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Monthly Feature  //  June 2020

Revati Mathur

Illustrator and Graphic designer

Team WID  //  June, 2020

“When Instagram is a personal journey, it restores self worth.”

“Everyone is a work in progress until the end”, Revati says, and we couldn’t have said it better. As a ‘work-in-progress’ graphic designer and illustrator, Revati has always been incredibly passionate about her illustrations. Off late, she’s found herself dabbling into editorials, words and narratives, linking them with visuals and in turn creating a cohesive masterpiece. She strongly believes that “Stories and narratives are something that bind society together”. Through the same,she sees tremendous value in exploring storytelling since it comes from personal experiences and connects people at an emotional level.

“When Instagram is a personal journey, it restores self worth.” Revati's Instagram feed is definitely something to be envious about. Every piece is unique yet there is something fundamental that binds them all together! Follow along Revati's journey transcending the superficial cravings from likes, comments, follows and shares to an internalized holistic approach. Make sure to have a look at her Instagram Journal at @thisthataandtheother.

The Instagram Experience.

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Revati's Instagram feed is definitely something to be envious about. Every piece is unique yet there is something fundamental that binds them all together! Her journey on Instagram transcends the superficial (likes & follows) but instead acts as more of a visual journal documenting everyday emotions into raw and beautiful graphics that just about anyone can relate to. At first, like any other creative page, it was about the likes and numbers, but as she grew, so did her feed. It evolved into an online portal into her experiences, from when she first started off, to the present day, and taking a step further into visualizing who she can be.

Initially, just like many of us, Revati felt pressured to post regularly. But she soon realised that it affected her quality of work. We cannot stress the importance of quality over quantity. When this happens, we need to take a step back to contemplate why we do what we do — and as storytellers, it’s important that we create when we are truly inspired.

 

“It’s interesting that in a way our social media pages show our physical and mental growth/development.”

As individuals, it’s common to dread people's comments and opinions from behind the screen. She recalls a quote from Austin Kleon “Do good work and share it with people.” as it’s the comments — the good & the bad — that motivate us to be better. Being creative, Revati strives to ensure that her work brings out a reaction, either a positive or a negative reaction, as long as it’s not neutral. As for us, we believe her works of art are surely conversation starters, (we love them!). It’s through this insightful journey that Revati has learned not to internalise people's comments, but to internalise only the experience of reminiscing — a trait worth possessing.

 

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On inspiration & productivity.

@thisthataandtheother is very random when it comes to creating. Sure, like the rest of us, she does follow a process for professional work — but for her art, there’s always a point of inspiration. This comes from film, podcasts, intense conversations with family and friends, visuals or even passing thoughts/feelings. Once the inspired thought or feeling is absorbed, she builds a visual base, materialising it using colour, lines and shapes or through associations to written word or poetry! It’s amazing how this process is different for every creative — and that’s what makes each and every one of us so unmistakably unique in our own ways. Quoting what a professor once told her, Revati says “A good artist/designer knows when to stop” Intuition is everything, because there’s always room for improvement, right?

To get organised, for Revati, it’s all about writing stuff down. Making lists and checklists because we all know (very well) about the sense of accomplishment that comes from checking our lists! It’s irreplaceable, yet at times it can get overwhelming. When asked what she does to take an occasional breather, or just to take a break from ‘work’, she said, “I don't just let myself go. Some people say, I need a break from ‘all of this’. But, ‘all of this’ is my break.” Because for her, art is a getaway from mundane, everyday life. Giving ourselves time to be productive, is very important. But being productive can also mean that you spend an hour or 2 and come up with something fantastic.

Revati makes it a point to create something every 2 days or when she is inspired — and to be inspired, she says, is about the little things in life. It could be connecting with people or just going for long walks in nature. These are the things that come together to form a great work of art. It’s a cumulation of a stable mind, an internalized approach, as well as the strong support of loved ones that worked in coherence to create such a strong-minded creative individual. Acknowledging the humble privilege of coming from a supportive family of creatives, it’s always allowed Revati to keep going and pursue her dream with the right mindset. Her mantra for motivation is; Always keep the things that inspire you and keep them close!

 

On challenges, self-doubt & criticism.

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Self doubt and comparison are internal demons for all of us. But, as Revati so greatly said, we have to keep ourselves in check and stay out of that spiral. “While too much self doubt is not good, a little self criticism is okay to keep yourself humble and hardworking.” It is hard to deal with self-doubt and it was no different for Revati. Understanding that everybody is on their own unique journey, it doesn't seem very logical to compare ourselves with other people. Creativity, for all of us, is a process that takes time, patience and effort.

