Cities of Joy

Cartoonist Paul Fernandes chats with MW before the launch of his new Mumbai gallery

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Paul Fernandes has developed a reputation over the past decade for creating funny yet nostalgic illustrations of Indian cityscapes. The success of his posters and sketches has led to comparisons between him and the great Goan cartoonist Mario Miranda. After illustrating several books and posters in the early 2000s, Fernandes launched his own gallery, aPaulogy, in Bangalore in 2012, which featured 70 drawings of Bangalore in the 1970s.  Now, he is set to open a Mumbai outpost of aPaulogy, which will feature 100 watercolour prints depicting Mumbai, Bangalore, Mangalore and Goa in the ‘70s.
On starting out
“I was always interested in drawing. As a kid, I remember drawing my Hindi teacher and being punished for it. I can understand why; it was a bad sketch. I started sketching seriously not so many years ago, in Bangalore. In the beginning, I drew just for myself. But, as more and more people started showing interest in my sketches, I started working on more of them.”
On the nostalgia in his paintings
“I was born and brought up in Bangalore – Bangalore before it was Bengaluru. I have tried to capture the essence of the Bangalore where I grew up in my drawings. We used to live in these big old bungalows that were surrounded with trees. Now, all you see are tall buildings with 400 flats. My book Swinging in the 70s is a trip down the memory lane. I love Bombay too. I lived here in the 1970s and I love little things about this place. I like to include a bit of humour in my paintings. They are happy drawings of happy places. My sketch Fauna and Flora at the Fountain encapsulates what Bombay was in the ‘70s. If you look carefully, you will find yourself in it.”

On the creative process
“I enjoy the process of creating these paintings as much I do seeing the end product. A lot of thought goes into each piece as I have lived in all the places I draw and seen them change. If the journey is good, the destination is bound to be better.”

aPaulogy, in Worli, will open its doors on Sunday, 14th December 2014. The gallery will house all of Paul Fernandes’s art, his illustrated books and other illustrated merchandise – laptop bags, mugs, bookmarks and diaries. The sketches cost between Rs 200 and Rs 12,000.