Meet Maitreyi Doshi –
The Illustrator Behind Our Wonder Theme
Maitreyi Doshi is an illustrator, visual storyteller, and design agency founder with over +10 years of experience in visual and communication design. She has a Masters from Maryland Institute College of Art in Community Arts and a Bachelors in Arts from Concord University, in Graphic Design and Political Science. Maitreyi is an avid animal lover, painter, and community artist based in Pune, India.
Hi Maitreyi – can you share your story and how you became an artist?
I fell in love with painting and drawing ever since I was a child. I remember I was always inquisitive and creative. This often got me in trouble with my teachers in school. I was a visual learner. Unfortunately school in the 80’s was very restrictive and creativity was always frowned upon. I never did well in academics in part because what was taught sucked and the teachers were incompetent to teach different types of learners. I hated learning and school. But I still loved art. I held onto this for a while growing up.
My whole life changed when I was 16 years old and in Grade 9 when I got this fabulous opportunity to submit an essay for the Junior Summit that was held by MIT Media Lab in 1998. I remember writing about Child Labour and how technology could help solve this issue. This was the time when the world was just starting to get connected with the Internet. I met some amazing people and quickly became friends with children my age from all over the world. We would have endless discussions via emails and forums and talk about making the world a better place using cutting edge technology. One thing lead to another and I was travelling and presenting papers and making interesting and like-minded friends.
But I had given up on learning and education, as I never fit in. Somewhere deep down it always frustrated me that I never did well in school. With the above exposure and opportunities that came my way, I decided to apply to American universities after taking a break for a year after 12th Grade. I eventually got into a liberal arts programme in Concord University, in West Virginia. I wanted to study Political Science and International Relations, but landed up falling in love with the art department and majored in Graphic Design and Studio Art and got a minor in Political Science. I found my passion as a Designer and I healed and started falling in love with learning.
I wanted to use my Design degree for social change, and got my Masters from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, in Community Arts. After working for a few years in the United States, I moved back to India a decade ago. I eventually opened up a Design Studio “Maitri Designs”. At Maitri Designs we love working with non-profits and start-ups to help them communicate with their clients. I am so grateful to be able to convert my passion into a profession.
What is your creative process and how did you create the illustrations for Ambrosia?
I wanted to create illustrations deeply rooted in nature reflective of Ambrosia’s brand and vision. I was inspired by Madhubani paintings, an intricate and detailed style of folk art often found in the state of Bihar in India. Madhubani painting (Mithila painting) was traditionally created by the women of various communities in the Mithila region of the Indian subcontinent.
These paintings mostly depict people and their association with nature, and deities from the ancient epics. The sun, the moon, and sacred plants like tulsi (Holy Basil) are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings (remove). Generally, In these paintings no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by images of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. Traditionally, painting was one of the skills passed down over generation in the families of the Mithila Region (remove), mainly by women.
The illustration is inspired by several Madhubani paintings creating a messy, chaotic but beautiful picture. I believe that this illustration depicts a woman’s life. We all have messy, chaotic, intricate, but beautiful stories that we lead in our lives daily. These stories have to be cherished and remembered.
What does Wonder mean to you?
Something that makes me smile, inspires me to paint, draw and simply take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.
What sparks Wonder in your life?
Simple things in life spark wonder. Looking at roses bloom in my garden, looking at birds flying in the sky. Nature sparks wonder and inspiration.
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