Monday, December 31, 2007

Shirt Tales: Wardrobe Set-Up

I had the opportunity to assist in a photo shoot for a soul/jazz artist named Sacha Williamson that took place last week. Although the concept was thought through beforehand by the art director, Nep Siddhu, the shoot itself was a team effort with three photographers (including myself), an art director, a make-up artist (off-site) and the model. I set-up a temporary studio in my place with lighting and backdrop and we shot all day. It was a fantastic experience. It gave me some insight into the work involved in creating a spread for a fashion magazine or an album cover image. I will see if I can post some images from that shoot up soon.

In the meantime, I took the images above to illustrate what a wardrobe set-up for Shirt Tales (the photo project I plan to undertake) would look like. Before I work with any models, I plan to experiment with my own clothing and accessories using studio lights and various backdrops. This will make the sessions with each model that much smoother as many of the wrinkles will be ironed out, so to speak ;). While this is exciting, it is also overwhelming as in this experimental "self-portrait" stage of the project, I play all roles: art director, photographer, make-up artist, hair stylist and model. I will set up the lighting, get dressed, set my camera up on a tripod and timer release and then run into the frame. It is an arduous task indeed and all in the name of fashion (photography)! Oh and by the way, the bling and pistol above are fake! Too bad! JK!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Get with the 80s NOW

It's all around these days -- the 80s. Jagged edges, bold, saturated, bionic colours (or in the case above, strong primaries), and early digital pixelated graphics all come together in garish incohesion. Although many may still think the 80s is ugly, there's no doubt it's running the streets again. Blame it on MIA and her stylist, Cassette Playa. Ain't nothin gonna break a my stride!

Mix:Master - Exhibition Opening!

My first solo show is currently on!

WHEN: Until Saturday, December 29th (working hours M-F + Saturdays)

WHERE: 401 Richmond Street, 4th floor (west wing, outside the SAVAC, InterAccess, CARFAC offices). The 401 Richmond building is located on the SE corner of Richmond and Spadina is Toronto.

WHAT: There are two series of drawings on view: Begging Bowls (2006) and Mix:Master (2007).

Check it out!

Friday, November 30, 2007

New Drawing: Have Courage My Love (details)

These images above are details from my 7th drawing which is now complete. With this drawing, there were many times were I felt that I had lost momentum, although, after much agony, it came together in the end.

Of late, I have not had very much time for my drawings. My day job has been very demanding and in the evenings and on weekends, most of my creative time has been devoted to researching grant deadlines and learning about the gallery system in this city. Much like any other business, being an artist requires hours of administrative duties including doing paperwork, writing grants, submitting gallery packages, networking, etc. It certainly isn't all fun and games.

The hardest part of these past few weeks has been learning about the financial cost of being an exhibiting artist. After all the sweat and tears, commercial galleries take 50% of the sale price of your work and if you rent a space, it is a few thousand dollars for a three week show plus publicity costs. This is of course, above other costs associated with being an artist such as materials, reproduction, framing, archiving, delivery, insurance, etc. And if naively, I thought grants would cover these costs, I was wrong. So far I have applied for three grants and been turned down for three grants. I will be applying for my fourth this weekend. What is that truism we should all follow, "Never Give Up." Yeah, that's a hard one to swallow. Truth is though that rejection sucks, but from experience I know that everything I have ever valued in this world -- personal growth, love, education, self-acceptance, independence, fearlessness, lasting friendships, self-love -- has come as a result of struggle. Never Give Up. Got it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dance for Democracy!

This is the most recent Besharam evite I have created. Recognize the dictator? BESHARAM I say! BESHARAM (shameless)! Not only can we dance for democracy but we can also indulge in some wishful thinking! Who said revolt can't be fun?

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Drawing: Come As You Are (details)

The images above are details from a drawing I have just completed entitled "Come As You Are". For those familiar with sex shops in Toronto, the double entendre will be obvious. And yes, for me this drawing does speak about the acceptance and celebration of sexual expression, but it also speaks of the acceptance and celebration of ourselves during our short lifetime - our joys, pain, sadness and longing for material, emotional and, above all, spiritual satisfaction.

