Art And Design Dovetail: An Interview With Avnish Panesar

On March 22nd, 2021, an announcement in the Electronica realm shook the community to the core, more than we ever imagined it would: French geniuses Daft Punk met the end of their stratospheric road of exploration. Instagram led an outpouring of sadness and gratitude from the masses, and fan art was widespread, with some thoroughly awesome and inventive stuff on show at that. "It's safe to say I am a fan," claims artist Mr Panesar, aka Avnish, whose image of the robots caught my eye; I was intrigued to get to know his work and make-up better.

"My taste is very broad, so I enjoy a lot of music. It would have been hard to have avoided them growing up in the 90s. I had always enjoyed art culture as a young kid, and I remember seeing the music video for 'Around the World' on MTV. I was instantly hypnotised. The set, the costumes, the direction and the beat sewing it all together was something I've never seen before," he states, taking a warm and fuzzy walk down memory lane.

Mr P was always the kid at school drawing on the back pages of his jotter, not because of a lack of interest in lessons, but a fixation with drawing something, anything. Street and skate culture directed his attention. "Always trying to create music and art, hand in hand, and generally geeking out over stuff like that all the time. I liked to embrace where being arty and creative could take me. I had one hell of an art teacher at school (most of my teachers were ace, to be honest), but this was an energy that made me feel like there was a passion for being artistic and a real sense of pride in what I was doing."

It felt only right moving up into higher education, but falling further into the all-encompassing rabbit hole of the creative world. After a Foundation course in Art and Design, his enthusiasm drove him to a Design and Illustration degree at De Montfort University, moulding his creative mind into the working world. "Exactly what I wanted. Most other courses elsewhere just encouraged being creative for the sake of creating, and I didn't feel that was for me."

Avnish aims to visually get the most out of his output by stripping back to the minimal and building back up. "Less is more all the way. It's like an interesting puzzle to be solved. There is a lot of fun in breaking down complex things into form and shape, bringing in a few block colours to play with depth and construct them back," he informs.

The end of his education led to the level headed chap managing branding whilst generating creative and strategic assets for a reputable business that helps house, support and develop pioneering companies nationally. He describes further, "There is a lot to do, and I constantly push myself. Creating is definitely a solid basis for what I now get to do as a career. The scale of collaboration has been incredible too; I've been fortunate enough to work alongside architects, councils, national press, pioneering scientists, global entrepreneurs, independent businesses, award-winning, so much more."

Recalling a piece of his back catalogue that holds a particular memory lies in a design from a long way back: "My first ever logo commission created on Microsoft paint, for a chippy. Before I had the money to have the right; before I had the contacts to help guide me; before I had any value to my work at all. And no, I will not share that logo, haha," he jokes!

As numerous modern craftspeople do, Etsy is a vital platform that Panesar has employed in the past and even now pushes his work, acting as another income source. "It fluctuates for me. There are a lot of products on there that, for me, completely miss the mark of being creative. A lot of 'clip art' products from Amazon type businesses selling an abundance of unimaginative and easily produced nonsense."

This frustration makes it tough to embrace Etsy, at times, because it takes effort to cut through all of that noise for the hard graft and individual craft to permeate through. "But as a customer, since the pandemic hit, I decided to get off Amazon for finding gifts and use Etsy to find beautiful things for my nearest and dearest for all of those usual special occasions. It takes a whole lot of scrolls to find those wonderful creatives that are hustling, but it's worth it when you do."

Coming to the close, he firmly thinks of his favourite artist and what is next on the page for Mr Panesar. "Milton Glaser. Easy choice. He had the powerful ability to be an artist in a modern commercial world and personified what design meant in that world. Perfectly marrying illustration and graphic design at its best. RIP." He ends, "My career keeps me incredibly busy, and it brings me something bigger and better all the time. I love illustrating a lot; it keeps my brain energised. Going to keep creating and collaborating with great people."

Article by Beverley Knight