Often, we all deal with criticism from our colleagues and peers. Some people have said that her work was ‘too random’ or ‘too abstract’. But, we all need to learn and understand the difference between the kind of criticism we need to distance ourselves from, against the criticism that helps us evolve. Revati makes an active effort to ask people, from all walks of life, what her art makes them feel, she talks about a time when she asked the cook at her house what she thought about this painting below;


“She said it reminded her of a time when she was close to a pond in her village.” The simple joy of reminiscing a time that once was, is so personal to an individual. And that is what art is about. Art is for everyone and it’s not restricted to a particular group of people. It’s about escapism and what people feel when they look at it. It’s remarkable, because Revati's emotions and feelings are what inspires her art - something we must strive to hold on to and not lose amidst the chaos - and when it’s open to interpretation, art connects people.

On Design - the education & the community.

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We are all aware of the rather large gap that exists in design education — that which is taught to us in ‘design school’ — and the so-called ‘real world’. Being a student pursuing design during such an extraordinary time, we asked Revati what is one thing (amongst the many she could recall) that design education lacks today. “Exposure” she so swiftly answered “and also the way students are treated, like students.” The feeling of inferiority against your educators/trainers, just because you’re a learner/beginner. “If I were to ever become an educator/professor, I would rather be a guide than be somebody who imposes education on someone else.” The field is so creative, It's about what every individual brings to the table. And what the educators need to understand is that no matter how experienced they are, all of our experiences are unique/true to us and the ideas that come from even the youngest of minds may have immense value. The system needs to be more open minded. The classrooms don’t have to be classrooms, instead they need to be studio spaces that treat students like professionals. But being treated as professionals comes with the responsibility of respecting your teachers, knowing that they have spent many years working in the industry. In reference to the curriculum she says, modules and courses can be made fun depending on who is teaching you. It’s always important to let students explore their ideas to truly find themselves as creatives.

The design community, today, needs to start pushing each other forward. We get so intimidated by another's success and inventions that we tend to forget that success for one designer means success for the entire design community. Revati also talks about the independent design consultancy, Pentagram. “Everyone looks up to Pentagram. But, very rarely do we realise that pentagram is so many individuals working in so many different ways to give us an array of design solutions. No two logos would look the same and no two designers will be the same.” We have looked up to people for so long and wanted to be like them. But we often forget that there is something different we can bring to the table as well. There have been really great designers for so long in India, who are so valued and their work is always held at high standards compared to new designers. What we fail to understand is that our community has gone through such a drastic change that the need for design back then was to educate people that design exists. The need for design today is escapism, for social causes, looking at abstraction and it's no longer in the shadows. “Especially in our country, the community needs to be more open to new designers and aesthetics. There is a lot of derived visual language when it comes to 3D design. And there is something called ‘destructive design’, It's a language we see everywhere today. But it's a lot of bandwagoning, instead of understanding the need for said language.”

What's next?

Taking things one day at a time, she is currently focusing on graduation and looking forward to many exciting projects she can work on. But at the same time she wants to keep putting her art out and hopes to one day sustain herself with just her art!

Takeaways for creatives

“If I were to talk to my younger self then I would definitely tell myself that, you need to quit the competition and focus on being your true self. It's so difficult for anyone to realise it's not a competition, it's our life. But the whole concept of getting ahead and getting left behind is really relative. You can be working in a very well paid position by the time you are 23, but you could also feel very incomplete and very left behind. I wish people would say that everybody is different and we all take a different amount of time. But you will get there. And getting there, might not be what you think it is, although it will be fruitful.”

A little more about Revati

What are you reading currently?

The alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

A TV Show you recommend binging?

Fleabag.

If you could host dinner at home, who are the top 3 names on your guestlist?

Phoebe waller bridge, Jim Carrey, Irfan Khan.

Who is your favorite artist/designer?

Picasso, Amruta Patil.

A font you swear by?

None! It's all about function.

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We're always open to other perspectives, opinions and a good chat over some coffee or tea. We'd love to host a conversation with you, head on over to our Discord and get in touch!

With 🧡 Team WID.

Up Next // July 2020

"What do people see when they're asked about Clay? They say ‘MATKA!’ And that was me too" Says Yashika Munjal, a designer that aims to realise the potential of everyday objects in shaping our lives. She is trying to bridge the gap between the current design industry to the new wave of international design through her work. Check out the article for more!