Billy Blue Graduate Uses Designer Bags As A Creative Canvas

25 November 2019

It’s not often that anyone has looked at a Louis Vuitton bag and thought “I need to paint it”, but Billy Blue graduate, Shirin Watwani, does exactly that.

Shirin is a marquage artist who puts her mark on designer bags and never paints the same thing twice. Rich folk these days are looking for a way to stand out and they’re doing this is by commissioning talented artists like Shirin to paint on their bags. Yes, you read that right. Check out Shirin’s Instagram feed to see bags by the likes of Valentino, Goyard, Louis Vuitton and Helmer adorned with her intricate brush strokes to create wings, lions, birds and more.

"The knowledge and experience I gained when I was studying at Billy Blue was priceless.”

Shirin graduated from Billy Blue in 2002 with an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design. After finishing her studies she went back home to Chennai, India, and started working as a graphic designer. Initially, she worked for a reputed printing company, but after a couple of years Shirin and a close friend decided to start their own graphic design company, Paperworks. This worked out well as they had a continuous stream of work that consisted of all forms of branding, print collateral and wedding cards. After 10 years or so, they chose to give graphic designing a break and Shirin decided to pick up an old hobby and start painting like she did in school.

So, how did the painting on designer handbags start? Well, in 2017 Shirin held a debut solo art show with 25 canvases and sold everything within a couple hours of opening. After seeing all of Shirin’s amazing canvases, a friend of hers asked if she could paint her handbag. Shirin enjoyed the process and loved the final result so much, and that’s when she made the decision to become a marquage artist.

“I never looked back from there.”

Shirin credits Billy Blue for giving her an edge during her practice as a graphic designer and as an artist.

"My sense of proportion, colours and forms can all be attributed to the exposure I got at Billy Blue.”

With regards to studying abroad, Shirin said it gave her so much confidence and exposure to different cultures.

"The application process and requirements were so simple – before I knew it I was in Sydney”.

Shirin absolutely loves every bit of what she does and encourages every budding designer to create their own style and always keep it in mind, even when working on a client brief.

If you’re interested in creating your own path and loving what you do, just like Shirin, check out our courses and see what inspires you.