BackTalk | Krishna Chavda ’08

Illustration by Krishna Chavda ’08

Krishna Chavda ’08, Illustrator

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing. My parents are both architects. I’d take their stencils and make my own floor plans or cross-sections of houses. I’d put in furniture and put people in them.

I grew up in Tanzania, in Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital. I moved to the United States when I was 13, and I went to boarding school.

My parents are both Indian. I was actually born in the United States. My first travel experience was to Tanzania when I was 2 years old. It’s been pretty much nonstop ever since.

People always ask me where I’m from. I say, “Do you want the long story or the short story?”

In college I felt I had to be a certain kind of artist. I deviated from what I was comfortable doing. In grad school I came full circle to where I was back in high school.

I guess I would describe it as this loose, sketchy freehand. I really enjoy working outside. Everything I do is pretty quickly drawn. Or maybe it’s just because I’m impatient.

My junior year I went to Italy for a semester abroad. That’s when I realized I wanted to do illustration. I was in Florence. It was amazing.

Drew has a New York semester on contemporary art. Two days a week we’d go around New York or New Jersey, going to studios and talking to artists. I don’t think any other school I was looking at had anything like it.

Nanu Illustration, that’s my doing-business-as name. Nanu is a nickname my family calls me. It’s from the Gujarati language. It means little, and I’m the youngest in my family.

In my perfect world, I would be a full-time freelancer for editorial illustration and possibly advertising. Right now I’m just building it up. I just started working at Trader Joe’s. They’re training me to be a sign artist.

I stumbled upon The New Yorker cover competition. I thought it would be a fun way to keep myself occupied. I read about their mascot, Eustace Tilley, that he was this prissy guy. I just thought it would be funny to make him look like a drag queen. They emailed us and said, “You won.” All 12 winners are featured on the website.

One Response to “BackTalk | Krishna Chavda ’08”

  1. It was great chatting!
    Congrats for the New Yorker win. There’s no limit to what you can do and where you can go, it’s up to you and you alone.
    Hope to see you sooner than later!
    Love from H and me,

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