Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a crazy cat lady who's very bad at human-ing. I'd pick spending time alone over socialising any day and then complain about how I'm losing friends. I also illustrate, make comics and practice graphic design.
Where did you grow up?
I've actually grown up all over because of my dad's job—so that would be parts of Andhra, Tamil Nadu(Chennai) and Maharashtra(Pune) before going to college in Coimbatore. 10 different schools, 9 cities. Major identity crisis.
We first saw your work on Taxi Fabric. Tell us a little about that.
Sanket (founder, Taxifabric) wrote to me about collaborating on Taxi Fabric for their launch in Delhi around May last year and I came up with some really bad ideas for the art and ended up endlessly procrastinating over it. In the meantime, I was planning on doing a side-project—a comic about various women leaders from our history and present who are huge role models but have never really been talked about, celebrated or given a space in our textbooks. Then it just made sense to do this all using an auto-rickshaw as a canvas for this project instead of limiting it to a comic book format. Taxifabric was immediately on board with the idea and we eventually decided to have Hindi translations for the text as well so everyone could read and understand what the whole deal was about.
Favourite project you've worked on?
I'm trying to make more time for personal projects this year so I'd have to say my '36 days of Feminist Type' has been the most satisfying project this year. This project was really a reaction to being a woman in a country like ours and the whole feminazi trope. I wanted to channel everything I believed in about the movement, everything I'd been reading and see if I could do like a whole alphabet series that spoke about all the things that feminism fought for.
You produce really punchy feminist themes, what is feminism to you?
Common sense, basic human decency + rights, smashing that patriarchy.
Why do you choose to explore these themes in your art?
As cliched as it sounds, I like to think of my work as an extension of what I believe in as a human and so the themes I end up exploring are always about what I'm either reacting to or reading at the moment.
What kind of feedback do you receive of your work?
When people read my comics, I think they assume I'm funny but I'm a 10/10 jaded person in real life.
Do you think it's important for artists to use their art to drive social change?
Absolutely. Because: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/
Tell us about the illustrations you've made for OLIO. What's the story?
I love that the collection is called 'Hop. Skip. Jump'—it just seems so fitting with the cuts of the clothes. In that spirit, I wanted to create illustrations of women doing things that they're usually very uncomfortable doing in public or are usually shamed about—like showing their underarms, lying down comfortably in public, keeping legs wide apart, etc. These 'loose' girls are reclaiming their space by hopping, skipping and jumping judgements away.
Artists you admire?
Kate Beaton, Craig Thompson, Jillian Tamaki, Orijit Sen, Yuko Shimizu, Ryan Andrews, Mau Lencinas, Priya Kuriyan, Prabha Mallya, Will Eisner.
Current favourite Instagram page?
Strongest woman you know.
My ammamma (maternal grandma). She's seen some tough times but remains classy and badass at 87. I hope I become like her someday.
What era would you like to live in?
Pre-demonetisation. So difficult to get change for a 2000 rupee note.
Who's brain would you like to pick?
1. Nivedita Menon—activist, feminist, author of 'Seeing like a Feminist' and a huge role model.
2. Jack Stratton—who's the band-leader for Vulfpeck. Not only an all-rounded badass talented musician but also super witty and makes hilarious videos like this.
Favourite dress silhouette?
I don't know the technical term for it but I really like boxy/loose-fitting dresses that are super-airy. All the more difficult for my landlady to say 'omg beta, you're soo skinny'.
Describe your style in 3 words.
Can I use 2?: Error 404. Item not found.
All photos by Tenzin Lhagyal.