Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Collaboration of winemakers and artists

In October, I visited Paraduxx winery for one of the wine tasting events. Paraduxx winery is located in the center of the Napa Valley along the Silverado Trail. The team grows grapes and makes rich red wines. It offers many wine tasting, mixing and pairing classes in modern estate building and hosts many events for their wine club members.
I noticed that their wine bottles are adorned with artistic drawings of ducks on the labels. I just realized that my knowledge of ducks was limited to few ugly ducklings. I had to do some research on them. Paraduxx has commissioned an artist every year to create an original painting depicting a "pair of ducks" native to the Pacific Flyway. Each individual artist utilizes unique mediums such as water colors, oil and acrylic wash to create their works. These original works are then transformed into labels that adorned the proprietary blend bottling. The photo shows three years wine labels and they are done by different artists but they all have similar lookl of airy and dreamy feel. This is perfect for artists to promote their work to the exclusive club members and other wine buyers. Also, it is in support of the effort of conservation of the wetlands of Pacific flyway. It is perfect cross union of art, the global conservation awareness and business of selling wine.  For More information on artists or Paraduxx Winery ,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Zoom Into SnapIt

I came across this simple software- “SnapIt - Screen Capture 3.9”. I decided to write about it because it fits in my blog titled – Creativity and Business. The creative thoughts have gone into the design of this utility, if used correctly, can definitely affect your business positively.
At the first glance SnapIt appears to have the same function as the utility which comes free with almost all computers (mac and pcs) where by pressing the ‘Prnt Scrn’ on the keyboard, the screen shot gets captured and saved in the scrapbook or can be pasted into word, or other programs. SnapIt does it little more than that it gives the user control to capture the exact region of the screen by marquee.
I have shown three examples below indicating the use of SnapIt and benefits over the regular screen shot. You can see the screen of President Barrack Obama’s speech on Diwali on Youtube.com. Without SnapIt, on the left photo, you have all the distraction of my Firefox’s menu bar on the top and bottom. It does not indicate clearly what I am trying to convey. SnapIt allowed me to be precise in my screen shot without spending any extra minutes.

Second example is the scalability of my text region and so it becomes easier to read in comparison with the regular screen capture.

Third example is taken while working on the remodel project in Autocad, You can exactly tell which one is with SnapIt. The best part is that I am using SnapIt constantly to document my progress.

Also, having a camera icon on my bottom task bar enables me to use that function more frequently. It is almost like having a small camera on my fingertip so I click and click. Voila ! All the screenshots are organized, named and stored the way I want. I don’t worry about them but I know where I have stored them and what I have named them.

I am capturing the screen much more than I have ever used it in past due to its creative interface and the ability to control size of the screen. Now, when I am working on a design of a house on AutoCAD, I constantly record my process of moving walls through SnapIt. I may even make collage or animation of those 40 screenshots captured with SnapIt - Screen Capture 3.5.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Glass Pumpkin

The pumpkin is a gourd like squash, varies in size and color from yellow to orange.
An orange pumpkin is the big star of Halloween just like Rangoli for the Diwali festival. There are various folklore and festivities associated with the pumpkin and Halloween. Children in various costumes visit neighborhood homes for “trick or treating”.

During Halloween time, people carve hollowed pumpkins with different designs, put candles in them in the night and arrange them in the front of the houses. Pumpkin craft is very popular in America and other countries.

The craft of pumpkin carving happens in the real pumpkin, but the glass artists have been creating pumpkins by blowing molten glass. In Palo Alto, every year, Glass Pumpkin show is held by glass artists. People come to see these beautiful, translucent and colorful pumpkins interpreted and created by artists. They buy them to display as an art object or to create memory with their family members or just to enjoy its beauty. It can vary in prices based on size, color, intricacies and so on.

Pumpkin and Suburb
I was driving from the soccer game in Palo Alto, CA and saw this beautiful space created by people walking on the green grass, bending down or sitting with the artists, picking up pumpkin to an eye level, touching to feel texture and admiring light they transmit in the sun rays. I had to stop by to experience this event and decide to share with everyone.

The thought occurred to me that this green grass field in front of the Palo Alto Art Center transformed into the live space buzzing with business and creativity. I call that an adaptation of the open space.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


As I just completed reading "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and thinking about the "Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" by Eckhart Tolle. My friend invited me for her yearly Diwali (Indian festival) Party. I remembered last year’s party and had to go through my photos to see Rangoli, which she had painted in the entrance on the floor. So I decided to reflect my thoughts on Rangoli.

