Friday, June 6, 2014

NEW location!

MASALA CHAI has moved.  

Please update your bookmarks! and follow me for fresh #desihip art+design at

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lust List : Indian peacock

The most splendid bird of them all...the Indian Peacock.


Artnlight tray, India Circus Mug, Udd Dupatta, Ambii Cushion, Frame from Buynbrag, Rachana Reddy Clutch.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pardeep Singh Bahra

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Pardeep Singh Bahra, the founder of Singh Street Style, is a photographer and stylist based in London, England. 
Having started his own photography business at the tender age of 17, Pardeep has established himself in his field with his simplistic, elegant and cinematic approach to photography which can be seen through this blog.
Pardeep has had his work featured Vogue, The Guardian Newspaper, New York Daily Newspaper, Microsoft MSN, Menswearstyle, Asiana as well as many other articles.

Aarti Karwayun Chawda

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Stumbled onto Aarti's work via Artnlight: an incredible design blog, loved these collage/decoupage pieces by the artist. Aarti created these works from a vintage photography book that belonged to her grandfather.

"This series of mix media illustration is my way to connect things of the past and share love for "all things vintage" with the world. Old stories of simple, joyous things like Bicycles, Typewriters, Vespa, Cassettes find new expressions on my grandfathers old books from 1940s.

I have tried to bring these old things to life by adding real 2D elements like dried flowers, an unfinished poem on a real paper stuck to the typewriter, an old cassette tape with the reel pulled."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quirk Box

Absolutely on point with trending silhouettes, QuirkBox produces a collection that is extremely wearable yet edgy print wise. Jayesh Sachdev and Rixi Bhatia conceived QB in 2011 if I'm not wrong and their burgeoning popularity is proof of how talented and business savvy this duo is. They have countless lifestyle products and furniture that my magpie mind lusts after but I present to you their very yummy ice cream coloured collection for your perusal.

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Jessica Singh

This interview was due years ago. It's been sitting in my inbox for the past three years gathering dust. 
Jessica Singh's work is part whimsy , part anime-like, part dreamy and all round beautiful. Her surreal little details add to the imaginative quality of her works. Her subjects are often coy and lost in a wonderland of their own. She is most definitely on my lust list!


one of the most interesting things about your work is all the little details that you layer, could you explain your process? how much of it is digital/handmade?

I find that I always tend to start with the eyes. If they don't work out, then the drawing never does. The entirety of the image is formed in Photoshop, with the drawing and coloring created with a pen tablet. I guess I find this a really great medium because it's easy to edit, quickly get ideas down, change colors and helps me achieve the things I see in my minds eye.

I tend to be a layer-o-holic. My more detailed drawings end up having about 120 layers. I also never label the layers, which is pretty counter intuitive when I'm trying to find a specific thing. In terms of what is handmade, alot of texture, patterns and collage is. For my Celestial Cocoon and Arkhana series I did hand cut the papers (indian comic books, japanese chiyogami paper), glue and collage them by hand, and then scan them in, and arrange the collage into the drawing.

I rely pretty heavily on my scanner. Sometimes I spend a day hunched over the scanner on the floor, scanning things I've collected, like alfoil, joss paper, fabric scraps and odds and ends. Scanners amaze me! I love textures and patterns and I find it pretty important to somehow bring a sense of texture into a digital format which can be a little 2D sometimes. 


what do you do to get your creative juices flowing? music/pop culture/books/magazines/tv shows

Music is a huge one. I guess I have to admit that I go into a kind of trance when I draw, and most of the time each drawing relates to a song I've just discovered and played on repeat. I'm usually inspired by the lyrics of the song at the time, I find they speak to my soul. Sometimes I dance while drawing - somewhat sad, but true! That's why I find it hard to draw when people are around. As if their aura disrupts me, and the freedom to feeling. 

A big inspiration to me creatively is Bjork - I admire her boldness, it's as if she's made from fire. I think when I draw I hope to express my inner flame too.


how would you describe your work? I see a lot of asian/mystical influences , what draws you to them?

Describing your own work is so difficult. Whenever I look at my work I can only see it in sections, not as a whole. But I'm digressing. I guess I would say bold, colorful, feminine, a bit strange. But these are all fairly obvious. What I would prefer to say is esoteric, mystical and powerful. Powerful in the sense that the characters I draw are powerful, maybe even super heroines! I would also say that in some ways I see each one as a self portrait, either as a section of my personality that lives within, or just as characters that float around my head.

