The mural titled “Fish Out of Water” is a collaboration between India-based architect and illustrator Aashti Miller and German Greta von Richthofen, who works on documentary stories and graphic novels.
Fish out of water mural in Lodhi settlement
Adding to the 60 murals in Delhi’s Lodhi arts district is a new addition – a menagerie of unlikely but living creatures, including an owl on rollerblades, a fish with wings, a flamingo on a bicycle and a whale floating in the airs.
The idea is simple, when you have the power of imagination nothing can stop you from traveling the world, or a fantasy world such as the one painted on the wall. And why not allow a fish to fly or an owl to skate?
As the mural’s painting duo put it, “It’s a really democratic way to travel through your imagination.”
Imagined, designed, sketched and painted by two young female artists, Aashti Miller and Greta von Richthofen, Lodhi Colony’s latest mural is an ode to travel without borders.
Stuck in their respective homes in India and Germany during the lockdown, the two artists, who grew up to call themselves “traveling companions”, were brought together by the Mumbai-based St + art India Foundation and the Goethe Institute in the frame of the “Graph” of the latter. Travel diaries project. It aims to “capture, document, explore and encourage interactions between artists, while presenting their work in a public and safe space”.
Stretched across a wall 100 feet wide and 35 feet high, the brightly colored mural, titled “Fish Out of Water,” is eye-catching to say the least. Pausing and reflecting, of course, reveals the painting in greater detail than was previously visible to the eye.
Both artists revealed that the painting has elements native to their respective countries. The skater owl, for example, is an Indian breed, while the Blaumeise and Eichelhäer birds, native to Germany, can also be seen on the mural.
The collaboration between Miller, who is an architect and illustrator by profession, and Richthofen, who works on documentary stories and graphic novels, was not the most natural, at least at first.
Coming from different backgrounds and having grown up in different cultures, it was natural for the two artists to have different creative approaches.
However, communication was key as the collaborators became friends on their shared creative journey. “We had a lot of talks, Zoom calls as we shared ideas and planned our design. But even with all the planning, we were still making changes while painting. A lot of changes were made on the fly,” Richthofen said.
There were no disagreements? “Any disagreements were in the form of suggestions, and we both appreciated that,” said the German illustrator.
The first sketches that Miller and Richthofen sent to each other were of fish, “flying around and doing fantastic things”. It was then collectively decided that whatever the final design was, they would keep the fish. The fish was kept.
Once finalized, the design was projected onto the wall and painted by Miller and Richthofen in 11 days, with help from Mumbai-born artist Mahesh Kamble, who helped the two painters negotiate parts of the work. giantess.
The mural also depicts two hands on either side of the large arched doorway in Lodhi Settlement Block 6, holding a pencil which is then held up by a bunch of balloons.
The mural in Delhi is only half of the part of the Graphic Travelogue project in India, the second half will be painted in Chennai, showcasing the “head” of the painting, Miller said. The design for which was completed, they said.
The vividly colored mural has added another focal point for photography and art lovers which can be seen every day at all hours on the streets of Lodhi Colony. “Being in a public space, we hope everyone will enjoy it,” the artists said.