Manasi Patankar's Match Box Series Is A Tribute To Vintage Matchboxes And Surrealist Art

L : Illustration of 'Maachis Meena' R : A selfie of the artist
L : Illustration of 'Maachis Meena' R : A selfie of the artistManasi Patankar

Want to immerse yourself in a surrealist parallel universe surrounded by loud colors? Manasi Patankar’s digital illustrations are a good place to start. She is a Mumbai-based visual artist and a graduate of the Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology.  The contrast of vibrant colors matches the fantasy worlds that she likes to create when looking for an outlet to escape the dull tones of mundane life. Her passion for creative thinking and illustrating defines her perspective and action toward everything she does.

As a child whenever she fell short of words, she would quickly turn to doodles or diagrams to get the point across. Expression through visuals is the language she knows best. Her artistic practice revolves around her life experiences and socio-personal themes that are reflected in her artworks. Patankar often uses common objects whilst changing their functional qualities for shock value, to make her art exciting. She does something similar in her Match Box series where she digitally illustrates two artworks on the top of a matchbox. It is a tribute to our desi artworks found on matchboxes that is thoroughly unique and diverse in nature.

L : Design for 'Maaachis Meena'  R: Design for 'Toofani Tiger'
L : Design for 'Maaachis Meena' R: Design for 'Toofani Tiger'Manasi Patankar

In a candid interview with Homegrown, we got to know more about the artist and her Match Box Project:

Tell us about your project.

This series of artworks are inspired by the desi/vintage matchboxes. Indian streets have many signages and shop board designs that have funny and hatke names or have vivid and weird choices in font and color making the aesthetic truly desi. Keeping these visual gems as a vantage point, I created an artwork for two characters — Maachis Meena and Toofani Tiger.

What are some things you learned while putting this project together?

I learned that a product that is simple but sometimes insignificant can carry such authentic and quirky designs that they always stand out. The fact that it is a local design gem that is super accessible and now a collector's item amazes me.

Describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create.

I like taking the ordinary and placing it in an absurd setting/ environment - beat. The juxtaposition in my visual imagery and conceptualisation also defines my contrast in color. My passion for creative thinking and illustrating is reflected through my perspective and action towards everything I do. Interpreting and transferring the intangible allure of dreams and abstract ideas to a dynamic image gives me a sense of purpose.

What have been some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career?

Surreal unnatural forms, objects, forms or patterns in nature,The reality show Ru Paul's Drag Race, strangers' outfits for color combinations, cycling, interior design, the zine format, and poetry have all been wonderful inspirations for me. I have also been influenced a lot by music and the Dadaist and Surrealist art movements.

Is there any particular project you wish you were a part of?

That would be Toma Vagner's illustration series about mental disorders.

Who are some artists currently on your radar?

SillDa , Shan Jiang, Somnath Pal, Pedro Correa, & Shweta Sharma