Published: 14th August 2018
This Chennai dentist's clinic shares a wall with her 'surreal' art studio
Archana's hands do all the talking, whether it is with a drill or with her easel and colour palette. Check out what she's working on now
Most dentists probably can't draw to save their lives. But then again, you haven't seen what Dr Archana Karan's hands are capable of. And no, we don't mean when they're in your mouth. An MDS grad specialising in implant surgery, she has set up her dental clinic in her house which shares a wall with her art studio, Surreal Impressions.
Archana completed her BDS in 2005, up till which she was only sketching. After completing her postgrad in 2009 she had a six-month break when she invested in painting. "I am not a trained artist. I am self-taught mostly and learnt lots of things online. I browse, look at paintings, and then developed my own medium. I paint on all mediums - oil, acrylic, whatever I feel like. My work is not just abstract but can be realistic too. I learn different techniques and combine them together," says Archana.
Art at its best: Archana paints on all mediums - oil, acrylic, and whatever else she can find
When Archana first opened her clinic in 2015, she set aside one room for her art. "My clinic serves as an advantage for me, as people already know when they step in that there is an art studio. Patients who come in for treatment are always welcome to look at my work. I consider it a very personal in-house display of artwork, where you can take a look and also directly buy," explains Archana. Her work is also available on her own Facebook page as well as her website www.
How did the name come up?
For me, colours have always done their magic and it is fascinating when it comes together with my own twist. Most of my paintings strike a balance between imagination and reality. My paintings can be called contemporary art in a surrealistic sense. But most of my work is a mix of fantasy, abstract and extreme realism. I love to express myself in that manner, to be comfortable in my own space, and hence the name.
Surrealistic art: Archana's paintings strike a balance between imagination and reality
How do you manage both?
I work from 2-9 pm at my clinic. Mornings are dedicated to art. I don't like one work spilling into the other and I like to balance it at all times. When I retire from dentistry, I would definitely like to take up this as a full-time career.
Do you think you have evolved as an artist?
Of course. Until 2005, when I was only sketching and drawing, I would limit myself to pencil shading using oil pastels. In 2009, I did my first oil and there's been no looking back since then, then I later tried my hand at acrylics and finally experimented with watercolours.
What is the work like?
I mostly get orders through my Facebook page. People sometimes ask for customised stuff, so I do a lot of commissioning too currently. I like to talk to my customers for an hour, get to know them and the type of colours patterns they would like before I start. I would like to know the person as it's a very subjective thing to work on.