“Art not advertising”: Brindha Kumar on her otherworldly illustrations for Porsche
Inspired by old Porsche models and vintage Japanese toys, we talk to the London-based illustrator about her research-led practice.
- Elfie Thomas
- 14 March 2022
“Thorough research comes first and foremost after receiving any brief,” Brindha Kumar tells It’s Nice That. “I think knowledge gives one the context and understanding required to engage in any creative process.” This was the illustrator’s guiding principle when she was approached by Porsche to take part in their No Small Dreams campaign, a project aimed at engaging a younger audience with the brand. Brindha likes making work that centres around a “tongue-in-cheek representation of modern and traditional society”. So, on beginning the project, she set about researching the car models and story around Porsche and how the brand is “interwoven with the tapestry of history”.
For the illustrations, which were featured on the front and back covers of Marvin magazine, the Porsche team gave Brindha almost complete creative freedom. Besides a predetermined colour-palette, the one stipulation was that the final work should “feel like art, not advertising”, says the illustrator. “They wanted it to be a keepsake and be possibly used as a display on a coffee table, ultimately something to cherish.”
Totally distinct from the minimal, stream-lined aesthetics of motor vehicle adverts we’ve become accustomed to, Brindha’s illustrations pay homage to the intricate technical workings of new and old Porsche models which she researched for the project. Transporting these mechanical explorations into a surreal, geometrical world, Brindha aimed “to bring the viewer to a striking and somewhat unusual place” while maintaining a design “that is pleasantly steeped in tradition”.
For commercial projects like these, the illustrator works mostly with digital software. But for personal projects her process is more “visceral and sporadic, with an array of techniques and mediums also being deployed”. Discovering an intriguing range of Japanese imagery whilst researching a recent commission, Brindha recently embarked on a personal project focused around Japanese vintage toys. “The interesting characters on display in these vintage toys are totally aligned with my style”, she tells us. Experimenting with these characters and forms, the series is an ode to the clean lines, geometric shapes and cheery colour schemes which have come to define Brindha’s illustrative style. “They essentially just make me smile,” she concludes. “I hoped to extend a similar joy outward with my interpretations.”
Brindha Kumar: Porsche, No Small Dreams (Copyright © Brindha Kumar, 2021)
About the Author
Elfie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in November 2021 after finishing an art history degree at Sussex University. She is particularly interested in creative projects which shed light on histories that have been traditionally overlooked or misrepresented.