so when she would try to put me to sleep in the afternoons I would stare at the wall and form all  kinds of different creatures in my head. Post college I spent  five years in advertising and design, I figured my strength lies in creating funky illustrations and not being restricted by any brand. So I created my own brand called ‘Madtrip’. I also freelance as a designer, make murals and also recently started teaching part time in Pearl academy.

What made you expand?

My range of merchandise in ‘Madtrip”  are limited to what I personally prefer or what I would like to get or buy as a consumer myself. For instance the reason I started designing sleeping masks was cause I love sleeping and I mostly end up sleeping in the day. In the start I got lot of doubtful questions from people around me as to whether it would sell or not but I was quite confident with the concepts that I had in mind and it worked out great.

What is your company called and why?

Well my company was initially called “Manimal” but then I saw that there was an existing clothing brand called Manimal so I asked the people on my Fb group at that time to suggest names and finalized on Madtrip which was suggested by a close friend and it fit in perfectly.

Could you share a typical work day with us?

Well I don’t have a fixed routine, but during tight deadlines I would wake up at eleven and have a good breakfast with a cup of coffee. Then start doing some research on my topic with some rough sketches. Eat food at three and start my main work by seven thirty and go on till late at night.
My work schedule  also ends up getting split between designing or printing orders from amazon for Madtrip and my freelance designing.

What is your design process/thinking/philosophy?

Well I still have so much to learn, but as of now I feel it’s a balance between creating certain designs that are more abstract and personal to art which is more relevant to the people. When it comes to designing or creating illustrations for a Madtrip product,  I wouldn’t invest time in it unless the concept moves me and I can visualize it being something that’s not been seen before.

What sets your work apart from another designer?

That would be my style of art and a certain sense humor that I assume I have 😛

What are some of the hurdles you face as a young business?

Keeping a balance between management work and designing. Also a balance between my personal and professional life. I’m still in search for the right market place for my original designs.

What is the next step you see for your business? Expansion plans?

Well a website is on top of the priority list. More outlets to circulate my merchandise and get some one to manage my online marketplaces. Planning to test my designs in the US by the end of this year.

Favourite drink/ movie/book/go to place?

Drink – Lemon Barley in the summer and Old Monk in winter.
Movie -I love watching Japanese animi movies its super inspirational.
Go to place –  It would be on the Docks of Versova where you can take your own bottle of alco and get fresh fish to eat by the sea.


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My friend – Vrinda Mathur

Vrinda Mathur. Tiny/Petite. Delicate. Fun. Feisty. In a nut shell – Bloody Dynamite! In every way and I mean that in a good way. She is ultra feminine but don’t let that tiny bird like grace fool you – she is tough as nails and is not afraid to tell it like it is. The first thing I noticed about her was her delicate grace. And then she started talking about her work…

I met Vrinda at the Beach House Project in march last month at an idyllic week long residency in Fort Kochi. You can read about that trip here. One week together can get a bunch of people quite close quite fast. And that is exactly what happened. She is next in my series of Effortless Friendships. Read on to find out more about her.

What did you study in college?

I studied Lifestyle Accessory Design at National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi, India

What made you pick product design?

Growing up, I had the fortune to be involved with crafts and crafts folk in general, owing to my parents furniture manufacturing business. My interest in the arts was nurtured both at home and throughout school which finally manifested in college through a course in lifestyle product design. I always enjoyed working on larger products such as lighting and furniture over smaller home decor products. With time and good fortune, I was able to take my learnings onto a bigger platform through my business.

What made you expand from furniture design to include space design along with architecture?

Studio Wood came into being as a collaborative project between varied design enthusiasts, ranging from an architect, to a spatial expert and myself. As co-founders of the company, we learnt from each other and contributed to different fields, out of our academic qualifications to promote a more conducive process and atmosphere at the studio. As our time at the grew, our services grew as well. 3 years down and we design everything from furniture to homes to offices, restaurants and even food trucks!