Yes, there tend to be alot of asian and mystical influences. What first got me into drawing was my obsession with japanese culture and subsequently, anime and manga. As I grew older and currently I've really taken a love for all cultures, in terms of folk lore. I'm really inspired by colorful headdresses and textiles, traditional ceremonies and so on. My mother is quite an esoteric character, and she did kind of introduce me to a mystical world of crystals and spirits and things like that, and my father being indian is a pretty spiritual dude himself. 

who are your favourite artists/designers

The first that always comes to my mind is Japanese illustrator Minchi. Actually there are so many illustrators I love I can hardly keep track. But at the moment I am really admiring Nathalie Lete. Really inspired by more hands on painters, and I'm hoping to bring a more painterly quality to new artwork.

how does your south asian-ness influence you/ at what moments does it peek in?

As I kid growing up I think I really rejected my Indian heritage (My father is Punjabi). But I recognise that as pretty normal for those crucial years. I think living in an isolated city (Perth, Western Australia) can really contribute to that. After having lived in London for 2 years I came to really appreciate my Indian heritage. Just after I graduated, I created the Arkhana! series which was pretty carthatic. I suppose it was coming back to my roots. I used to be obsessed with the comic books my father bought back from India, and am only realising now that their levels of fantasy and mysticism, strange colorings has really filtered into my drawing style now.

Whats your current colour palette?

Good Question! I love stealing paint sample cards from hardware stores - sorry! At the moment it's kind of a vivid blue, pale pink/peach, pale violet, bright orange - taken from a new drawing I'm working on. 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lust List : Vestal White

For when you are feeling beautiful and pure.


Clockwise : Sarita Handa pillow , Sachin George Sebastian flower sculpture , O frida beaded clutch , Tantrum lace ballet flats , Nisshk shift dress, Home Hero Chair

Giant walls

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Love these goofy toys/dolls from Giant walls. Giant Walls is the creation of Rahul and Yadnyee Gaikwad, a husband wife team that is deeply in love with design, colour, creative expression, and all forms of art unconstrained by material or medium. They also are the brains behind Giant Robot, an urban design house engaged in innovative graphic design, conceptual illustration and motion.

Vidhya Nagarajan

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 Freelance illustrator Vidhya Nagarajan's rendition of Chennai warms my heart. These are sights we can all relate to.Visit her site for more .

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lust List : Candy colours

This is my first attempt at a 'personal' lust list . This section will be a curation of items of clothing, art , decor and accessories that I lust for. Forgive my layout, it was created in a hurry on an online editor, if anybody has any design advice for me to make my job easier please write to me! :)

If you want to get on the Lust list, write to me at pavitramohan @ gmail. com

 1. Paneled Tank from Bhane, 2. Earrings from Isharya 3. Kareishma Saarna clutch 4. Bowl from Happpily Unmarried 5. Chair from Quirk Box 6. Wall Art from India Circus

Sameer Kulavoor

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I found the most incredible goodies in my mail last week. Sameer Kulavoor, a friend and design god, had sent me The Ghoda Cycle project documented in a book , as well as two fun flip books , that I'm going to post a video of. I absolutely have one of his illustrations on my lust list , for my home. But that's for later. Take  a gander at his incredible exploration of the Ghoda cycle in all it's avatars .This is what Sameer has to say about his illustrations, "The Ghoda Cycle Project' is a visual document of the myriad avatars of bicycles in the rural and urban landscape of India.The linchpin of 'The Ghoda Cycle Project' is to lay emphasis on the framework, structure, decoration and design of the cycles ofIndia.Ergonomically these cycles may not be the best examples of bicycle design, but they have the strength to carry the hopes and aspirations of a big section of the Indian population". The illustrations have also been adapted into t shirts for fashion brand Paul Smith.

OH FLIP! - Ice Gola Flipbook from Sameer Kulavoor / BDD on Vimeo.


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RasVihar , has been a boutique destination for designer fine jewelry. I myself have bought an exquisite pair of earrings here that gets compliments all the time. They are having a showcase celebrating the timeless relevance of the nosepin in a collection titled The Nosering Anthology.This series features over 40 different nose ring designs for you to choose from. If you are in Chennai on the 9th and 10th of September, do visit them. Details here.