It’s hard to picture an architect’s life through all the processes of designing, planning and execution. To some, the absurdities of an architect’s life are impossible to comprehend. In order to break down the events that unfold and to bring to light the seriousness, artists have come up with comics that not only show the daily shenanigans but also inspire through humour.
Leewardists, a team of storytellers, aim at inspiring architects and designers all over the world. With their stories, they want to connect with everyone, about what an architect does. “I would like to associate myself as a storyteller and keep making stories that inspire Architects and designers all around the world and tell a layman like my mother, what an Architect does,” says Anuj Kale of the Leewardists. Inspired by the Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel Maus, and Amar Chita Katha, they believe that beautiful storytelling with grasping visuals are what indulge a reader. They hope to simplify architecture and design through comics.
With the pandemic, these artists have had more work at hand. Having to constantly engage their readers, they come up with various intriguing and thought-provoking ideas. While they have acknowledged the effect of the pandemic on architecture, they have also carefully woven stories around it. With a lot of speculative comics on post-pandemic architecture, the Leewardists have become quite popular, especially through questioning the existing real estate and architecture communities. This piece even got translated to languages like Spanish, French and German. While most of their stories are from personal experiences, conversations with the artist’s architect father and friends are often an inspiration for some comics like the one on ‘Identity in Architecture’.
With a little bit of fiction and a lot of personal moments, they have even come up with quirky stories about a possible ‘Balconist movement’ as a direct result of the pandemic. Spending most of their lockdown days in a bungalow in a two-tier city, they had the privilege of standing on the balcony which made them realise the essence of balconies as a connection to the outside world. This inspired them to do a comic on Balconist movement, through which they also addressed the issue of politics within architecture.
By adding a bit of humour, they try to produce visual treats like the ‘Architecture frozen in Pandemic’ or even about ‘Architecture that adapts’. Over the lockdown, they have tried producing a wide variety of comics, from serious issues to something small that makes you laugh. With most of their time spent on comics and online courses, the pandemic has opened a new stage for their skills.
SARCHasm – the Architecture of humour is another comic page, started by architecture students and conceived in their college canteen. It explores the realities of being a student through sarcastic comics. “Our course has also, fortunately, given us the ability to observe things around us, build stories around those observations and present them creatively, right from our experiences on the first day of college to practical problems one comes across at the workplace.” say Kunal Gupta and Hinal Jain of sARCHcasm.
When the pandemic forced them to work from home, they were inspired to start a series of comics about architecture life before and during the pandemic. Comics on quarantine life for an architect and non-architects have been their favourite features during this time as they have been something everyone across the globe could relate to. Their comics have also been translated into various other languages, reaching a wider range of audience.
With the pandemic affecting everyone alike, sARCHasm decided they wanted their comics to put a smile on people’s faces during these trying times. With a blue tone colour scheme (as blue reduces anxiety and induces calmness), they try to make their comics relatable, light-hearted and encouraging by making people laugh at the bizarre situations and challenges of a professional life in architecture. In times like these, they try to give students and professionals a sense of belonging so that they see the brighter side of things and keep going.
With more and more people turning towards comics and memes, these artists are trying to bridge a gap in society by not only narrating the eccentricities of life in architecture through a medium which everyone can relate to, but also humouring and enlightening them, especially during these difficult times.