Chennai-based artists’ designs make it to the silver screen

While studying for his 10th board exams, Arun began scouring the internet to find people who have been interested in poster designing to build his circle.
Poster designs of Iruddhi Pakkam and Jail
Poster designs of Iruddhi Pakkam and Jail

CHENNAI: The idly cooker whistled in the morning, with a combination of birds welcoming the sun in a melody. He ran to the newspaper and picked it up scanning through it to find the posters of new releases. Seeing the colours, the patterns, the design, and the font, created an impact on him and held a special place in his heart.

“I would cut out my favourite posters from newspapers and keep them. I had a book in which I wrote down the names of the films whose posters I liked. My parents would yell and ask me to stop wasting time and do something useful and study. But they understand now,” says Arun Kumar, poster designer, who has designed for films like Jail and Irudhi Pakkam.

Talking about how his journey began as a poster designer, he says, “I would say social media drove me to actually do something for my love of posters. In 2014, when Kaththi was released the internet was going crazy over the design of the poster, and as a fan of Vijay, I loved it and wanted to learn how it was done.”

For Arun, this was the push that motivated him to learn the art of poster designing both artistically and technically. He says that he invested a lot of time learning from YouTube and trying out tutorials that he lost interest in school. “I wanted to be an astronaut,” he chuckles. “My parents wanted me to study well and do something big and worthwhile. But I had lost all interest in studies and wanted to put all my time into my art,” he continues.

Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar

While studying for his 10th board exams, Arun began scouring the internet to find people who have been interested in poster designing to build his circle. His network slowly grew and he began making posters for short films and music videos.

During his bachelor’s course in visual communication, Arun found Santhosh and Tharun on Facebook, having instantly found a connection and common ground. Arun founded his company Pixel Draw Media in 2018.

While studying and doing small-time projects for corporate companies and short films, Arun was determined for his big break into the industry and continued making posters and sharing them on his social media handle. His fan arts of several notable celebrities are what got his attention and gave him his big break.

Talking about how he landed Jail, he says, “When Ponniyin Selvan was announced, I randomly made fan art of Keerthy Suresh as one of the characters in the film. That suddenly became viral and my profile gained traction.

“One day, GV Prakash’s manager got in touch with me on Instagram and told me that they were interested in taking me on board for the posters and publicity design. That really got the ball turning, after that, I got to work on Irudhi Pakkam and I have a few more projects lined up.”

He says one of the biggest challenges in the industry is designers need to earn the freedom of creativity. “Until and unless you are lucky, a director or producer is not going to entirely put his faith in you and give you the creative freedom. Often, I would have an idea in mind and the director would have a different vision; which I will have to oblige. Earning the freedom of creativity is a huge process in the industry.

“But now, with appreciation and understanding for art, it is gotten simpler and a lot easier for designers, especially beginners to explore and venture out professionally.”

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