Doodlemapuls is an illustrator collective headed by a trio of architects - Yash Shetty, Amal Nairm, and Kirthi Pillai. The trio has been working in tandem since their early college days and call themselves ‘Mapuls’ which is synonymous with ‘bantai’ (friend) in South Indian lingo. Hence, the name ‘Doodlemapuls’ came into existence.
We decided to get candid with the illustrator collective about their impact in the world of design and an era of dynamic design consciousness.
I. What inspired you to kickstart Doodlemapuls?
‘We’ve been working with each other since our initial college days on various mediums of art but never termed it or clubbed it under one umbrella. It was during this lockdown that we decided to start materialising the art that we always envisioned.
We got a break, after we graduated in 2020, to sit down and think about which career path to move ahead with. As architects, our field is pretty time consuming yet we created a small window to fit in a medium of art that let us open our minds. So in other words, Doodle Mapuls is the colourful escape from the hustle and bustle of this monotonous life that we live in. The satisfaction we felt while doing this eventually led us to officially establish Doodle Mapuls.’
II. How do you seamlessly blend your cultural roots into your artwork?
‘We’ve had a simple motto since day one - to create a street language that completely resonates with the common man of India.
If we look at street cultures around the world, we can clearly distinguish cities from the language of art they represent. India is so rich in culture and that opens up a whole palette of possibilities to blend and create art that speaks to the masses and creates a language that stands out.
This palate of possibilities is what we want to inculcate in all our illustrations, be it ‘The Retro X Techno Punk Series’ or the ‘The NBA Series’ or the ‘LIT Series’, we’ve created an environment that is completely different to the context of the character. We haven’t created something completely new; we just mix and matched elements we see every day on the streets.’
III. Doodlemapuls engages in a cross-cultural network of the artistic community. Could you elaborate on that?
‘As we started off during the lockdown, we had only one way of reaching out to people and that was through Instagram. It’s the one platform that brings together various artist communities and makes them approachable.
Initially, we started off by creating illustrations that describe the hip-hop scene of India, Mumbai particularly. As we went ahead, opportunities came our way which helped us reach even more communities. A Few of the most remarkable opportunities were our collaborations with Urban Monkey, SlimJim India, Dust Of God’s, NBA India, Midday Newspaper and Indian stand-up comedian Nishant Tanwar.
These collaborations helped us connect with more artists from various fields and that pushed us in promoting the language of illustration we follow.’
IV. Your take on the current homegrown creative industry?
‘The lockdown in 2020 proved to be a boon to the homegrown creative industry as it gave people time to work on art in any form, which was left behind in the hustle of life.
This period gave rise to remarkable artists who inspire us to do and be better. The industry right now is beautifully flourishing with fresh content which has never been seen before and thus creating a competition that is healthy and leads to creating a community of strong personalities.
A strong homegrown creative community signifies a strong statement; the art created is being perceived by the crowd creating a mass weapon of communication.’
V. How is your art transcending mediums?
‘Our art uses colours that resonate with the millennial crowd; neon and pastels. These colours when used together create a harmony that depicts a hypebeast culture which is relatively new in the world of fashion.
Customisation is a field of art that helps to directly materialise creatives without needing to directly manufacture products. Hence, putting art on products like skateboards, caps, and shoes becomes easier as all you have to concentrate is on the art as the manufacturing is dealt with. This gives us the mind space to explore the art more, bring in new ideas and thus reach more communities with a common language.
Our main goal is yet to be achieved. We want the art we make to transcend to architecture, as we want to create a language that can not just be worn but also felt. That is possible only if we create a space to communicate our thoughts and create the right vibe.’
Check out their incredible body of work here.
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