Chicago Tribune art critic Lori Waxman:
‘Ah, the wonders of the Sharpie. Such a simple instrument, yet so many possibilities, especially in the hands of Dipika Kohli…
Kohli has a witty, abbreviated sensibility perfectly in tune with her medium of choice. With it she silhouettes the world, at least the world as seen from one’s own front door, both facing in and facing out. Rooftops, papers on a desk, the corner of an apartment, an array of objects, a spoken phrase, a bunch of flowers—all find bold and punchy expression through Kohli’s simple black marker line drawings. What takes these catchy pictures further than mere amiableness are the kinds of subtle twists most apparent in Kohli’s zines, where she displays a wry sense of her own field and life.
Made primarily from cut-up glossy magazine pages, these collage books are both funny and critical, diaristic and transparent. One even shows marker lines atop found images, revealing the source and process of her own style. How this all translates into hired work for her graphic design clients I have no idea, but I suspect it translates just fine—in our world of irony upon irony, self-reflexivity and critical consumerism can now be used to sell everything from iPods to iGO car shares.’
—Art critic Lori Waxman, as part of her installation 60wpm art critic, Durham Arts Council. Read the full review in the Independent Weekly here.
‘Curiosity is encouraged!’
KOHLI’S COLLEGE DEGREE is in civil engineering. She was supposed to build bridges. Instead Kohli used those problem-solving foundations in her all-angles approach to design. She learned to approach branding as a “wicked problem”. There’s no defined starting point or path to reach a solution and all kinds of external factors can change or affect the outcome. Kohli’s advice on dealing with “wicked problems” was to gather the best data you can and then dive into experimenting with varied solutions… Kohli emphasized that to engage in design thinking, it is essential to “loosen up” and scrap any notion of sticking to one, detailed plan. “Eighty-five percent of the design process is let’s do this, let’s try that. Only after this process do you start making conclusions and asking, ‘When do I button down and start making things?’” Even during the event, Kohli embraced this concept by letting discussion and participant feedback guide the agenda… Kohli’s project folders demonstrated how she identified the problems that hindered a brand from conveying their desired image, deconstructed the problem into individual components, and then experimented with varied solutions for those pieces. She then chose to scrap or fuse these solutions together into one, tangible product: a brand’s logo design. Analyzing and integrating these multifaceted approaches leads to not only a creative solution, but more importantly, to one that carries meaning… Participants broke into small groups and then offered explanations about why Kohli chose to include certain conceptual materials and how they were represented in the final product. At the conclusion, Kohli asked participants to describe design thinking in their own words. One participant said: “I think this is a valuable skill for anyone to have because the process is about creating innovative solutions. Hearing and then seeing the work of someone who does this every day was an incredible opportunity.” Curiosity is encouraged! —Staff writers, UNC-Chapel Hill business incubation center >
DIPIKA IS A[N] author who clearly has been writing for years. Her ability to illustrate a particular moment, object, or emotion is amazing. Her writing style is different than what I am accustomed to reading. Its almost poetic. As the reader you can expect to gain insight into the mind, heart and soul of a Woman who lives life passionately and purposely. Also, Dipika does a nice job at outlining the good and not so pretty reality of what it means to defy cultural norms.” —Anonymous, a book reviewer responding to The Elopement(Kismuth Books // 2012)
HERE ARE A FEW testimonials from guests of DK’s workshops SELF and THE MIRROR in 2014-2016.
- My writerly friends (those who do so publicly and privately), I’ve been participating in Dipika Kohli’s CoJournal project since just before the new year (2014). It’s a unique project and it’s pretty special. If you’ve been looking for some structure or accountability in your writing – and supportive community in very small groups, this could be for you. Dipika is a compassionate leader and offers some accessible assignments that are helping to shift my writing lens. I love it.”—MH, 2014
- “I am writing because I wanted to thank you all for sharing ideas and memoirs, I am very much impressed and really enjoyed the workshop [SELF]. I’ve been working on my writing, and finished one short story which I feel so happy after I finished writing it (it’s in Thai.) I’m working on its English version pretty soon and will send to you all for the feedback. Bottom line is I’m happy to let you know that I’ve somehow overcome my fear of writing, though there’re times when I got stuck with the stories, get distracted, or feel like it’s not good enough – if it was before, I was just going to give up. Now, I feel it challenged me and I find writing more enjoyable. Most importantly, I feel like my writing is getting better too.” –JL, Guest at ‘SELF’, 2014
- “I love the space you are creating and holding around the world for deep thought and unusual connection.” —KA, 2017
- “Astonished…” –B, 2018
- “Your touch is really delicate and modern. Quite lovely.” —PP, 2007
- “Thanks so much for the feedback, Dipika.” —M, 2018
- “Meeting so many kinds of people at different walks of life was inspiring, because people who show up, I call this ‘self-selection’, are the sorts of people who are looking to explore and get to know others interested in also exploring. Making oneself available to come to an event that seemed to hint at others also taking a chance on trying new things did something very important. It showed me that the barriers to me doing what I want to do creatively start right here, with myself. A skeptic inside fights the opportunities that arise. I joined a writers’ group, and then your workshop… It motivates me, makes me feel like I am part of something great,” —D, Guest at ‘SELF’, 2015
- “Thank you for the opportunity.’ –F, 2018
- “I was invited to participate in the last cohort (yes, I had to be *invited*, it wasn’t a given that I’d be privy to it,) and wow, did I enjoy the conversations. So much learning and fresh insights from strangers, old and new friends. If you think you can use some ‘seeing anew’—gaining new perspectives, noticing new sights, becoming aware your blind spots, this might be just what you need.” —AM, 2018
- “Warmly recommend it.”–SG,2014
- “[This] motivated me more to do what I wanna really do and kick some a**… Thank you, Dipika! —JH, 2016