What is your company called and why?

Since we started primarily as a furniture design studio, the name is self-explanatory: A studio that works with wood. ☺

Could you share a typical work day with us?

A typical day at work is always bright and happy, I recently built a brand new studio with all things Studio Wood, white brick, bright pastel blues and lots of plants and art all around. Mornings usually start with emails, follow ups and a round up of social media from the day before and could delve into possibly anything; sitting at my desk or site visits, sourcing trips, workshop visits, vendor coordination and so on. If I am at the studio the entire day then I love to spend time doing cleaning chores and tidying each spot from time to time.

What is your design process/thinking/philosophy?

I try to follow a process because I feel that keeps the motivation up at all times and when you work for yourself it’s good to make it strict for yourself at times. Whether it’s a piece of furniture or a new space, I like to put down my thoughts on paper through key words, mind maps, doodles, highlights. Once I think a design clicks, I brainstorm with the team for feedback and suggestions. The design may even travel from me to another member of the team so they can work on it from a completely new approach. Once the designs are finalized we work on the design detailing, 3D modeling and finally execution.

Tell us about the wall you guys are painting outside your office?

Our studio is located in Kishangarh, an urban village near Vasant Kunj which is a fairly posh locality in New Delhi. The village hosts a dynamic population of locals, foreign nationals and individuals from across the country as well due to low rents and connectivity with the rest of the city. On a ravaged road, about 200 meters from the main road that connects to the International Airport, what more? We have a dumping ground right opposite our studio so one can only imagine the view we have. However, this is not how the space was intended to be and as young and restless designers, we thought of bringing a change in the space we spend over 8 hours in a day. In order to do so we started a campaign called “YOUFORUS”

Where the village is the ‘US’ and we are the ‘YOU’. Under this campaign we will be working on a couple of activities in and around the village such as cleanliness drives, educating the population about their surroundings and so on. Our first step was to stir a conversation amongst the locals and from there came the idea of mapping the village down on our studio facade.

After weeks of research, conceptualization and extensive google earth-ing, we charted out all the blocks and buildings, galis, small-time vendors and shops of Kishangarh and started chalking down the map on our wall spanning across 400 Sq.ft area

With lime green building blocks painted in an isometric fashion, streets in a charcoal grey, the project is now nearing completion after 3 long months.

What sets your work apart from another designer?

My work with Studio Wood has been one of a kind on a personal and professional level. I try to approach each new project/product with a fresh thought process in order to keep it more challenging from a vision and work point of view.

Each piece is an amalgamation of inspirations of different times, thoughts, ideas or even people I meet which automatically makes the starting point of my process unique. Adding to that, the product is built block by block on paper through numerous brainstorming sessions with the team, prototyping on the software generating forms, mixing materials and color palettes.

What are some of the hurdles you face as a young business?

As young entrepreneurs in the creative industry I have faced lots of challenges, big and small. Everything about owning a business and running one was completely alien to me. As we started we faced challenges regarding contracts, project execution, timelines and fees of course. I learnt on the job and found solutions to most of the aforementioned problems. Now, three years down the line, I think I have matured as a business owner and am slowly learning the tricks of the trade. Most important lesson is to know when to say yes and also when to say no!

What is the next step you see for your business? Expansion plans?

Oh! I have big dreams for 2017, I am working towards taking our furniture business online and seeing it in more homes across India and may be even across the globe. The idea is to keep dreaming, keep doing and enjoy the little successes and failures on the way.

Fav drink/ movie/book/go to place?

I love my elaichi tea by day and rum and coke by night 😉
Movie – I love watching all movies, filled with love, romance and lots of cheese. Don’t ask me names please!
Book – One book I enjoyed reading was the ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’ by Hussain Zaidi and also short stories by ‘Sadat Hassan Manto’ which I am currently reading.

