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Kaveri Gopalakrishnan

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Illustrator:

Travelling from a very tender age, Kaveri concocted mystical tales of forests and animals, finding comfort in her imagination. With a penchant for art since her childhood, she found her muse in the books she read, which heavily influenced her work. 'Ever since I could pick up a crayon, I drew on everything and would spend hours making up elaborate stories and scenes, a habit that still persists. It was never just drawing for the sake of drawing. I love making up and layering my own private worlds and sharing a part of that with other people,' she explains. 

Studying Animation at National Institute of Design further honed her skills and introduced her to the subtle nuances of her art. It taught her how to capture gesture and movement, and the process of breaking down a story into frames, akin to films, while making comics and graphic novels.

Over the years, she has developed a compelling oeuvre of graphic work with an idiosyncratic fluidity. I keep in mind the concept of Synesthesia while drawing, something I’ve been reading abut in recent years and can relate to. It’s explained as "the uniting of the senses, where one translates experience into a psychological reaction, comprehending colour as sensation". I see things in different temperatures and densities, especially colour and feel, and work on translating this into my comics and illustrations,' says Kaveri.

After a stint at Chumbak as the lead designer, Kaveri turned to freelancing. As it was something she had always intended to do; the move was very organic. Following a residency at the School of Visual Arts in New York, she started working extensively on graphic stories. 'I shifted largely to making graphic narratives because I wanted to write and work with storytelling beyond a single image,' she explains.

She contributed a story titled Basic Space to Drawing the Line, an all-women graphic anthology published by Zubaan books. In this collection of 14 graphic art stories, the contributing artists shared personal stories and discussed their dreams and narratives of reclaiming control over their bodies, space and lives. In a commissioned project by The Hindu called Before you step out, Kaveri explored our understanding of security with urban versus semi rural spaces. It was widely distributed at the 2015 Jaipur Literature Festival. Alongside, she worked on several editorial illustrations for publications like Brainwave and UnMagazine by Campus Diaries. A set of Ruskin Bond and Panchatantra book covers also carry her riveting illustrations.

Coming up is a non-fiction graphic story, based on IPC's section 377, which was born out of a collaboration between Kaveri and writer-filmmaker Aarthi Parthasarthy. But an extensive collection of digital work has only made her rediscover her love for the traditional. 'Today, I’m highly comfortable as a illustrator working digitally. However, the more comics I seem to be making, the more I enjoy painting live, and this seems to be the perfect kind of balance,' says Kaveri, who recently completed a 25-foot-long mural under seven hours with a fellow artist. 


Text Ritupriya Basu

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