What is Rangoli?
The word Rangoli probably is derived from "rang" (color) + "aavalli" (row), which means row of colors, creepers of colors. Basically, Rangoli is the art of drawing images and motifs on the floor of homes near the entrance using different color powders. Generally these floor decorations are done at auspicious occasions especially in Diwali. The traditional designs are geometric patterns and motifs of leaves, lotus, peacocks, mango, etc. Designs vary based on the materials used. Different materials are used in different regions, Dry rice powder, and colored chalks/powders are used in South and wet colors are used in North. I remember drawing geometric design with acrylic paints in my home growing up in India.

The Rangoli in the photo, done by my friend Ruby Who is originally from Calcutta, Bengal in East India and now resides in Saratoga, CA. She used her fingers to paint white rice powder mixed with water in a very artistic way to paint Rangoli. The thickness and curve of the lines vary by the movement of fingers and hand. This sounds easy but it is not. You can not paint over and do not want to start over. You have to go with the flow and it is not about perfection and it is also about the process. It definitely is an art form. Flowers and Diya (oil lamps or Candles)are used to complement the design.

I also have included my interpretation of Rangoli in a digital format shown below. I always do gravitate towards graphical forms.

During Diwali time, people make Rangoli in front of their entrance. The primary reason of making Rangoli is to welcome Goddess Laxmi, (the Goddess of wealth) and the Guests (Atithi) who occupy a special place. The Rangoli symbolizes welcome sign for the guests, creative expression for the young ladies and an event of celebration. At a deeper level, Rangoli symbolizes the Fragility of life. The sand or the powder of Rangoli are not permanent like life. It is very much like Sand paintings done by Native Americans or Mandala paintings done by Tibetan Buddhists or flower Rangoli done in Kerala as shown below. It seems like people must experience something special Spiritual in the process of creating it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Wood Block Printing

My sister is deciding to start her textile unit and use her graphics skill to transfer into textile design and printing. Being very conscious entrepreneur, she has decided to use eco-friendly vegetable dyes for dying and printing fabric. That brought back my memories of wooden blocks. What I am referring to wooden print blocks which are carved of sustainable harvested brown hard Indian sheesham wood (also known as Indian Rosewood - a member of the Teak family). Sheesham is a hard wood with dark brown color. It is perfect to carve and make stamp either for direct transfer of inks or pastes or a resist such as clay or wax.

The use of wooden blocks to print or stamp designs on cloth, especially cotton, is still common in India. The designs vary from place to place, but the technique is the same. The designs are first drawn on paper, which is pasted onto a block of wood. The wood is cut with a crude engraving tool to the depth of one-third of an inch. Holes are cut to allow air that would be trapped within the cavities formed by cutting out the design to escape. This allows the dyes to spread evenly without air bubbles.

Wood Blocks

The blocks are very beautiful as just objects. They are used to print cotton fabric by artisans. They have handles at the back so they are easy to roll and press. I just have many ideas to use them. I love them to display as art objects. I can create artwork using photos of these blocks and manipulate them in Photoshop software. I can definitely line-up under the glass table. I have used them to print papers also.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blurry and dark photos of T-Shirt

This is just a short and follow-up post about the T-Shirt. They arrived and I wore it for a party. I did get good comments from few people and I already sold four t-shirts. The photos are little blurry and underexposed. May be that makes art on T-shirt jump out.

Friday, May 15, 2009

T-Shirt Design for Branding

Finally after two years, thinking and procrastinating on an idea, today the action is taken. A lot of things pushed me to act on it. My day had no meeting today and it was Friday. Well, my last few Fridays have been so memorable that I wanted to make this Friday full of excitement.
So I drove to this place in San Jose and entered this air-conditioned dark office with walls painted black. I gave my Flash card to the office manager. He took the image and put it on the virtual t-shirt in Photoshop. Wow! I put an order to print many t-shirts for both sex. The color of the t-shirt is the same old charcoal gray, which I love because it is perfect background for art work and colors to show off. I will have them with me on Wednesday May 20th and will launch it for the event organized in the evening. I have other 50 designs which I worked 12 years ago with my co-worker. I may get into competition with Woot. I need my son's attention as he spends every morning looking for new t-shirt design at http://shirt.woot.com/
Anyway, let me share the design however, you need to buy it to enjoy- just $16- first run very cheap.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Public Park is underutilized- Start Business in the Park

Yesterday I was at Shoreline park. There were few people strolling around. They are used for walk, and run. Recently I had eight weeks session of Exercise boot camp at three different parks in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, CA. The park has been identified with leisure, back to basics simple activities like taking toddlers, meditation and even romance.