Vrinda Mathur

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Indian Express Indulge – Dec 2016

Learning new things. Pushing the envelope as it were is something I want to do a lot more of this new year. Without conscious thought last year got all muddled up in production and the ArtByAarohi label line. It took more out of me than I quite realized. So this new year I hope to paint a lot more and do a few more of The Fusion Projects.

Happy New Year people – Wishing you an abundance of everything your heart desires.

Last November I got to go to Goa for the The Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2016  and while displaying the tank I painted for Royal Enfield as part of a collaborative Fusion Project I found myself chatting with Jaideep Sen.
Thank you Jaideep Sen for the lovely write up in the 30 December 2016 issue of the Indulge magazine – Indian express.

Note- Please click on the images to read text.

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The Fusion Projects – With Royal Enfield

The next in the series of The Fusion Projects is with motorcycle company – Royal Enfield. Although the project came to me many months ago I started work on it only in August end. But as they say everything happens for a reason. By the time the tank was finished it was time for The Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2016 – an annual community driven event in Goa each November. And I had the joy of taking the tank to Goa. To see first hand reactions of bikers across India to my vision of a hand painted tank has been gratifying to say the least. I got to be a fly on the wall and just watch people react to the tank artwork.

The endeavour has been not just to paint a motorcycle tank but to view the entire exercise in a new way. The tank needed to look different from anything out there and still have my stamp on it. I was not looking to make just  decorative artwork that would sit in someone’s office or a showroom. I want to see how this painted tank fares on an actual motorcycle. How the paint will react to sun, moisture, dew. Will the paintwork stand up to general wear and tear and fuel spills.

Therein lies the purpose of this joint exercise. I learn. Learn about material and it’s usage. I get to try and think out of the box from established norms of what constitutes successful artwork for bikes. The next step is to go to the Enfield factory and see how the paint is applied. To try an incorporate my artistic style while using industry standards. As a start I decided to paint with a brush and not an airbrush. Used Acrylics. And used a theme- Theyyam – which is not seen on bikes but has been central to my work for a few years now.

As a theme, Theyyam lends itself well to artistic interpretations. By it’s very nature, it brings forth goodwill to those in its presence and promises to ward off evil. What better way to kick start a new series. My friend Sachin Chavan – the Head, Rides and Communities, Royal Enfield – who was instrumental in getting me on board for this project has been a friend for almost 20 years. He rides (obviously!!) and my parting shot to him has always been to ‘Ride Safe‘. It has been similar to my father and brother who are both retired fighter pilots from the Indian Air Force. For them it was and is – ‘Fly safe, Blue skies and Happy Landings‘!

I hope the good will always carries through…

Theyyam is an artistic dance form where metaphysical thoughts and expressions of immortal souls are impersonated by a believer through a mortal body. Theyyam originated from “Kaliyattam” once practiced by the tribal community of north Kerala. Theyyam has grown to the present form through many transformations since it’s origin. Landlords and chieftains of those days are the main forces behind many of such transformations. The community and its body began to use this art to propagate the major theme of social enforcement. The artists are also encouraged by the authorities to introduce new themes into its traditional layers and classified different acts and expressions to match specific needs for their desire. The character representations were very broad. They range from mild to wild in representations.
Theyyam is a sect in which old heroes are sanctified and worshiped as the guardians of villages and homes. Yet, it includes a complex universe centered on the belief that a man can—after suitable mental, physical and spiritual preliminaries—don the costume of a particular deity and then become that deity. In this elevated state he assumes superhuman and divine powers—speaking, moving, blessing and even healing as a god or goddess. What is crucial is that the person is not possessed by the spirit of the deity. It’s important to understand that Theyyam has a larger purpose that goes beyond the territories of performance – to all those in attendance, it assures assistance and security during times of crisis, promising to resolve all their conflicts.

You can read about Theyyam here-

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Hawa Mein Uddhta Jaaye – Dec 2016

I remember a conversation or was it a few lines in a book?
A serene idyllic view of a mountain side and a naughty boy pulling at a yellow dupatta. A young woman shyly  admonishing him as she watched it float away..

