Divya Thiagarajan talks to Jack Anto and Prabhagaran, the founders of Madrasters, a community for all design enthusiasts.

Madrasters (Mad-rastres or Madras-ters) is Chennai’s very own Photoshop User Group, an Adobe-authorised community for designers and art enthusiasts. Started by Jack Anto and Prabhagaran, it helps bring together likeminded people who are keen to share their love and knowledge for art and design. Explaining the idea behind the name, Prabhagaran says, “Photoshop is a Raster-based software and also a design-connected word. For us, Madras denotes emotions. We put the two together and that’s how Madrasters came up.” NXg talks to the duo to find out what drives this online community for creative souls.

What triggered the idea to start this community?

We are Visual Communication students whose only vision and dream is design. As freshers, when we started our careers, we came across people who were very critical of our work; they were rude! So we thought it was time for us to start Chennai’s PUG (Photoshop Users Group). As a first step, we got in touch with Adobe and got our community authorised. We wanted to show others the right way to go about designing. We wanted our work to be both criticised and appreciated by fellow designers. After we started, the number of members grew rapidly! From 28 to 74 to 120… suddenly we were a 1000-member group. That’s when Jack and I knew we had done the right thing!

What do you guys do?

Our community meets are for members of Madrasters. We also have open workshops for everyone. Our meets happen every Saturday and we discuss industry updates, have fun activities like Sand Art, Picture Perceptions etc. We have the Founding Team, Level 2 and 3 Contributors. Everybody pitches in and the quality of these discussions has been very good! We also plan for our upcoming workshops.

Why Madrasters?

Photoshop is a Raster-based software and also a design connected word. For us Madras denotes emotions. We put the two together and that’s how Madrasters came up.

Why move from PUG to Madrasters?

Photoshop is the glamour word for designers and non-users alike. People joined PUG because it focussed on Photoshop users. We wanted to broaden our horizon. Design is not just about Photoshop, so we decided to open this community to all art enthusiasts. We went from being PUG to Madrasters; however, we are still a group powered by PUG.

How has the response been?

The response has been phenomenal! Every day we have enquiries about our next meet.

Are there other such communities in Chennai?

We are the only ones. This has also raised our expectation bar from members and others really high.

What are your plans for the community?

We want to start an academy. We are looking for sponsors. Our dream is to be “THE” voice for all designers. Design rights are missing, prior credits need to be given — there is a difference between copying and deriving inspiration. Most designers have low incomes and little freedom; they are not given the freedom to think and execute; ideas are pushed down our throats. We want to be the place they can bring their problems to; we want to be able to help them get a lasting solution.

What are your upcoming projects?

We have two workshops lined up for May on Web UI Design and Typography at IIT Research Park.

Get in touch with Madrasters through their Facebook page or visit their website. E-mail Madrasters@gmail.com

Call Jack @ 9962981653

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