How about starting business in the park- HP and Apple started in the Garages of the residences. Then we moved to Coffee Places such as Starbucks. Why can't we use the public park for brain storming new business ideas. They provide ambiance, fresh air, Greenery, company of birds and small creatures. Also, we do contribute in the existence of the park by paying taxes as local residents. It is Green action and Green is in fashion so Park can be cool place to be seen in.

Artists are known to take advantage of the park. They are smart, they have chosen a place, which not only gives them their growth in their professional pursuit but many extra health benefits. We all architects and Urban Designers need to start designing the props, temporary and Permanent to help our businesses to sprout and come into existence. We should start having popping monitors giving Internet access and still not visible when not in use. I have a whole list of designs which will not change the park's character but instead will enhance it. Keep checking, I will soon add the concepts and sketches on the site.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Is presentation more important than idea?

The project is to design Entertainment center, Library/Office space and Fireplace mantel. For the initial meeting with the client, how do I convey my design? Shall I present a concept where I have these ideas or just great presentation without any big idea? Ideas at concept level can be presented in rough sketch format, but are hard to put into 3D format because they lack many refined details so all sophisticated software are not much helpful. But the good jazzy presentation does impress client in general. I don't know what the client would like. So I learned that it is very important to know your client before you start your work. It is not about how creative are you, but how well you know your client/customer and deliver what the client/customer wants.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Can "Dum Biryani" increase the restaurant sales?

What is Dum Biryani? The Biryani is an Indian dish made with Basamati Rice cooked with spices and meat/vegetables. It has the same ingredients as Pulav but it is cooked differently. Biryani has different names for exmple, Hydrabadi Biryani, Sindhi Biryani, Kucchi Biryani etc. based on the regions of India. Now, the Dum Biryani is not because it came from Dum region, but because it is cooked, with pressure (Dum).

The restaurant has North Indian food and the menu has Vegetable Biryani as well as Meat Biryani. Now one of the partners wants To serve Dum Biryani. The Chef does not know to cook that. He wants a special cook who is specialized in cooking Dum Biryani. So the restaurant needs to hire one more cook to make Dum Biryani. Already, the kitchen has Indian cook, Indian-Chinese cook, Tandoor Specialist and all their helpers and cutters. There is no multi-tasking in the kitchen and restaurant industry. They can't cook outside their speciality. Of course, they are never going to tweet while cooking. So If twitting helps the business to grow and that means not twitting and not multi-tasking is going to decrease the business? Go Figure!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Animation by just charcoal and one sheet of paper

The African Artist William Kentridge is showing his work at San Francisco MOMA. He explains the process in which he draws with charcoal on the paper and then walks at the back of the room to shoot two frames. He walks back to the drawing paper which is on the wall and he erases some part of it and he shoots another two frames of it. By the end of two days, he makes the whole animation - just superb. The erasability quality of charcoal has been used for transforming the picture.
One does not need many gadgets for the creativity.

Obsession with Sketchbooks, Journals and Books

Why is this obsession with paper? It represents ideas, words, art, clutter, wood, trees and environment. In Hinduism, there is Saraswati , Goddess of learning. The literal meaning of the name Sarasvati is the one who gives the essential knowledge (Sara) of our own Self (Sva).

No wonder, I love to have papers and once you add words and sketches and photos, you get close to it. Will I replace that with electronic notebooks or digital Kindle? I don't think so. I recently attended an architecture lecture at Stanford University and the few students around me were taking noted on Laptop. I had my one of the spiral journal and nice pen with me. We all were on the same page and then the time came where one had to draw diagrams and some lines to represent the three dimensional spaces, I kept on going aith the sme speed, while all the students had no easy tool on the computer to note that. They sat still. Once they go back to their notes, I am sure that half of the concepts will be lost. Guess what - it is not very green as the power consumption of the computer is much more than my body energy.