The dupatta/stole/scarfpreserves modesty for some and adds colour for others. It can make or break an outfit. For me it is my shield. It shows you my mood if you only look carefully. It is bold or fluid. It is breezy when chiffon and base when khadi. It is so many things to so many. My maasi’s drape it a certain way and I wrap it around my neck. It is like substituting my lovers arms around me. And if I have memory attached to that yard or two of fabric… sigh!!!

In my never ending quest to further an idea and concept across mediums, here are 21 one-of-a-kind dupattas up for grabs. 

Happy shopping!

Happy shopping!


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7 skirts for 7 sisters – Nov 2016

Everything takes time. There are issues and then more issues to deal with. Life as we know it is a constant tsunami of change. Ideas that came to me a few years ago may only just find fruition. So without skirting any more issues at hand – here are a few of the skirts that I have been working on for a long while now 🙂

Each of the seven skirts is hand dyed and one-of-a-kind. Each has been lovingly made with new, up-cycled and recycled material. There are custom appliqués from the signature ArtByAarohi label along with some that have up-cycled fabric. These skirts have elements of hand painting, hand embroidery, machine embroidery, appliqués and patchwork. And they have all been done individually by me. I hope you enjoy them. Click here to buy.

Happy shopping!

Happy shopping!


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The Fusion Projects – With Glasshopper

The first in the series of The Fusion Projects is with stained glass studio – Glasshopper. It’s been 6+ months in the making but the thought actually has been brewing in my mind for almost four years.


I have always wanted to see my work in the many possible ways it can be used – to take a concept across mediums and hopefully have it successful in all of them. I wanted to take my art and make it accessible to more people. To those who may not have space for a trunk or a kettle or even a large painting…

But the jewellery had to be different and yet be universally appealing. I could have worked with a regular silver/gold smith to make the pendants but then where is the fun in that? Enter Saarus Nirhali – my friend and a wonderful stained glass artist.

I had originally asked her to just encase my artwork into some pendants and I would buy those off her and then get down to my solitary work. Collaboration had been on my mind for sometime so it was serendipitous that she asked to collaborate. And things took of from there. I knew what the end pieces needed to look like. I just needed Saarus to see my vision. And she did.  Her reaction when she saw the first set of completed necklaces was something I can’t describe.  Her words -‘ I knew you would do something but this I had not expected! I did not know my work could look like this...’ 🙂
Saarus works with glass but on a much larger scale.  So to work on one square inch pieces meant she needed to rethink her entire approach to her own work! The challenge for her was to get a fineness in the edges and edge finish. She needed to see the potential. I have to say. Saarus was ready for the challenge. The pieces are truly wonderful even if I say so myself.

At ArtByAarohi I have always tried to push the envelope a little, to blend material and media. To add an element of up-cycling or recycling.  An element of surprise. This collection too has a little bit of that.

Gold and silver have an innate value irrespective of how good or bad a design maybe. These needed to be good designs! Since neither gold nor silver is being used. The design and finesse had to be something that worked for everyone. Or at least everyone with a certain sensibility. It has been months in the studio, doing, re-doing and refining pieces.  There have been instances where a finished necklace has been pulled apart and re-done because the loops on the pendant did not sit right. I am an extremely detail oriented person and would go back to the drawing board  when I wanted a piece to be a certain size or the loops a certain orientation. But I think we are now at a level of finish that I am happy with.  Our work will only get better from here.

The artwork in each piece is based on my original painting. The materials, their use and how the end piece would look has been my work. Saarus on the other hand has worked on encasing the artwork using true Tiffany style stained glass techniques.  Her studio has been busy working away at cutting/grinding and then soldering many tiny pieces of coloured glass to fit my vision. The  loops on each piece of glass has been a very time consuming and exacting process.

I have learnt so much through this collaboration. Not just about stained glass and it’s possibilities/limitations but about working with another individual. Patience was never my strong point but I have learnt it along the way. This collaboration has allowed so many wonderful iterations in the ideation process that I can truly say that alone this series of jewellery may not have packed the punch that it does.

