Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Item Number: Play it Loud, I Say!

In founders, Inderjit Nagi & Syed Ali Arif's, own words- "What an Item Number is to a Bollywood film, Item Number is to you- a brand conceptualized to spice up, glamorize and boost the style quotient of your house or wardrobe."
 And they are ABSOLUTELY Bolly-licious!

I think the Shree 420 book is my favourite. The combination of the floating lotuses and the B&W photos absolutely knocked me down!

The Meena Kumari one is my favourite, I'm posting a closer look, so that you can all agree with me ;)

Check out the Andy Warhol-esque Helen! And of course the completely OTT gold bikini Item number Zeenat Aman which isn't me, but is still kitschy-ness at its best!

You can find Item Number on Facebook here. Item Number retails from Attic in Santacruz (W) and Azaad Bazaar in Bandra (W), in Mumbai, while talks are on with many stores across the country. Many many more soon, I hope!

I love everything Indian, colourful and kitschy; not necessarily in that order and I hope you guys loved 'Item Number' as much as I did!

All images credit: Item Number

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gordon Gekko's Protege Slept Here

I watched the sequel to the movie Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps over the weekend. The original inspired me years ago to join investment banking, until I realized that I belonged at the far far end of the spectrum from investment banking :)

The apartments shown in the movie are gorgeous and are SO huge that I couldn't believe that they were actually Manhattan apartments! So, I did some intense googling until I unearthed photos of the apartment that Gekko's protege, played by Shia LaBeouf, is shown to live in.

Anybody having lived in or visited Manhattan would know how strapped we are for space. This apartment right in downtown Manhattan is a duplex with 4 bedrooms, 5 baths AND 3500 sq. feet of outdoor space!

 Stairway to heaven? 
(Sorry, couldn't resist it! Its the first thought that popped into my head on seeing the staircase)

Look at the view! Empire state building it is, as shown repeatedly in the movie. I loved the fact that there are no heavy or frilly drapes ruining the view. And the decor is so minimalistic, making the view more riveting. Also like the mix and match of the white/light chairs with the heavy leather armchairs at the end. 

The outdoor space is probably bigger than most Manhattan apartments!

Keeping in mind that a Type A investment banker is supposed to be using the apartment, I loved the clean angular look of the four poster bed, white sheets, no nonsense bookcase doubling as a desk.

 Okay, this might be irrelevant to decor but I HAD to put in a pic of the to-die-for-closet-space.
 Image credit for all photos to Julie Glassberg for The New York Times.

Also, a peek into the apartment used in the movie by Gekko's daughter. An apartment built by John Jacob Astor in 1827. More photos of the apartment here.
 Image credit: Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Creative Talent Profile: Neha Hattangdi

Neha Hattangdi is a graduate student at San Fransisco's Academy of Art University. As part of an University assignment she hand-crafted a kitschy book on Mumbai- I wish I had been this creative with my homework!

Titled 'Mumbai Masala', the book is a travel guide to the must do's and must know's while you are in the city. Note the Re.1 coins stuck on the front page.

The book contains an illustrated guide with an alphabetical listing in the devanagri script. 
Isn't the detailing beautiful? I wish Neha made more such beautiful guides on other Indian cities as well- desi Lonely Planet guides :)

The immensely talented Neha is currently working on her thesis on endangered languages and the cultural connections that are lost when a language goes extinct. 
You can find more info on her thesis at her blog. The topic is particularly close to my heart as my mother tongue Tulu, will probably go extinct in a few more generations.

You can find more of Neha's wonderful work, including the hand inked poster below, here.

Credit for all images to Neha Hattangadi

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Buddhas and Window Displays

Remember the blog post on my visit to the Asia Society? While there I also spent time drooling at their creative display of Buddhas. I love Buddhas and it was wonderful to see them displayed with such drama and creativity. All the statues had the recurring theme of 'Buddha under a tree'.

This is just a teaser photo... I just HAD to put it up as I love hanging lanterns. But you can spot the Buddha in the bottom corner of the photo.

 The hanging glass beads remind me of cherry blossoms! Note the hanging bronze birds in flight. Aren't they lovely?

A white Buddha under a tree with leaves made of mother of pearl(?)

Another bronze Buddha under peacock feathers and disco lights. Like the drama?

Now if only I could add drama to displaying the Buddha head sitting on my bookcase!

Sorry about the image quality-I was asked to take photos without using flash and as it was late evening the light was inadequate, I did the best I could!

