BACKBEAT: BONDING TOGETHER MEDIA, MARKETING AND ART

Subha Sreenivasan Iyer, Head-Media Services, Godrej Consumer Products Limited writes about media, marketing and art

27 May, 2019 by SUBHA SREENIVASAN IYER

My journey into the world of art has been integral to my everyday life as a marketing professional specialising in media planning and strategy. To me, art is an interplay of colours, forms and lines. While I’ve been an avid painter since my school days, I took it up in earnest only while I was expecting my child, when a medical crisis kept me confined to bed for a long span and I had to quit work. That’s the phase when I would paint and listen to music on most days. I also realised the immense power of artistic expression and made a silent commitment to pursue and continue with my practice as time would permit. I kept building on my works, reading about the Masters, viewing their works and visiting galleries whenever I got an opportunity. Often, for a lot of us in the corporate world, interacting with people outside the fraternity gives a very valuable perspective and that’s where I gained immensely from art.

An artist’s journey is a lonely one. When I am standing in front of the easel, painting away for hours, I am alone and I don’t even know how the final work is going to turn out. One is dealing with a lot of uncertainty. But, unless I step into a zone of discomfort, I would never know. When I put out my work at Jehangir Art Gallery recently, I was open to all kinds of feedback and it did come in all forms. But to me, taking feedback, working on it and learning from that experience is what growth is about. One has to step out of one’s comfort zone, else there’s no growth. There is no excitement. A lot of people ask me how I find time to paint. I have only one answer - each one of us gets the same 24 hours. If you want more, you have to give more. Simple. I am equally passionate about Media and Art; clearly, I have to make careful choices so that they are aligned to what I really love doing. And here, discipline and patience are key. I have a regimen of wake up - meditate - walk - office - commute time for calls - dinner with family - paint/sketch. Vacations are an exception, when I don’t follow any routine and go with the flow. My family matters the most to me and they have been my rock solid support. We are all bound by common values and diverse interests and that has taught me how it’s so important to respect one’s individuality, however different we might be.

About my art journey, I had started applying to Jehangir since 2009, so when I got my slot for 2019 for my exhibition Parvathavardhini, I had a good idea about the quality of work that’s expected to be displayed! A high pressure media role teaches you to research your brief, work hard and deliver flawlessly. But also be prepared for both shocks and surprises. That’s exactly what I did. I worked hard and produced 23 works, which were displayed, but I was also equally ready to take feedback from all quarters. It’s been a wonderful experience to hear from senior art fraternity members that my work has evolved over the last few years, as compared to my first solo show in 2011. My practice will go on.

I see art as a way of expression beyond words. We live in a complex, fast-changing world. Media and marketing is all about making people connect, understanding their aspirations, their likes and their dislikes, for that’s the content they consume. Art can help in doing that.

The beauty and creativity of a media plan lies in interpreting rows and rows of Excel analytics of what people are consuming within the confines of their homes into an effective ground execution plan in order to drive business results. This is a very powerful role. It requires a lot of empathy, understanding of human psychology and one also needs to have a good sense of content trends. I don’t see them as mutually exclusive. I draw from both worlds and it’s been an enriching experience.

Feedback: ss.iyer@godrejcp.com Category: Backbeat Volume No: 15 Issue No: 51

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