Avinash Jai Singh: The Design Maverick

Avinash Jai Singh: The Design Maverick

Visual Artist and Music Video Director, Avinash Jai Singh is currently based in Mumbai. With varied work experience including MTV and O&M Delhi, his personal photography and design projects keep him going. He has been featured in – Collectives.TATE London, Rolling Stone India, MTV Indies, BranD Magazine, Indieicons, Creative Gaga and many more. Get to know his story here.

KS: In brief, tell us about 3 major things that shaped your choice to become an Artist?

Avinash: In fact, I never wanted to be an artist! But I think, since I had been winning art competitions since my 1st standard and whenever anyone used to ask about my future plans, they used to add “but obvious, an artist”. Me, being a rebel, would deny it. I tried hard, but I guess destiny got me here. Another contributor was my dad’s persistence to make me sketch every damn day. I hated it at the time. He made me see things, taught me how to observe and put it down on paper. Summer vacations were hell for me, because it meant 8 hours of painting and sketching, for the entire month and a half. I dreaded it. But, whatever imagination I have now, is because of those 12 years of art sessions with my dad. With the Art competitions, from school to nationals, I got into the habit of winning, and I guess once you are winning/getting awarded in a field, it gets tough for you to leave it. It’s like 10,000 hours — I THINK I have put IN those many hours and now it’s impossible to live without it. Every time, life has put me down, Art was the only thing that was always by my side, I would just paint my emotions  and it worked like therapy. I never cared, what someone else thought about it. Even today, I really do it for myself, art is like a return ticket to myself.


Avinash as a child | Avinash holding up the Space Jar A2 Art Print at Kulture Shop


KS: You have had your fair share of advertising agencies — what’s the story there and where are you now?

Avinash: It all began with a three month unpaid-internship with FCB Ulka, post which I moved to Ogilvy Delhi, and as luck would have it, my designs were able to crack through the KFC In-store branding, for their India launch. Before I could interpret what was happening, my designs were plastered across the KFC chains. Being a nation wide launch, it actually kickstarted my career. However, in the process I realized that I miss doing photography because of the mad hours at this desk job. I quit O&M in almost 18 months and moved to Bombay to assist Mr. Suresh Natarajan.


Signage by Avinash used for KFC

Later, I joined MTV as an Art Director. I also started doing photography for their campaigns, celebrity studio shoots, like A.R Rahman, Farhan Akhtar, Kailash Kher, Rekha Bharadwaj, Rabbi Shergill, Raghu Dixit, Lucky Ali, and many more. Eventually started directing music videos and promos. Experimented with mediums like, stop motion, animation and illustrations.


Example of work done by Avinash for MTV

Right now, I am working as a Creative Director with Ogilvy and Mather, Bombay. I am working on some amazing brands and trying to explore, how art and design can influence a bigger audience. Alongside, I am doing a lot of commercial photography — my recent ones being Jabong and Live-in Jeans with Ajay Devgan.


Avinash's recent campaign for Jabong Ads


Ajay Devgan for Live-In Jeans

KS: Could you tell us more about you 30 day project?

Avinash: 30 Days Of Summer, is a series of unapologetic images that blend Surrealism, metaphors and social commentary. Revolving mostly around social media, it explores a fickle generation’s quest for self actualization and their existential crisis under contemporary realities. Everyone today is trying on a new face from the vast wardrobe of the internet. My art explores some very familiar, everyday thoughts and find shades of grey in a black and white world, which I paradoxically interpret in candy pop colors. In-your-face, unabashed, clean, bold and minimal. 30 Days of Summer, is best described as visual adage of our times.

KS: What’s next? What are you up to? What can your fans look forward to?

Avinash: Honestly, there are a lot of ideas, which manage to keep me awake, and my absolute favorite, is this series of visuals, in which I am mixing design with photography. Haven't really cracked the look but then failing is just the beginning. There is another project that I have been working on, for a while now is, portraits without faces. This project has actually changed me as a person. It has had a stronger impact on me than any other project. This involves a lot of travelling and research, so this one has taken the most amount of time and effort. Can’t wait to share it with the world. Doing some experimental fashion shoots with a group of friends and looking for mad collaborations if anyone is listening!


Her by Avinash Jai Singh - From 30 Days of Summer Project Part 2

Avinash's vibrant artworks are available here.