Meet the Maker: Rishab Manocha – Vanitas Collections

Meet Rishab, founder of Vanitas Collections that create stories on hand-painted decorative wall plates that are then served up as gorgeous decor for your spaces.

“We are natural-born storytellers and believe homes should tell stories—and not just the walls, but what adorns them too.” Rishab Manocha, Creative Head, Vanitas Collections

Located in Sector 29, Noida, Vanitas Collections is a team of five hardworking artists and storytellers. They create stories on hand-painted wall plates that are then served up as gorgeous decor for your spaces. You are cordially invited to get to know them better.


How many (if more than one) members make up your team?

  • Rishab Manocha -41, Creative Head
  • Sajal Manocha-32, Proprietor
  • Raju-40,Artist
  • Pooja-36,Artist
  • Kalpana-28,Artist
  • Keshu-24,Artist

 

What were you doing before you started doing this?

I was in London working with the Hammersmith and Fulham Council towards educating young adults with learning disabilities

 

Why did you choose to do what you do?

I have been drawing since a very early age, sold my first painting commercially, at the age of 12. I am fascinated by different cultures, subjects, traditions and artists.  So it made sense when I started making painstakingly hand painted fine bone china plates that mean so much to me. They are like my children, and once ready, they must make a place for themselves in the world.

We are fascinated by names. What’s the story behind your brand name?

The word ‘Vanitas’ is a symbolic work of art showing birth (life), pleasure (desire), and Death (eventuality). My folk art is narrative and touches upon different subjects from cultures both known and unknown; Panama, Israel, Mexico, Spain, Africa, Turkey and many many more. My plates reflect a plethora of emotions like sadness, joy, and humor.

 

Which are your best selling products?

My Turkish, Spanish and Mexican Collections are our bestsellers. Lately, our new Kalamkari and Madhubani plates are being thoroughly appreciated in the US and Europe.

But we’re not just romantic storytellers, we’re practical too. By hanging plates on the wall to decorate, one can kill two birds with one’s stone—the walls get decorated (no framing required!) and customers can slowly keep adding to the collection. In time, these plates can be rearranged; they can be moved from one place to the other as per the requirement of one’s space.

What kind of people do you create your products for?

We make plates for people from all walks of life; however, we sell mostly to those who appreciate cultural folk identities from across the world. Wall plates are a relatively new concept in India, but it’s picking up. People still wonder in amazement, ‘A plate on the wall?’, but the awareness is spreading.

 

What are the challenges you face in connection with achieving your goals?

Firstly it is getting near impossible to getting talented artists and secondly we have to battle our digitally-printed counterparts which obviously come at a far cheaper price as they are mass-produced, delivered in a couple of days and need little maintenance, as opposed to our plates that are painstakingly hand-painted, slightly costlier due to the nature of the craft, and take up to two weeks to complete. 

Where do you see your brand three years from now?

I would like Vanitas to have a more global appreciation with more variety on offer such as customized plates, alternative shapes etc. I would also like to have a philanthropic approach to my work wherein the company can provide employment/skill development to artists who have either given up on their dreams or who couldn’t pursue becoming an artist for want of a better paying profession and livelihood

 

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?

When I am not painting, I am teaching. I have been teaching in India and UK since 1997 and currently take lectures at National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi.

Visit the Vanitas Collection Shop on Engrave.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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