Meetings: Manjit Thapp
Manjit Thapp - the artist bringing a diverse and beautiful range of women to life.
Artist Manjit Thapp only graduated from Camberwell College of Art last summer but is already blazing a trail with her immense and striking illustrative style. Her 52k instagram followers enjoy her beautiful illustrations that are inspired by everyone from Wes Anderson, Celine to Solange. Manjit merges old school techniques with digital processes to create her finished aesthetic. The strong visuals and innate diversity in her pieces are leading to collaborations and successful independent projects. We talk to her about reforming media the way she wants to see it and how she approaches the creative process.
You have a very strong visual identity that clearly resonates with a lot of people. Was your aesthetic something you were trying to find for a while?
It's never something that I worried about - I just drew. It’s changed a lot over time too; I don't like to think about my drawing style too much because it can feel quite restricting.
Are there any artists that inspire you or your work?
I really love Matisse's room drawings. I love how just one image gives an insight into these women's lives and how you have to read into all the details. It’s something that I try to translate through into my own work.
When did you notice you were starting to pick up speed online and with Instagram?
It's been growing steadily over the 5 years I've been on there but last year it really seemed to gain a lot of momentum because I had some really great features from places like Instagram and Dazed.
How have you been able to use Instagram as a platform for your work?
Instagram has been so instrumental in gaining a following and help keeping me motivated and inspired. I’ve been posting my work online since I was around 14 years old, so making work and posting it online feels very natural to me. I use it as a portfolio and I’m so grateful for the platform I feel like a lot of commission work I’ve gotten is because clients have found me on there.
Where did you study and what was your favourite moment?
I studied Illustration at Camberwell and my favourite moment might have been the comic I made as my final project in my 2nd year about Seasonal Affective Disorder. I was really proud of it and I felt like it signaled a shift in my work and helped me realise that I wanted to do more narrative work.
You've drawn some amazing fashion catwalk looks, have you always been into fashion?
Thank you! I've always had an interest in fashion and really love doing fashion illustrations. I love the end result that comes from combining my style with a designer’s work.
How does your creative process start once you get an idea? Where do the Ideas come from?
Coming up with ideas for my own personal work is often the hardest part for me. Sometimes I'll get an idea or be inspired from the most random thing. Usually it's music, or something small like a set of colours.
How do you create your artwork?
I'll often draw everything by hand first with pencils, scan and add colour digitally. I enjoy combining traditional and digital media in my work, I love the textures that come from using both.
You work features some badass ladies, including Solange, are there any other women that inspire you?
Lots! Frida Kahlo is a big inspiration to me. I think that my work translates my feminist outlook, but it’s not something that I’m consciously trying to force across if that makes sense?
You show a lot of diversity in your art, is this something your conscious of?
Definitely, I would get frustrated with the lack of people of colour in art and in the media. I decided that instead of waiting around I should do it for myself. I'll get messages from people who thank me for it and that just reminds me how important equal representation is.
What are you most worried about for 2017?
Last year was pretty dreadful for the world as a whole and I'm worried this year might be too. Looking over all the inspiring images from the Women’s March over the weekend has made me hopeful.
What are you most excited for on 2017?
I'm going to begin work on a book project soon that I'm really excited about! This being my first year out of university I'm looking forward to doing more commission work and personal work.