While I have only posted images from three drawing so far, I am working away on my sixth drawing which has begun with the death of my mother 24 years ago. Keep checking back to see where it ends as I will post images when it is complete.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Anti-Bling Wedding Cards

Over the last two years, I have had the opportunity to design three different wedding invitation packages for close friends and family. The three sets you see above were tremendous fun to design as the clients in each case were open to various creative possibilities including moving away from the standard "Indian wedding card" full of religious bling.

The RED wedding card is the most recent and brings together Indian and Celtic motifs representing the bride and groom. I digitally drew the "flower" motif that has been variously used in the card, insert, menus, table cards, thank you cards, etc. The couple was able to keep print costs down as we printed in one colour on standard card stock.

The HAND-PAINTED card was for a smaller wedding and therefore we I was able to include some hand-crafted elements such as watercolour on the hand drawn flower and the addition of red/pink thread to bind the invitation.

The MAUVE card made use of velum as a wrapping for the three pieces inside. As many guests had not seen the groom before they recieved the invitation, the couple wanted to include a photograph of themselves as an introductory gesture.

If you are interested in having a wedding invitation package designed, please get in touch with me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Two Recent Drawings: Details

I have avidly been working away in my studio, creating 18" x 50" drawings while dancing and singing to everything from D'Angelo to Stevie Wonder to Sia to ghazals. So far I have finished 4 and I don't plan to stop until I have at least 10.

These drawings are everything in my heart that I can put on paper. They are a document of where I currently am: what I do, think, dream and desire. In this way they are like a visual diary as I am only able to add to them in bits and pieces, after work or on weekends.

Keep checking back for more teasers as more drawings get done!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Legal Biz Card

Here are two images of a business card I designed for a friend. In case you were wondering, all the digits have been x-ed out for fear of a lawsuit (!) Which card do you think the client went for? Considering she is a Barristor and Solicitor who has just opened her private practice, she decided to be less risqué. She went with the red/black version, although the purple/yellow version is much closer to her edgy personality. Nevertheless, the red/black has been catching a few, um, criminals, er, I mean eyes!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

2 New Book Covers!

These are both new illustrations I have created for books to be launched in October.

The black & white illustration is for "Conflict, Crisis and Accountability: Racial Profiling and Law Enforcement in Canada" by Charles C. Smith published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Using experiences such as that of Meher Arar, this book provides an insightful analysis of the links between the racialization of policing and law enforcement in Canada today and Canada's history of colonization, discrimination and racism. Join me for the book launch this Tuesday, October 16th from 9am to 1pm at OISE auditorium (252 Bloor St. West).

The colour illustration is for "Once Upon a Time in Bollywood: The Global Swing in Hindi Cinema" edited by Gurbir Singh Jolly, Zenia Wadhwani, and Deborah Barretto and published by TSAR. This book is a collection of essays that dissect India's "most" popular culture -- cinema -- through the lens of postcolonial globalization.

Shirt Tales: A Photo Project

These images serve as inspiration for my first studio photography project called "Shirt Tales". Shirt Tales uses photography to capture a moment in our lives through what we wear. It is an exploration of identity, geography, cultural and class histories, migration and sexuality. The way we dress can be utilitarian, but it can also be imbued with meaning and significance about who we are, where we come from and who we want to be. I am interested in learning about why we wear what we do, what these items tell us about our lives and histories and why they are important to us.

Shirt Tales is about where we are right now, in this moment, as women who are creative, sexy, strong, beautiful and full of spirit and whose histories originate in South Asia. The photos will confound any easy reading of who we are and where we come from.

I am looking for help from studio lighting specialists, portrait photographers, and make-up artists. If that sounds like you and you are available between now and December, holla.

Above images: (L to R) MIA from ID Mag Oct07, photographer Shawn Mortensen; "Deft" from Black Book Mag Spring02, photographer Jamel Shabazz; "Lagos Calling" from Metro Pop Mag #31, photographer Clayton James Cubitt
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