One step ahead

Patterns, all-girl pop groups and shoe collections are just some of Nina Chakrabarti’s obsessions. Sara Manuelli talks to the Anglo-Indian illustrator about the joys of creating decorative designs

Chakrabarti worked for a few years running the Lomo gallery in London’s Rosebery Avenue while working freelance with clients such as Habitat and Nickelodeon, for which she created TV idents in collaboration with director Clare Price. A spate of high profile jobs with moving images designers and companies such as Coldplay video director Tim Hope on a pop video for band King Biscuit Time and the film Me Without You with director Sandra Goldbacher and designer Sophia Wood led her to consider that her work was evolving in different directions, possibly more 3D.

Two years ago, she decided to take some time off from the commercial world and start the course at the RCA. Here she finds time to indulge in self-promotional projects and course assignments without thinking too hard about pitching to clients – not that she is lacking opportunities or offers.

She recently created some window displays for London department store Selfridges with photographer Jane Mcleish for designer Megan Park. This month sees the publication of Angus Hyland and Roanne Bell’s book Hand to Eye, which charts the resurgence of the ‘hand-crafted’ aesthetic and approach in illustration.

Chakrabarti’s floral fonts and witty shoe collection (think diamond-encrusted Dolce & Gabbana cowboy boots) drawings are shown alongside the dreamy scenarios of Deanne Cheuk and the beautifully retro images of Izzie Kringels, somehow summing up a general shift towards a more baroque style of illustration.

Chakrabarti says she is enjoying using inks, as well as Pritt Stick, for sticking her beloved sequins. But her low-tech approach is a means rather than an end, for there is little doubt that as soon as she finishes the RCA, work will come her way. But for the moment she keeps on dreaming and drawing those fabulous shoes.

Hand to Eye – Contemporary Illustration is edited by Angus Hyland and Roanne Bell, published by Laurence King and priced £19.95

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