Stay tuned for another 'Creative Profile' tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hand Painted Bollywood Posters: Indian Hippy

Remember a childhood filled with  looking up at hand-painted billboards of our favourite movies, from the rolled down windows of our Ambassadors and Fiats? They have now been replaced by digital art prints where Aishwarya Rai looks exactly like Aishwarya Rai requiring no skill of an artist to paint a convincing looking Aishwarya Rai. <sigh>

Well, the art of painting Bollywood posters is dying, but thanks to 'Indian Hippy' it is not dead yet! Yay! Indian Hippy is a collective of the last few remaining Bollywood billboard and poster artists remaining in India.

In an era where there were no trailers, it was the job of these artists to capture and depict the story line of a movie in the posters and billboards.  As Hinesh Jethwani, the founder of Indian Hippy very aptly puts it, "Film posters may have served as advertising earlier, but today, they are considered art."

Indian Happy has very generously offered a discount on their products exclusively for 'Sound Horn Please' readers!

Free shipping on their Top 3 best selling hand painted vintage posters

Mother India



Wait.. there are more discounts to come! Free shipping and a 30-50% discount on some of their kitschy products- wallets, belts, handbags and chairs.


To avail these discounts, follow 'Sound Horn Please' and drop me a line stating that you are a follower and I'll validate it with Indian Happy to ensure that the discount is applied to your purchase.

Indian Hippy also offers custom portraits hand-painted to look like a Bollywood movie poster. They have recently taken traditional Indian film poster art styles and techniques and adapted it to projects for International artists working on hand painted Hollywood movie posters and Retro-style music covers.

I would like to raise a toast to,

1. Hinesh Jethwani- For his efforts on reviving a dying art form and his efforts to making the art form more accessible to the general public, than only as pricey art available to collectors. This entailed travelling to villages to find the few remaining Bollywood billboard and poster artists and soldiering on despite his dream being called a 'ridiculous whim' on multiple occasions.

2. The Artists: For their determination and hard work in executing the challenging task of re-learning how to minimize the paintings from the massive sized poster and billboard formats that they have been traiditionally painting for decades.

Ironically, I was looking to buy digital prints of old Indian movie posters but now I'm saving up money to buy hand painted posters to contribute towards reviving a dying art form.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Creative Talent Profile: Meera Dabir

One of my motivations for starting a blog was the desire to profile some of the creative talent that I come across during my hours of 'design surfing'. I'm kick-starting that bit of my blog with Meera Dabir.

Meera paints walls. And HOW!!

 If that hasn't blown you away... digest this- Meera has no formal training in art, she painted a friend's salon and there has been no looking back. She has gone on to paint residences, commercial spaces, work on movie and ad sets and write for design mags. I think Meera's quote "Have wall, will paint. Actually, Have money, will paint." describes her the best.

Here are a few of my favourites...

Look at the detailing on the wall. Painstakingly lovely work.... A closer look at the detailing:

Makes me wish I was allowed to paint the walls of my rented apartment <sigh> 

Though walls are her focus, Meera has also painted....

 ... Furniture

 ... and created a beautiful sink that reminds me of a Turkish Bath.

I think I subconsciously chose Meera's work as the first to profile as it reminded me of the the summer holidays I spent bribing the painter(who was professionally a movie billboard and poster painter-topics on which I'll be doing posts soon) with chocolates to let me paint our walls. So, the painter got paid for not doing too much work, and I didn't get caught till I turned 15!

OK I am going to stop reminiscing and let you feast your eyes on some more of Meera's work. I loved all of them so much that I had a really tough time choosing the ones to feature.

 I love the striking colours she uses...

You can check out more of Meera's magic on her Flickr stream. If interested in commissioning Meera's work, drop me an e-mail and I'll pass on her contact details. 

{All images credited to Meera Dabir.}

Happy Labor day weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jugaad- Everyday Art

I came across this wonderful essay on Indian Artisanship, thanks to fellow blogger Anjali Ramachandran who runs a blog on 'media-related stuff'.

Jugaad is a term that is used to define- making do with what is at hand. This defines most of everyday Indian art from street signs, hand painted walls, sari designs to painted cooking utensils and painted huts.

Design is a part of everyday Indian life...
 Image credit: Ken Botnick
Personalized bicycle seat covers to make one's cycle identifiable in a sea of similar looking cycles- This reminds me of my grandfather, stenciling his initials on our ambassador to make it identifiable in a sea of green ambassadors that once roamed Indian streets.

 Fence made of old saris sewn together. And what a colourful fence it makes!
Image credit: Ken Botnick

Painted stoves

Painted Entrance ways
And of course painted trucks!

Keep reading for posts on painted rickshaws (I covered trucks before, how could I forget the other ubiquitous mode of Indian transport!), painted mud huts, street art and more!