Please do click here to read Saarus’s experience in the making of this collection.

To view this first collection do drop by at my Studio in Bangalore on the 27th and 28th of Aug 2016 at:

The ArtbyAarohi Studio
C-44 Diamond District Apartments,
Kodihalli, Old Airport Road,
Bangalore – 560008 KA

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Femina – November 2015

Thank you Akhila Vijay kumar for the DIY feature in the October-November 2015 issue of Femina magazine.

Femina-Magazine-Cover  Femina-Magazine-Article

It is a simple DIY inspired from  this post. Diwali is about festivities. Lights, mithai and of course card games. These set of bowls would do well to multi task as fruit/ sweet bowls as well as bowls to keep money and poker chips. These bowls have been made with newspaper layers stuck together. The motifs are all inspired by cards and the outside surface is a depiction of various card plays. Actually the bowls are cheat sheets!


This DIY was done in record time – three days. And that long because each layer of paper had to dry. There are about 14 layers in these bowls. I added a lot more colour and graphic lines after these images were taken. Will post those too one of these days. I know I am late posting this but I was traveling during Diwali week and this sort of slipped between the cracks…


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The Denim re-Done Collection : February 2015

Old denims. Every house has at least one pair. And I hate, absolutely hate, throwing away an old pair of jeans. They are so comfortable – almost like a security blanket. The other day I wore a pair that I have had for a gazillion years and went downstairs for a walk. And a dear friend tells me ‘either cut them into shorts or fix them’. Though not vocalized, implicit in that statement was  … ‘throw them!’


I digress here but I must share this with you. The year was 1994 and my father was commanding an Air force base in Western India. I was home on vacation from college and was about to step out of the station compound to go to the local market. So walking over to pick up a friend, I hear this shout from behind me. The guard at the main gate tells me that my mother has left a message for me to return home immediately. I panic and almost run the entire way home with my heart in my throat. I reach and my mum says ” I just got a call from the mess bearer – ” Madam, aapki ladki ki pant phat gayee hai…”  (Madam, your daughters pants are torn!) So mum to save me embarrassment had called me home.  The pants in question were actually a pair that had been reworked with embroidery patches in multiple places though the knees were bare like the pair you see in the picture above. I thought they were very chic and bohemian – the mess bearer thought otherwise 🙁

So it was time to discard the old jeans. But you know me and my little issue with throwing things away when they still have life left in them. I decided to rework/up-cycle them into bags and blankets. Actually anything that could be used. Then I had friends donating their old pair of jeans, cargo pants and chinos and a whole collection was born.

You have already seen the Dog tags here and one version of blankets here.

Upcycled bags – buy them here. Help make some room in that landfill, reduce your carbon footprint and help another soul along. Did I mention that these bags have been stitched by me in the studio. And a lot of these bags have embroidery done either directly by me or the girl from the village that works for me sometimes.

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The Jhola Bags Collection : February 2015

And it is here. The collection that was for a while in a very dangerous and almost unrecoverable stall! The new Jhola Collection for February 2015 is live.

This is something that has been in production for almost a year. Between karigars not working on time or just plain ruining the work I did. I had to improvise and just do the lot myself. These jhola bags have been made in house. Only the gold faux leather straps went out to the karigars shop and he took six months over 10 bags!!  Just not worth it. I almost gave up on this collection but given the effort that had already gone into them, I had to give it one last shot.

These bags have been hand stitched and hand embroidered by me and my design intern has painstakingly stenciled every bag. Each is an individual one-of-a-kind bag and looks different on the front and the back. And more importantly almost 70% of these bags is made with up-cycled and reused fabric.


So know that if you decide to take one home you are the only one who will have it! Make some room in that landfill, reduce your carbon footprint and help another soul along.

Oh! And wait for the denim collection coming up shortly 🙂


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