Questions written by Sky Grayson, Intro by Drew Whittam /
Images courtesy of Achann.net
Gabrielle Sauve [Features Director]
With clients ranging from Vogue to Nike, Archan Nair is the New Delhi based artist and illustrator known for seamlessly blending digital and traditional mediums under his instantly recognisable aesthetic. Heavily inspired by the cultural diversity in his native India, he sits down with LAB Features Director, Gabriel Sauve to talk philosophy, spirituality and living life to the fullest.
You’ve remarked that your art is heavily influenced by Indian culture. What are your favorite Indian cultural traditions?
India is an overflowing explosion of psychedelia and madness –patterns, colours, conversations and weirdness bombard us constantly! It’s bizarre and fascinating at the same time. There is so much diversity in every region, and we celebrate all cultures and religious festivals with equal spirit and love. What fascinates me most is the family-like vibe which brings everyone together through these traditions.
You’ve remarked that your art is heavily influenced by music. Who are some of your favourite artists and what are your favorite songs?
Music has always been such an integral part of my journey and inspiration. I love so many artists, but some recent artists I have been loving are Geskia, Mindex, Fadela and Shunya –so much talent and beautiful vibrations!
What are your opinions of Western culture?
I feel the western world having gone through so much of the industrial revolution shock has been really attracted towards eastern spiritual practices. I love how so many are waking up, shifting their consciousnesses and contemplating existence and reality. I love how the art and cultural scenes in western societies are so much more open and experimental.
You’re a self-taught artist, but are there any particular people who’ve influenced your style?
I always come across experimental artists working in various mediums which have inspired me to just flow and do my own thing. I really love experimenting and discovering the spaces within me, and how they translate as visual or creative elements. I think we find amazing connections when we dive within ourselves and we discover how it all relates to this magnificence we call existence or the universe. trying to understand what we cannot really understand. I love sci-fi artists and old drawings and sketches a lot. I love tattoo art too, and all that fused with the madness from around in India is so inspiring to me.
Morning Chorus / Mixed Media / 2015
Beyond Growth / Mixed Media Illustration and Portrait / 2014
You do not consume drugs in order to create your art; instead choosing to research things such as quantum physics and the Fibonacci sequence. What particular reads have you liked recently?
I’m not a big reader, so I usually skim articles, or listen to podcasts and audiobooks mostly. Some amazing podcasts to listen to are Astral Hustle by Cory Allan and The Duncan Trussell family hour. However, some incredible books I have been reading lately are After Many a Summer by Aldous Huxley and The Ending of Time by J. Krishnamurti.
You’ve remarked that the micro influences the macro. What do you mean by that?
If you zoom out of the universe, you see how the universe has a specific look: a pattern resembling a network of neurons and spirals. As you pick up a point and start zooming in, you begin to see those patterns repeating again and again, but not just in a visual sense. Stories and events in our life seem to not just affect our personal lives, but our communal lives too. For me, micro and macro are but the same! It is the illusion of time and space which make them look separate.
How do you feel about the Western-Cartesian division of high and low, mind and body?
Every experience around us is labelled and explained through language, concepts and constructed in a very linear way: shutting down our understanding and confining it into a box. This programming or conditioning by society has made a separation between what we see and us –the subject and the object. However, I feel that if you imagine and perceive everything beyond their accepted constructs and observe them, there is no difference –they are one. Hence out of these constructs are concepts of high/low, good/bad, happy/sad, mind/body. There is no difference. They are all the nodes of one organism which we call ourselves.
You appear quite spiritually alive and positive. How would you sum your personal philosophy?
I try to experience this journey in the most simple, curious, balanced and absorbing way I can, living each moment with awe! I like to live life this way, enjoying all the fluctuations, waves and turbulences of life knowing that they are all blessings.
You quit the fashion industry to pursue your art. What advice do you have for others who want to pursue their passions similarly?
I would just like to say that we have only one life. Take the plunge and live the adventure, because you would not want to regret it later. If you are truly passionate about something, everything you do will be amazing and beautiful. The struggles you will face and the challenges you will set yourself will transform into an amazing ride! The universe will always take care of you.
How do you feel about social media culture? And how has this affected your art?
I feel it is the most profound step in the human evolution so far. Social media has not only made me and others find an audience and share our stories, it has also made the planet so multicultural and vibrant. We can truly experience being part of one organism called humanity. For me I give a lot of the credit to the support and love I have received from my social media tribe, and without their constant motivation I would not get this incredible energy to create and share! I could never have imagined a world of such interconnectedness and inspiration –it is such an integral part of our collective human evolution.
Would you ever move away from India? If so where would you go?
Oh, I love travelling, there’s so much to absorb and learn! I feel we live in an amazing time, where so much exchange is happening across the planet. I would love to live in Europe for its’ incredible rich culture, and even South America– There’s too many amazing options really!
Dusk / Mixed media Illustration / 2015
soh:adoe / Conceptual Digital Art / 2014