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Digging into design: Khyati Trehan Play’s

As part of FIDO contents, we’re gathering here some women designers to talk about some of their works. The Digging into design section aims to focus on the method and the strategy to approach a design project, presenting specifically the ideas that stand behind it and the step-by-step.

Khyati Trehan is an Indian freelance graphic designer and 3D visual artist, she currently lives and works in New Delhi. On her website, her work is described as “playful, emotive and dimensional” and after our nice talk with her, we’d like to add eclectic to the list, in the most cosmopolitan meaning of the term. 

Welcome to this new chapter of Digging into design with Khyati Trehan and, as anticipated by her audio, the Play section of her website. We started our conversation with her talking about gender equality and she gave us a very precise and sharp opinion that addressed in a way her career since the very beginning:

We then moved on to her work, and for this chapter we asked our guest about a whole range of works that she groups on her webpage under the label of Play, and that are sort of personal projects, experimentations and developments of specific ideas and new skills, as mentioned. Khyati actually would rather define her Play section as “parallel practice” than “projects”. She then goes on telling how she began to do it: “It started as a way for me to learn,” she explains.

“I always felt that learning is something I have to do, it’s something I want to do. I think it started when I got a laptop. As soon as I had the tools to be able to learn further more, a whole new world opened up.”

Many other elements are involved in these personal works, such as for example, the need to do something completely free from a brief and without deadlines: “When I do the stuff that you see in Play, I just let my hands have a life of their own, do their own thing and trying to be spontaneous.” But this is also a space for a kind of exploration that tastes like a personal challenge, and that’s the case of the repurposing, as she calls it. Going back to an old work–after some time–for the purpose of doing something new with it, makes you face a different way of thinking, that leads definitely to different resolutions:

At that time when I made the piece, I thought it was complete and that there was no other thing that I could have done to it, but couple of years later, if I open the same file and work on it, I end up making something completely different.“ 

Different elements and inspiration, but also different purposes gather here in this section, as we saw. If this started as a learning path then transformed into a visual diary, today it’s a proper portfolio, constantly in progress. We might meet childhood memories of looms and threads that, for example, give life to “The Weave”, a 3D animation of a repetitive weaving action that was about meditation. Or, again, we can find tests like the one where:

“I was about trying to create something that feels organic out of a tool that is all about geometry. I think it was more about taking the challenge of using a software that helps you create geometry, and trying to create something softer with the same tool.”

Another work that we can find in the Play section, called Ecotherapy, is a personal project where she tries again to use a 3D software to create something organic, but this time in addition to this forcing exercise, there’s the will of focusing on one singular work for a longer period, to take her own practice easier and trying to enjoy it. That’s why she got to Ecotherapy, the name chosen for this piece, that “has an element of quietness, at least for me, which leads me to think about walking in the park that always makes you calm down” she says. 

Recently, her open field for free practice and exercise moved from the webpage to her Instagram profile, basically–as she told us–for two different reasons, on one side because it’s faster and more direct, while preparing and making up things to upload on the “real” portfolio that is on the website takes you much more time to do it flawless. On the other hand, we have to recognize that nowadays also big companies are browsing everyday more and more Instagram profiles and contacting directly for assignments: 

And sadly also this interview has come to an end, for now that’s all. We thank Khyati very much for sharing her experience, and we wait for you here for the next episode of Digging into design with more stories.

*** All the images are property of ©KhyatiTrehan, you’ll need her explicit permission to reproduce them 🙂

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