Musings: Interview with Mansi Thakkar

Illustrator and Graphic Artist, Mansi Thakkar’s surreal art is a provocative depiction of the world she finds herself immersed in. With a keen sense of observation, she boldly portrays the disharmony that affects the human psyche. In her own words, some days it’s angst that she expresses, while on some, just an aspiration for a better world.

In a conversation with us, Mansi, who is currently based in Bangalore, revealed a little more about herself and her distinct style.


INTERVIEW

We’re glad we could finally get to this chat, welcome- Mansi! Tell us a bit about yourself.

To be honest, there’s no place I can say I’m ‘originally’ from. I’ve lived in Delhi for 17 years but never could really relate to it. Then I moved to Ahmedabad to do my graduation from the National Institute of Design. Ended up staying in the city for 6 years, before moving to Bangalore for work. If I dig hard, I can surely find some emotional connect with each of these geographies, but I’d have to really dig hard!

While growing up, I believe I was an extremely obedient child, something I deeply regret now. I think I’ve missed out on very many interesting stories I could’ve written here today.

Currently I’m working as an Exhibition Designer at a studio in Bangalore.

How did you realize that art was an essential element of your perspective?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the concept and practice of art. But it was my art teacher Mr. Kumar Vikas who made me notice that I, like every other living being, could ‘make’ art. That happened when I was 10, and it has stayed ever since.

Are there any particular themes you like to explore in your work?

If I were to analyse, I’d say currently and in the recent past I seem to tend to gravitate towards the extreme ideas of utopia and dystopia. I feel as a person I have and continue to become increasingly aware of my surroundings, and it’s socio-political fabric, and my work gets highly influenced. Some days it’s angst that I’m expressing while on some, just an aspiration for a better world.

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Free Birds by Mansi Thakkar

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

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Pet Peeve:Goldfish by Mansi Thakkar

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration?

There have been numerous people in my life who’ve inspired me. Along with people I’ve read, seen or heard. From Jiddu Krishnamurti- still learning how to see life objectively, to my father- who time and again teaches me compassion, inspiration has been all around.

Talk us through your creative process. How long does it take you from ideation to the finished product?

There is no process to what I do. When a thought strikes, mostly I make a mental note only to forget later. While some ideas I manage to pen down. Whatever I feel passionate about, I work on it day and night, as if on an impulse. I can’t seem to follow a routine unless i absolutely have to. So there have been some projects that took me months to finish, while some I may have done just in the course of a good night.

We are eager to learn about the tools you use. Could you give us a quick preview of your inventory?

I have a watercolour set that I haven’t used in a long time, a few pencils, and a cutter. I’ve been mostly using my Wacom Intous 4 for the past 2-3 years, so most of my ‘finished’ artwork is in the digital format. I use Photoshop, Illustrator and occasionally ArtRage Studio to render.

Would you mind letting us have a peek at your work station?

I’m sorry. I don’t have a personal workspace. My tools/material/sketchbooks are all scattered throughout my room. You may have guessed by now that I’m not a very organised person.

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Pet Peeve:Dog by Mansi Thakkar

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

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You Stay Here Trueself by Mansi Thakkar

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

Do you remember the first thing you ever drew?

I’m not sure if it was the first thing, but I remember taking sheets of paper and poster paints of all the primary colours, filling an entire sheet with one colour and then the other, mixing them until it all turned black. I remember doing this over and over again.

I also remember making a portrait of my mum that didn’t quite look like her, mainly because it was a stick figure with two circles for a nose.

If you were to choose from all your work till date, what would you pick as your most favourite artwork?

I worked at a gallery called the Gallery of Disputes at the Conflictorium in Ahmedabad for my final graduation project a couple years ago. I don’t know about favourite but it was definitely the most interesting and ‘mind-broadening’ work I’ve done thus far.

Procrastination- how would you define your relationship with it? And how do you deal with it?

I let it be. I read, watch films. And wait for myself to get bored of it. It’s worked till now, so I guess it’s a good relationship.

What is the one thing that keeps you going?

Distractions. I make sure to distract myself regularly from the monotony and meaninglessness of life. Currently I’m taking refuge in listening to stand up artists such as Bill Hicks, Doug Stanhope, Sanjay Rajoura, Radhika Vaz… It feels cathartic and I can continue in the grind.

Does music play an important part in your creative process? Could we get a peek at the top songs on your playlist right now?

Not necessarily. I can and do work without music. I’m not a music enthusiast. I only listen to music when I don’t have much going on in my own head, which is mostly in simulated scenarios. More than music what I need is constant chatter. These days I’m enjoying listening to Radiolab podcasts while working. And if I really really need to concentrate on something, I play news debates for white noise.

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Pet Peeve:Cat by Mansi Thakkar

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

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Round Table by Mansi Thakkar

Tshirts, prints, notebooks and more available here.

If given a chance to work with any artist in the world, who would you pick?

Marina Ambrovich.

If you weren’t an artist, what do think you would be doing?

I might have taken my desire to be a journalist more seriously.

If you could have only one superpower, what would you choose?

Ironically, it would have to be an invisibility cloak.

If you could give one piece of advice for aspiring artists reading this right now, what would that be?

Just listen to your self. Stop trying to find validation for your art/self- something I try to follow myself.

How has the journey with Cupick been thus far?

It’s been good. I’ve come across some great work thanks to this platform.

 

Check out more of Mansi’s artwork at Cupick.com/mansithakkar

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