Women Series | October Edit
Women series is a monthly edit to explore creative entrepreneurship amongst women globally. Through this series, we wish to understand creative journeys, challenges, inspirations and develop a community. For the October edit, we have interviewed Maud Vantours (Paris, France) and Adishree, Richa and Anuradha of Agenc Colab ( New Delhi)
Tell me about how your creative journey started. Did you have creative influences growing up? What education/ training did you receive?
When I was a kid, I wanted to have a job that consisted of drawing all day long…a perfect job. That’s is how I started my art studies and how I became a designer.I started my art studies in Duperré school in Paris for 3 years. My speciality was textile, materials and surface.Right after my graduation, I started to work as a freelancer in 2009.
What has been the source of inspiration for you( people, travel, places, cultures etc)?
One of my first creative inspirations was a visit to Cuba. The colonial architecture that I saw had walls that were painted with bright colors, but because of the extremely wet weather in Cuba, the layers of paint were damaged and people had covered it with other layers of material and color. That led me to start researching topics like accumulation and superposition. In the end, I started to experiment with cutting different materials, which led to designing in 3D, which is where I am now.
But inspiration can comes from anywhere. I’ll sometimes have a list of themes that I want to explore, which might take inspiration from different cultural aesthetics, maybe Russian or African patterns. Or sometimes I have no idea where my inspiration comes from. The idea will just visualize in my imagination, or something will pop up from my memory. Most of the time it’s not a well-planned, thought-out process.
Can you also talk about your experience of working in India and Paris. Do you think your cultural identity brought influences at work?
I think India influenced me with all colors, patterns and mix and match. It was really inspiring to live in Bombay for a while.To work in the textile Indian industry was an intense and rich experience.I don’t know if Paris influenced my work, maybe in an unconscious way, because I was formed as a designer in the city.
What is the step forward for your personal projects? Would you like to share any? Could you comment about 'being a creative soul' and How does travel facilitate your ideas?
There are four steps in my process of creating work. The first of creating work. The first is to brainstorm an initial creative concept or idea.After I have a concept in place, I’ll begin with a small pencil sketch and work it out digitally. The idea is usually 3D in my head, but it’s still 2D in my digital design.The third step is to find the perfect color combination. It can take me several hours to days to find the perfect color palette.Finally, I’ll cut the different layers. When everything is cut, I will create a sense of depth and volume. This is where the work really comes alive.For all my personal everything is hand-cut. My cutting is very precise. I’ve been doing it since a long time, so I’m almost like a robot. When the work is for a client and is really big, I’ll use a machine.
Could you comment on the current landscape of independent artists and how brands are more open to experimentation.
I always wanted to be an independent designer, a freelancer because I wanted to be free to continue my personal work and to experiment. It’s absolutely necessary because my personal work feed my commissioned work.I think to work with a freelance is interesting for brands, to have a different vision and try a new vision and experimentations.
Would you say being a woman creative has its pros and cons?
I think my work could be really feminine that’s why I work a lot with cosmetic brands, but not only. I have to work with the brand identity and sometimes to put my personal tastes on a side.
Special Feature, Founders of AGENC COLAB
Richa, Adishree, Anuradha
Tell me how your journey so far. Did you have creative influences growing up? What education/training did you receive?
Do describe our journey, we'd have to use a couple of words - hectic, bumpy, overwhelming but most of all exciting. All 3 of us went for our undergrad to Parsons The New School For Design, New York. We had different majors, Photography (Richa), Fashion Design (Anuradha) and Design & Management (Adishree). "We were always curious about art & design, I think it has a lot to do with your background and the likes of your family, all 3 of ours were and that's really what planted the seed in us to lead us to New York." - Anuradha
Tell us about your Kashmiri connection. Do you have any stories you'd like to share?
We're actually working on a project in Jammu, which we're thouroughly excited about! (More details to follow!) In fact, we were on a holiday in Kashmir when we first really discussed how frustrated we were with the creative industry in India and the communication gap between creatives and businesses. We made a pact to start something together and help others facing the problems we were facing as well as help ourselves. "My aunt Jyotsana Singh leads the Dara Shikah Centre for the Arts in Srinagar. I have always been inspired by her dedication to put Jammu and Kashmir on the contemporary map for craftsmanship and art. I have rediscovered my love for Basohli miniature paintings from Kathua district in Jammu and through AGENC give the artists a platform to showcase their talent, here in Delhi." - Adishree.
What has been the source of inspiration for you( people, places, cultures etc)
"I've always been inspired by Urban Sociology and how people interact with each other and their environment in an urban setting. As a fine art documentary photographer, urban life has been something that I've always been drawn to. The importance of design, form and function in influencing human behavior has been the core of a lot of my projects. I wouldn't pick a specific culture or place." - Richa
Could you share the conceiving of AGENC? We are curious to know about the process and its development.
It really all started after we moved back from New York to India and were split up between different cities. It was the sudden shift from being in an environment with a crossflow of creative energy and ideas to a more isolated one. AGENC was born out of the need for individuals and brands to ideate together, work together and create together. What started out as a digital platform took a turn as we realized the need for a physical space and the freedom with which we could create and curate similar experiences to those we had at Parsons and in New York, here in India.
What is the step forward for your projects? Any interesting collaborations coming up?
We have a couple of events lined up including music gigs, slow fashion pop ups, brand launches and photoshoots. We're planning to get into regular weekly events that are smaller and focused at engaging with our community such as Drink & Draw, Open Class Critiques, Art & Design Movie Nights and so on.
Could you comment on the current landscape of independent art/ curation industry in India?
I think we're at a better place today since galleries aren't the only places to show art. We're moving away from traditional means of showcasing talent to more disruptive mediums. The idea of a digital gallery that isn't only attracting the serious art buyer but also others who are curious to know more about art & design from various unrelated fields makes this space more inclusive and accessible to everyone. We've always had some great talent in India but the convenience of social media has made it easier to be discovered and directly engage with a wider audience.