Sameer: As an artist/designer, I draw heavily from my observations — looking at characteristic mannerisms, nuances & archetypal facets of urban surroundings, people, design and culture. Most of my work starts with putting pencil to paper. The same approach makes its way into what we do at Bombay Duck Designs. We have a hands-on work ethic in the studio with any kind of project we take up. We maintain a fine balance between commercial and self-initiated projects and we are not limited to any particular medium.
Sameer: Being a small art/design studio, managing time and resources becomes challenging. We have a very compact work-schedule and if any project goes beyond the "intended time" due to whatever reasons, it starts affecting the cycle. Personally, I do not like labels. People tend to slot/label you as an "illustrator" or "graphic designer" and so on depending on the output of your work — I find that very limiting. The point of being independent is to have the flexibility of doing what you want, the way you want it and keeping stagnancy away from your work.
Inside Bombay Duck Designs' Studio with Zeenat and Sameer
Sameer: "Please have a seat" (my first solo exhibit earlier this year at Artisans' Centre in Bombay) was a great learning experience - emotionally and otherwise. The prints on display were of some of the most personal drawings I had made over the last 3-4 years and it felt good to put it out there. I think the exhibit made me a bolder person.
Sameer: I started self-publishing back in 2009 as an experiment to put out my own ideas and observations — this was a time when there were barely any outlets to sell such books. We now have 6 self-published books in our catalog. One of them is "BLUED book" which won us the Black Elephant at Kyoorius design awards in 2014. All my books have started with an observation and a feeling that I could translate that observation into something tangible and collectible — same with BLUED book. I started noting down instances where I saw the blue tarp being used. Then I got down to drawing them out in a limited colour palette and after the first 3-4 drawings I was sure about making the book. After that the long process of making the print files, book design, choosing paper, making dummies, making more dummies, fine-tuning, and then going into print eventually. Self-publishing requires a lot of self-motivation, time and effort and I am happy that now there are platforms like Kulture Shop who promote original work by artists.
Blued Book by Bombay Duck Designs
Sameer: Nothing planned as of now!
Publications by BDD: Top - Kala Ghoda Musings | Bottom Left: The Ghoda Cycle Project | Bottom Right: Zeroxwalah Zine
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*All images courtesy Bombay Duck Designs.