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Synergy of Metaphors in Illustrations

Gup-Shup with Errol I Visual Designer

Errol, a Visual Designer and Illustrator from Mumbai talks about the synergy of using metaphors and poetry in visual arts.

Your work has a strong play of metaphors. It feels almost as if you are reading an Artwork interpreting it on your own. What's your take on this?

How important do you think adding metaphors and slight humor in visual arts is ?

I usually or whenever I am allowed to, add metaphors, references or Easter eggs in my work. It is a conscious effort towards my conceptual aspect of style development.

Adding metaphors and references adds to the intellectual aspect of any work, makes it a little more rewarding for the viewer. For eg. When someone does find the reference or understands the metaphor in terms of the work your brain center rewards you, which then drives forward your curiosity towards the work or makes the artwork more relatable and comprehensible. It is also the same with adding emotions to your work, especially humor. And also as a visual artist just seeing people react positively to your work  is quite gratifying. 

As an artist, there is always a shuffle between Personal projects and commissioned ones. How do you manage both in terms of the style and concept? How important do you think personal projects are ?

I use personal projects to practice or further develop newer techniques in terms of style and have more observational and experience oriented concepts as the base of my work. Commissioned work since it usually caters to different audiences comes with a certain guideline concepts so it takes a lot more research and back and forth communication to understand exactly what it wants to convey and then you're at a better position to add your style and concepts. 

Personal projects are quite important cause they are free of all the limiting criterias that commercial work brings. It is free flowing and liberating and you're completely in charge of all decisions regarding your work. It is quite necessary to work on personal work in between projects or whenever you can to add a little change to your perspective and put into practice what you've learned. It also helps in developing and furthering your skills and being more experimental with your techniques. 

As designers, we are more receptive towards things happening around us. Sometimes conveying emotions through an artwork can be challenging. Can you elaborate on this if you agree ?

We definitely tend to be more observant about our experiences and surroundings and are also constantly looking for inspiration so being receptive comes naturally after a point. Conveying the exact same thought or emotion at the inception of an artwork or the correct interpretation of the artist is always challenging. But as long as you direct the viewer into that direction, I feel like you've achieved part of your goal. Another way to convey emotions would be to use more relatable elements in your artwork. You get better at conveying a particular thought or emotions through an artwork if you keep self critiquing and taking inputs from blank perspectives. Like for Instance, when you want to convey something about the Dog adoption, "Don't Shop, Adopt" you can start with tweaking an item that is closely related to your message - in this case, a dog food! With Pedi-greed written on it hits the right points and brings out your message across quite smartly. These bits are infact a part of this series called Parody-so (Like Dante Alighieri's Paradiso, Divine Comedy) using parodied capitalistic products to highlight social issues.

Your recent piece on Domestic Violence raises a few important remarks. How did the process take place? Can you describe a general process of creating an Artwork ?

I recently came across an incident of domestic violence, where despite clear signs surrounding people were hesitant to stop it from happening and the victim for various reasons was still defending the perpetrator. The illustration is also somewhat based on that, a mother going through domestic abuse at home and finding it difficult to leave that toxic environment for many reasons and also asking individuals to be more observant of people around them and their situations.

Most of my personal work stems from my observations of people and surroundings and my experiences and I tend to write and document all of these thoughts and initial ideas. Once I've settled on what I want to convey, I further imagine and develop a visual for it. Most of these visuals are a situational scene or a freezed moment in time that solely and strongly conveys my thought and I then begin to brainstorm elements that would further help me portray the concept much more clearly. Then I roughly sketch it all out and continue developing it and adding or taking out elements till I momentarily like what I see. 

And how do you associate poetry with visual arts?

Poetry and illustrations are both strong mediums of expression. For the artwork on domestic violence, I wanted the idea to come across more prominently without me having to directly explain it. Using two strong mediums that explain the same thought, drive the message a lot more clearly without having to over explain the concept and it still leaves plenty of room for people to ponder upon it and interpret it according to their backlog of experiences. Since the Poetry for the Domestic Violence artwork is written by a friend (Daphene Lobo) it gives a slightly different perspective and creates a stronger piece combined than it would've individually. 

On a scale of 1-10, how obsessed are you with cats? haha!

Hahaha ! 10 would still be low. I love cats, they've got strong personalities and they add an unexplained aura. And I had this phase of adding cats to my work whenever I could even commercial work whenever clients didn't mind. And not surprisingly that phase has continued. 

Gup-Shup with Errol



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