Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy: Cross Border Conversations

Art of the Amorphous
STIR X LOCO Design present type designer Shiva Nallaperumal and illustrator Tim Molloy in conversation on the art of breaking down the very source of creative inspiration.

by Zohra Khan Published on : Aug 20, 2020

In the seventh episode of Cross Border Conversations, Mumbai-based Shiva Nallaperumal, and Tim Molloy, who hails from Melbourne, discuss the play of characters and avatars in programmed and fictional realities.

While one conceptualises fonts from asemic writings and lost scripts, the other narrates stories through surrealist comic books. Both the practices are an interplay of invocation, re-imagination and innovation. In the 50-minute conversation, Nallaperumal and Molloy walk through each other's creative journeys and examine why each pursued the path that demanded painstakingly repetitive processes and working round the clock.

  • 'MR Unpronounceable Adventures' and other comic books by Tim Molloy | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    MR Unpronounceable Adventures and other comic books by Tim MolloyImage: Tim Molloy
  •  A story from 'MR Unpronounceable' collection | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    A story from MR Unpronounceable collection Image: Tim Molloy
  • An apocalyptic illustration by Tim Molloy | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    An apocalyptic illustration by Tim Molloy Image: Tim Molloy
  • His illustrations reveal an ever expanding and interconnected web of dreamlike and nightmarish storylines  | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    Tim Molloy's illustrations reveal an ever expanding and interconnected web of dreamlike and nightmarish storylines Image: Tim Molloy
  •  Tim Molloy's work station in Melbourne| Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    Tim Molloy's work station in Melbourne Image:Tim Molloy
A background quest in my life that I am not really forging ahead with, at the moment, is to try and create something that gets me close to that Big Bang kind of feeling. – Tim Molloy

Molloy, who has been drawing since the age of five, attributes his interest in illustration to his early surrealist influences. A big fan of Salvador Dali for as long as he can remember, it was a shocking revelation at the age of 10 and a crisis in faith at 13 that led him on a life-long journey in the search of meaning. His cult work, MR Unpronounceable Adventures that took 10 years to finish, navigates through the comic artist’s own humorous misadventures.

In the episode, Molloy recollects a fond memory from his primary school when a picture he drew of one of his teachers had made him famous. Following this incident, as he says, there was no looking back.

  • A picture of Tim Molloy from his childhood | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    A picture of Tim Molloy from his childhood Image: Tim Molloy
  • Early avatars drawn by Tim in his junior school days  | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    Early avatars drawn by Tim in his junior school days Image: Tim Molloy
  • A memory kept alive in an illustration by Tim | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    A memory kept alive in an illustration by Tim Image: Tim Molloy
I don’t think typography or graphic design is what I do. What I do through these is what I am interested in. – Shiva Nallaperumal

Nallaperumal, on his part, remembers his childhood fondly as it was filled with books. The Chennai-born designer recalls his father’s extremely pricey (but totally priceless) gifts to him, which include scores of Tintin comics that are still part of his most cherished collection.

  • The young Shiva Nallaperumal with his mother | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    The young Shiva Nallaperumal with his mother Image: Shiva Nallaperumal
  • Nallaperumal's treasure trove with scores of 'Tintin' comics visible through the glasses | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    Nallaperumal's treasure trove with scores of Tintin comics visible through the glasses Image: Shiva Nallaperumal
  • More books from his collection | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    More books from his collectionImage: Shiva Nallaperumal

Studying in a design school with dreams of wanting to be an animator one day, he shares an interesting story of an assignment that made him choose a different career. The story goes that it was two weeks of endless working on an animation project, which translated into a mere five second video, a result that gave him much frustration and a parallel heartbreak. Typography always fascinated him, no matter how time-consuming it was to turn hundreds of iterations of a single letter into a unique font. Today, at the helm of Studio November with his partner and better half, Juhi Vishnani, he draws contextual inspirations into identity systems, custom typefaces and interactive design.

  • Inspired by post-apocalyptic science fiction: Rekall typeface by studio November  | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    Inspired by post-apocalyptic science fiction: Rekall typeface by studio November Image: Shiva Nallaperumal
  • An experimental display face with layering capabilities: Calcula by studio November | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    An experimental display face with layering capabilities: Calcula typeface by studio November Image: Shiva Nallaperumal
  • Inspired by a cowboy film: El Topo font by studio November | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    Inspired by a cowboy film: El Topo typeface by studio November Image: Shiva Nallaperumal
  • 'Saurashtra' conceived in collaboration with street artist Hanif Kureshi for STIR event, MATERIOLOGY 2.0 | Cross Border Conversations | Shiva Nallaperumal X Tim Molloy | STIR X LOCO Design
    'Saurashtra' conceived in collaboration with street artist Hanif Kureshi for STIR event, MATERIOLOGY 2.0Image: Shiva Nallaperumal

Nallaperumal's practice has given form to bold and experimental fonts such as Calcula, Rekall, and El Topo. He says that style, in people’s perception, takes precedence over content but for him, the story always comes first and understanding why it needed a certain style, second.

Permeating art, self and everything in between, the conversation between Shiva Nallaperumal and Tim Molloy also visits subjects such as fictional storytelling in illustration and the absence of it in type design, mental health in art making, the fine line separating legibility and innovation and the graphic shape of things to come.

All this and a lot more in the video above!

Cross Border Conversations
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji and Amit Gupta, STIR X LOCO Design present candid video conversations among creative professionals across geographical borders and creative disciplines of architecture, design, art and beyond.

LOCO Design: Shape of things to come
Steered by values of leadership and integrity, LOCO Design strives to create aesthetic innovation with a creative essence enriched by design values, master artisans and technical expertise, contributing to a responsible future.
Know more at www.locodesign.in

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