BENGALURU: Kitsch art is making its way to mainstream fashion today owing to designers like Masaba Gupta and Manish Arora who are draping Bollywood actors in their quirky wears and accessories.
Two 24 year olds Aakash Doshi and Aakansha Kukeja's explored kitsch art while also keeping up with exams and projects at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bengaluru to launch their own brand.
The Maachis Project intends to revive Indian matchbox art using its bizzare content and revamping it using new age graphic design.
In a chat with Akanksha, she tells City Express about how it all started in an art class one day when their professor unveiled his collection of “matchboxes from the subcontinent”.
What inspired you to start the Maachis Project?
Aakansha: We were always drawn to and interested in collecting interesting forms of packaging and labels and matchboxes to keep in our shelves or decorate our walls. As we were introduced to new forms and origins of packaging in the class, we started collecting little labels and tins.
Once in college, we were studying about the art of collection, and one of our professors, Matt Lee, showed us in his collection of “matchboxes from the subcontinent,” which had over 700 different matchbox artworks. This is when the variety and extensiveness of matchbox art really struck us. We started selecting interesting labels to redesign using new graphic design styles, but wanted to keep the original content alive.
When (year) did you start it?
It started around the end of 2014 during college, but it has had its long pauses throughout. We're always looking for inspiration to create new artwork and find meaning in old matchbox art.
What were the difficulties that you faced in digitalising matchbox art?
A lot of times, people think we're diluting the art form, but that's not our intention at all. However, that's our inspiration and we are in no way claiming to “make the artwork better”. The original will never take precedence over our re-imagined design. We’re just having a little fun with the content on it.
What are you planning to do with digitally recreated matchbox art? Will you be selling it?
In order to really experience the matchbox, we feel that having it printed for people to use would be the best way of showcasing it. We want to have a large enough bank first to be able to print them and then we can get into the monetary aspect of it. Right now we want it to be treated like art and we enjoy organically discovering and creating these. We’re also trying to work out a more environmentally conscious way to print these.
How many artworks are presently available with you?
Around 15, some more in the making. We have our favourites though. We'd really like to be more active with creating content, but time is a very big limitation.
How many members did the initial team have? Are you planning to include like minded people to this?
This was conceptualised by three people, currently two people run it. We've got a few collaborators to create artworks for it. The intention has always been to create a collaborative community.
Aakansha presently works as the brand designer for a studio in Mumbai while Aakash is a film maker and designer and not the kind of soul to be trapped in one city. For the duo, a lot of new opportunities await as they are experimenting and discovering new forms of art to work on.