Crushing on Illustrator Pia Alize Hazarika

Read__14 November 2018

Pia Alize Hazarika is an Illustrator based in Delhi, India. She runs a studio called Pig, but she’s been at it since I was in highschool. Admittedly, my friends and I would sit in our dorm room pouring over her blogspot full of cool girl illustrations.

How long have you been drawing? A lot of your work has strong social meaning, like mental health and feminism. What makes you choose to illustrate / put out some work more than others?

Foreeeeever – can I say forever? It’s forever.
Seriously though –I know my work is centred primarily around these things – but it is where my a majority of my interest lies. It’s a medium that people find easier to digest, and i feel like its important to get this information out. I try to only work with projects I’m intrigued by, that talk about subjects that I care about + have substance to them, and with people I want to work with, and I learn something from them, and if I’m not being commissioned to work on things that I like, I try and create that sort of content myself, and get it out there – much like it happened with Custom Cuts ,or the work I produce for The Health Collective. It’s important that you’re able to showcase what you can do, even if you’re the one spearheading it singlehandedly.

Do you get treated differently because you have so many tattoos? Has the way you’ve presented yourself worked as an advantage / disadvantage to you? especially in india society?

I think people assume i’m a lot cooler or a LOT more hostile than or a lot more likely to put out than I actually am – based off the way I look. The hostility has definitely been an advantage. The babyface definitely doesn’t help because people expect me to be a lot older.

Earlier on, clients didn’t expect a girl to show up at all – so I guess it’s gotten a lot better. It stopped affecting me a while ago when I realised that all I need to do is deliver to make them get over whatever pre conceived notions they have about all of this showing up for a a meeting. And I this point I can tell from the first email/phone call if someones hiring me for my work or the way I look, hoping to make ‘a project’ something else.

Crushing on Illustrator Pia Alize Hazarika

Photos by Natasha Sumant

Illlustration in india is a tough field to work in, but you seemed to have carved your niche. Have you ever felt like it was harder for you in some ways because you were a girl ?

Have I? this is news.
Honestly, at this point It’s a labour of love – I do it for me, you need to do what you can to get word out about projects that are close to you, create your own stage, run your own show, etc.
It’s such a niche area to be operating out of – I don’t think me being a girl has anything to do with it, just being ‘an illustrator’ is hard enough. I believe that in the long run it pays off, and people come find you and take you places.
Because no one here is paying us to do what we love, and I don’t want to draw Apsara Butts (weird inside joke) even if I’m being paid to do it.

Comment on the rise of feminist female illustrators in india. How do you see the work we are seeing affect change if at all ?

It’s SO cute! Maybe cute is the wrong word – it’s a pretty amazing, supportive space. We wear the collective badge, and there are smaller, tighter groups within the larger scheme of things who will support you,
read your blurbs, edit you for free, and motivate you to follow through. There’s so many women illustrators out there who do AMAZING work – like it hurts how good they are.