Cutting Edge Design
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Husband and wife duo, Harikrishnan Panicker and Deepti Nair discovered the magic of paper and light quite by chance. Since then the engineers-turned papercut artists have gone on to international acclaim for their unique style.

What does art mean to you?

For us, art is engagement. The role of the artist ends with the creation of the piece and once it’s out there in the world, it’s for the viewer to engage with it and absorb what the artist had conceived or felt while creating the art piece. Our work thrives on the concept of exploration, utopia and hidden worlds. It is a harsh contradiction to the lives most of us live in cities, surrounded by technology. We believe our art transports the viewer into a different world, an escape from the real world… a fantastical world.

How did you fall in love with paper cutting?

It happened by chance really. We had just moved base to Denver in 2010 and in an attempt to connect with the local art and design fraternity, we signed up for an art charity event. It was a last minute decision and the deadline was the next day. We just had some watercolor paper, watercolors and a small wooden box with us as art supplies, and we made our first paper cut diorama. We got a great response to our work and we realized that this is an art form we can explore further.

The more we started working with paper, the more we realized how great the medium was. We had individual styles of our own (Hari has a more minimalist approach to design and illustration, while Deepti’s style is more detailed with an inclination to painting and sculpture) and we soon realized that paper cut art is an artwork where we could both equally contribute and create.

 

Were you always inclined to design?

HP: It took us a while to realize our calling. I started out with designing for an eLearning company after graduating as an engineer, and soon realized that I needed to learn more about design. I heard about the Visual Communication course at IDC-IITB through a friend and was instantly hooked. I ended up applying to IDC the next year and got through. It was an absolute eye opener; the learning was invaluable, but meeting like minded people taught me to be more open to design and art. Even though I trained as a graphic designer, I always loved illustrating, and this led me to work as a senior art director for brands like MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon.

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