Furqan Jawed: Challenging the Mainstream

Furqan Jawed: Challenging the Mainstream

Furqan's keen interest is in text-based art, and photography. His works play on mundane everyday situations with a satirical subtext, primarily via typography as a medium.

KS: Give us a brief backstory of you choosing Graphic Design as a career?

Furqan: As a child, I was always interested in art. Drawing was fun but I was not really good with colour. In my teens, I assumed engineering was a cool option because all my friends were doing it. While my casual drawings turned into casual Photoshop fooling around, I didn't think too much of graphic design professionally. I was quite ignorant then. Two years into engineering, I despised what I was doing. None of the subjects interested me, and I decided to opt out. I took a year off, made some immature design work, took up a job as a graphic designer in a local studio, and a year later I found myself at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology.

KS: In the last few years of you having being a practicing designer, any key moments or highlights that stood out for you?

Furqan: Well I think a lot of projects have contributed to actualize the kind of work I do now. In particular, I'd say "A BAD GIRL" really began to make me wonder about the power of a simple idea resonating with so many people, and the vastness of reach using the Internet as a medium. I was quite happy with "A Poster A Day"; it was challenging coming up with work that I was at least 80% happy with on a constant basis (owing to the time constraint of an hour for a poster) while handling an internship at the same time.


Seen Above (L-R): Bad Girl, 2015 | Where is the After Party? from A Poster A Day

And I think in my final year, the first semester I ended up at a realisation, that I don't want to contribute visual rubbish to a world that's suffering from enough pollution of all kind. I was tired of making meaningless "pretty" images. Graphic design is known as the art of combining text and image. In the internet culture where the same definition could be applied to a meme, I think questioning the value of the graphic design work has become very important. Rejecting mainstream notions of text and image, trying absurd combinations, contextualising one's work and challenging expectations of viewers was a space that I began enjoying more, and I think that's a really significant discovery that happened over a course of time in school.

KS: Across the various types of design projects you take up, which medium is your favourite and why?

Furqan: I think posters are my all time favourite as a medium. It's almost a pure form of graphic design. Lately I've been working in an environment which is very heavy on "street and public art", and the different ways one can express them on the street is exciting. I've been making collages for a while now, but mostly all digital. Recently, I did some work that was a good mix of digital and manual collage and paste-up with the studio I'm working at the moment. The scale was a challenge and exciting at the same time (about 21 x 5ft).


Close ups for Guerrilla Art + Design Studio based in New Delhi

As my graduation project I took my initial 2D digital compositions/experiments and adapted them for a space, so it was a lot about art-direction and eventually evolved as an experience that works best as an installation. That's one direction I would like to explore more.



Seen Above: Antisocial poster designed by Furqan

KS: It is always exciting to know what an artwork means to the artist, can you talk to us about any one of the works curated by Kulture Shop?

Furqan: Need/Weed by far remains the singular most popular design that I've made. While the meaning of the work is very obviously self-explanatory and literal, the phenomena of how the poster was adapted by every John Doe seeking to making it in the fast-changing culture of quick prints and mobile cover 'art', was definitely more intriguing. While initially I was upset, hurt even, that I had to prove that I was indeed the first one to actualise the idea graphically, those feelings were swiftly replaced by wonder and acceptance that it is not really in my best interests to chase down every illegal manufacturer and claim compensation or even an apology. This does not mean that I do not support or concur with artists wanting a more rigid legal system that protects the IP, but only that I'd rather spend that time making some new work.


Seen Here (L-R): Forever 69 - Phone Case | Need / Weed - Notebook | Jazz it Up - Men's Tee | Just Kidding - Greeting Cards | I Don't Give a Font - Mug | No Cigarette - Artprint | Need / Weed - Women's Tee | Dude - A4 Framed | Ishq - Laptop Skin | Jazz it Up - Coasters

KS: What are you up to now ? Any interesting things your fans should watch out for?

Furqan: Currently I'm working as a designer at Guerrilla Art and Design, Delhi. There are a few interesting things in development, but it's too early to be spoken about publicly. I'm also working on some collages, and mixed media artworks, which hopefully can be published in the coming weeks.

View Furqan Jawed's artist page here.