Sunday, January 7, 2018

Interview with Rachna Ravi, designer of the Night of the Nominee poster

New Delhi-based artist Rachna Ravi is one of the most versatile artists out there. Self-taught, naturally talented and forever exploring new techniques, Rachna's work stands out for its playful imagery, choice of colours (or lack of) and unconventional style. 

She was our first choice to design the poster for the Toto Music Awards' Night of the Nominee 2018, which will feature Rohan Rajadhyaksha, The Sine Painter and Prabh Deep at Primal on January 12

We had a little chat with Rachna about her process behind the poster, creating an aesthetic that defines her, and more:

Take us through your process for the Toto Music Awards poster from the conceptualisation to execution. 

When I received the text for the poster, the two main things I wanted to encapsulate were the three nominees and the night of the event. My current style of work is to basically keep the subjects bare minimum and in black and white. I like to fill the rest of the visual space with mostly floral patterns and maybe some other elements. I've been hooked to floral elements for quite a while now but somehow still haven't gotten enough of it. So keeping my current style of work in mind, I tried to do justice to the three artists. I also tried to do justice to the celebration of art that the event stands for.

When it comes to your aesthetic, you have a few distinct styles that you work with. How have you arrived at these and who are some influences?
I'm a self taught artist. I have been drawing ever since I can possibly remember. I have never particularly paid any conscious attention to my style of work. It just evolved with time. It's all just trial and error for me. I also like looking at good art. I try to spend a lot of time looking at good art. It opens up my brain to various things I otherwise may have been ignorant about. If I feel some type of way about a certain something, I try to incorporate it in my work, but in my own way.

There are just way too many artists out there, living and dead, that are so good and so much more better than me. It's hard to pick and choose. Every single day I come across at least a few artists on Reddit or Instagram that just blow my mind away. I don't know how to narrow it down to just a few. 

What are your preferred tools for your art? Also, please describe the space you work. 

I was strictly a traditional-medium-only girl till January last year. Then I worked at an office for a few months before I realized it's just not for me and quit. I learnt a fair bit of digital work there. Since then, I have been making use of the digital medium, in addition to my traditional work. I don't sketch, which a seasoned artist can easily see in my work. I usually go straight for the drawing. I sometimes paint straight up, scan it and finish it off in Photoshop. It's all very instinctive. I never plan a piece of work. I just go with the flow and do what I feel like in the moment. I don't know how to explain it, it's just this gut feeling when I know a piece is done. I almost always hate my work a week after it's done anyway, so it doesn't really matter I guess.

I don't have a work space. Like I said, I'm very instinctive when it comes to my work. I do have a board tho and I work on loose sheets of cartridge paper. So basically whenever my brain tells me it's time to draw or paint, I just go grab my board and set camp wherever I may have been sitting. It's always in front of my laptop and I hate working when there are people around.

What was the most exciting part about this project for you?

With any piece of commissioned work, the most exciting part is cracking the basic concept. Since I don't plan my work ahead, I always start with a very vague idea of where I want the final piece to arrive at. As I am working, I start collecting bits of ideas and elements in my head. I start putting these down one by one and it always looks like an incohesive mess. It's like a jigsaw puzzle. At some point I finally find the piece that binds the whole thing together. Finding that one piece has to be the most exciting part of the project for me.

Follow her work on Instagram at

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