Archan Nair – Where Digital Art meets Classic Painting

Archan Nair is a visual artist and illustrator born and raised in New Delhi, India, currently living and working in Berlin, Germany. Formerly a fashion major and entrepreneur, Archan started his career in 2006 at the age of 24 and made the shift to becoming an independent artist in 2007. Known for his specialization in digital art and mixed media, Archan’s clients include brands like Vogue, GQ, Sony, Nike and countless more. He has been featured in various publications and has achieved recognition from music artists like Kanye West, along with collaborating with Chris Brown and Lindsay Lohan. Archan’s passion and love for the creative process and to express himself has set in motion an inspiring journey, where he is exploring the beautiful essence of life, every day.

Portrait of Indian Illustrator Archan Nair
Portrait of Archan Nair

How did you start with illustration, what inspired you to work. In this profession

I never had any formal training in art, nor was I inclined towards drawing or painting while growing up. Around 2002 I began working in the fashion industry when I joined my family’s apparel manufacturing company, and around 2006 I started experimenting with visual art.

I got really addicted and I started having too much fun.

Over the years I realized it was not something I was too fond of, and creating visual art was an outlet for me, an escape to travel into a reality which was my own, in which I would be able to express myself. I was in awe of the fact that I could create something out of nothing. I got really addicted and I started having too much fun. More and more I found so much joy in creating, but as I explored more, I started becoming much more serious about art.

There was a point of realization around 2007 when I knew that this was what I wanted to do all the time. So I called it quits for the day-to-day work at my company and started my beautiful journey as an independent artist. It was the most difficult and confusing decision I ever made, but it was definitely worth it! Then I finally decided to pursue my love, to do what I really enjoy from the deepest corners of my heart, and to start my own studio where I could create all the time. It has been an incredible trip since then.

Settle by Indian Illustrator Archan Nair
Settle by Archan Nair

What is the design scene like in your hometown?

Currently I’m living in Berlin, Germany, where the design and art scene is pretty incredible. Its bursting – exploding with art whether mural or street art or music, and even experimental art shows, events, along with a super fascinating underground art scene. There is always too much going on, everywhere, all the time!

What are your favorite tools to use for your work? What does your professional setup look like?

I love using my laptop and Wacom Intuos tablet along with the iPad Pro. Mostly I use Cinema 4d, ZBrush, Photoshop and Procreate and I keep jumping and mixing these tools along with watercolors and markers and I love working in different parts of the city because of how remote my setup is.

Tokara by Indian Illustrator Archan Nair
Tokara by Archan Nair

What do you like to express with your work? What is your favorite kind of work to create?

Feeling that any form of artistic expression seems to be channeled from a higher frequency. Art has been a vehicle for me which has taken me into a magical journey, where I have not only rediscovered my true self, but also the process of understanding what the true nature of reality is and how we are all interconnected with the patterns which exist all around us – living or non-living, seen or unseen.

I am highly influenced by the unknown and how the fractal nature of everything works in such a spectacular and intelligent way. Nature, conversations, moods, and moments in life which could seem random from a micro-scale but make so much sense when seen up close. It’s simply mind-boggling!

Spun by Indian Illustrator Archan Nair
Spun by Archan Nair

Feeling in awe everyday when I have this realization again and again of how incredibly transformative this journey has been. It is truly unexplainable through any language or words, it feels like a sequence of intelligent codes.

Trying to bridge the dimensions or worlds existing around – beyond – and within us which we cannot see through our limited senses and physical restrictions.

Scopic by Indian Illustrator Archan Nair
Scopic by Archan Nair
Dream in the Light by Indian Illustrator Archan Nair
Dream in the Light by Archan Nair


The female figure seems to play an important role in your work, can you explain why?

The female figure is such a complex expressive creation of consciousness itself and has so much diversity in expressing not just the physical world but the ethereal realm and the connection between the physical and beyond.

Crossing Beyond by Indian Illustrator Archan Nair
Crossing Beyond by Archan Nair

Where do you look to for inspiration? Is there anyone whose work you admire in particular?

Every moment is bursting with inspiration, from conversations, to people, to emotions, to chaos and beauty and nature. I’m fascinated by the fact that everything from the macro to the micro seems so perfectly interconnected that the way everything works from the biggest stars to the minute particles which our eyes cannot even see are an intelligence at work, and so nothing seems to be random but seems random most of the time. This weirdness is beautiful and I love exploring it.

Taqueria by Indian Illustrator Archan Nair
Taqueria by Archan Nair

How is the design scene in India evolving? Has it changed over the course of your career?

Over the past few years there has been an explosion of creative people coming out of India. I see a lot of young cartoonists, comic artists, graphic designers doing some really cool things. When I began there were hardly any people doing anything around art or design. But over the past decade it has grown quiet a bit now which is fascinating to see. I love how different creative fields are now seen around the modern art and culture scene in India.

What kind of projects do you aspire to create in the future? Where do you see yourself, both professionally and personally in 5/10 years?

Honestly, I don’t plan even 6 months down the line let alone years. I like being present, spontaneous and not plan too much. Just see how I feel each moment and where that would take me automatically. I like living as present as much as possible and be surprised by the unfolding of life which is mysteriously beautiful.

Silent Letters by Indian Illustrator Archan Nair
Silent Letters by Archan Nair

Is there anyone you wish you could work with? Who, and why?

Not really. I just wish to keep creating, exploring and learning. Being in my own space and flowing this way, collaborating with passionate people or teams, which make me uncomfortable. It’s great to learn not just about your work but about yourself this way too.

Can you tell us a bit about some of the projects you’ve just completed or are going to complete in the coming months? What was the process like, and what excited you about these projects?

I just finished creating artworks for a hotel in India which was commissioned by them. Also finished a project where I was commissioned by a city to create art for their public transport. There are some album artworks I created recently too. I wish I could share more details about the above. But I am not allowed to share a lot of info. Until the projects go public, haha!

What I love about these projects is that they had quite some research work behind them and not a lot of information. Also, I could just create what I felt like in my own style.

 

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