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An artist's desk can be labyrinthine chaos

Artist and designer Arvind Sundar on how his desk is a reflection of his growing practice and widening ideas

Artist Arvind Sundar
Artist Arvind Sundar

Arvind Sundar, a Coimbatore-based designer and artist, wears multiple hats. “My work table will be filled with both design projects and art projects,” says Sundar, who is currently working on creating a recycled calendar, as well making a series of paintings based on the mathematical principle of the Fibonacci sequence. Grids and geometry are key to his art practice. “As a person, I tend to find patterns and order in everything, and I think my practice is an extension of that,” says Sundar, whose other interests include landscape drawings, typography and origami. “All my interests feed one another,” he says. Over an email interview, he talks about the labyrinthine nature of his workspace, his varied interests and the warehouse he once used as his studio space.

Could you describe your current workspace to us?

My work table is really like a labyrinth. On one corner, paints, inks, and drawing material would be lying around. When you move a little ahead, there would be all sorts of geometrical instruments like a compass, set squares and protractors. When you get past that, there would be a laptop as the centrepiece as I listen to podcasts and interviews while working. There would be different sheets of paper in one corner. Some would be scribbled with ideas, and others would have been turned into origami sculptures. There would be a nook dedicated for my cats to sit and stare at me.

Then there is another table which is dedicated only to printing. Since I am a trained printmaker, the first rule of any printing press is cleanliness so that table is always kept clean with neatly arranged papers and materials.

Has it always been this way? Or has it evolved over the years?

It’s a constant evolution. I always preferred a clean and neatly arranged table when I started my practice. When my practice grew, my ideas widened, and I started working on several things simultaneously. I started working with different materials and processes. So eventually, there were many additions to my table. I do clean and arrange my table once in a while, but when I stay working, it becomes like a labyrinth.

Grids and geometry are key to Arvind Sundar's art practice.
Grids and geometry are key to Arvind Sundar's art practice. (Images courtesy Arvind Sundar)

How would you define your daily relationship with this space?

Since my table is a space for all my interests, it’s a really important space. I would say my table is definitely the metaphor for my thought process. Most of the time I am awake is spent on my table, and it knows my thoughts and goals to be achieved. My wall against the table is filled with prints and small notes. The relationship between this wall and the table is unique. Both of them feed each other with new ideas.

Tell us about some of the eureka moments you have had and major works that you have done from here.

Since my work is very process-oriented, I have a lot of eureka moments. For example, I would be working on a print, and some parts of the print might not print properly, so I have to come up with new ways to fix it. Most of my eureka moments happen with colour. I’ll try to crack a specific shade of colour, and when I crack it. It’s really “eureka”. I had a show with my Fibonacci series paintings last week in Delhi. For the show, I had to paint so many paintings quickly, and I did everything out of this studio. I had multiple canvases lying around all the time.

If you were to trade in this place for another, what would it be?

When I was a graduate student in the US, my studio was in a warehouse/mechanic workshop. There was heavy equipment like cranes and CNC lathes. I used to do so many experiments with my works since all this equipment was just lying there, and anyone could use them. Many people don’t believe that it was an artist's studio. Now my studio looks like a typical artist studio. I am happy with my current space, but I also miss that space.

Creative Corner is a series about writers, artists, musicians, founders and other creative individuals and their relationships with their workspaces.

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