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Art for everyman


In her new collection for homeware chain Fabindia, artist Trishla Jain marries playfulness with practicality.

Things used to be simple - one went to the shops, picked up stuff for the home and then to a gallery to choose artwork for the walls. But the two worlds now flirt with each other with ease.


Luxury goods companies like Louis Vuitton have become famous for their collaborations with artists - particularly those with Takashi Murakami, who transformed the iconic LV pattern into a rainbow of colours. One of the more recent creative partnerships between Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and the French luxury brand resulted in a line of clothes and accessories - including trench coats, pyjamas and jewellery - featuring her famous dots. Kusama isn't the first to bring her artistic sensibilities to something practical. Both Picasso and Andy Warhol have done wine labels Ch?teau Mouton Rothschild.

Keeping in mind the fact that an increasing number of consumers are looking for products that have an artistic cachet, Fabindia, the Indian chain known for its distinctive ethnic wear and homeware, has decided to launch a range in collaboration titled the Artist and the Maker with contemporary Indian artists. The first line in this series is with artist Trishla Jain.

The product range, which was launched recently, has what seem like mini artworks with a very practical purpose - cushions, clothes, ceramic ware and pieces of furniture. Jain spent almost a year working with a design team from Fabindia to give her art work a utilitarian shape. For instance, her painting titled Merry Wanderer is transformed into a set of coffee tables. "This is an attempt to reach a wider audience. Art needn't be confined to galleries or a niche audience, " says Jain of her attempt to combine her visual creativity with the practicalities of everyday living.

The range bears the stamp of her creative DNA - bright colours that literally pop and a cheeky humour that transforms mundane objects like a clock face or a bedspread into objects of desire.

The idea of artists applying themselves to utilitarian product is the result of increasingly demanding customers who aren't satisfied with cheap or expensive reproductions in their homes. Now, it has to be contemporary and original. And that's what prompted Fabindia to try this as a first. Kaveri Cariappa, who heads the furniture section of Fabindia and helped put the collection together, says the emphasis was on keeping it young and fresh. "We wanted it different from our regular look, " she says. As for prices, they've been kept affordable - the line costs only 20 per cent more than the regular Fabindia collections. The bottomline is that some people may enjoy a playful pillowcase much more than a painting.

The Kaleidoscope Eyes collection is available at Fabindia outlets across 14 cities



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