Archan Nair is a visual artist, illustrator and art director based in New Delhi, India whose work can only be described as explosive. At 18, he began working in fashion at his family's apparel manufacturing business. It was only when he started dabbling in digital art in 2006 (at the age of 24), that he found his true calling. Just a year later, he became an independent artist.
His incredible style has not gone unnoticed, in fact, he's worked with global companies to help build their brand. With an impressive client list that includes Canon, Nike, Microsoft, Pepsi and Sony, you can say that at the age of 27, Archan has already experienced a great deal of success. (His work has also been published in magazines like Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair.)
Using mixed media, including both traditional and digital tools, Archan creates layered illustrations that are full of detail. But more than that, you can tell that he put his emotions and feelings into each piece, bringing together life's moments in a way that's beautiful and memorable.
We caught up with Archan to ask him some questions. Read that interview below after enjoying his spectacular art and illustrations.
How does living and working in India influence your work?
First of all, thank you so much for making me a part of this wonderful discussion. It's a real pleasure! India is a stunning, beautiful country. I am in love with this part of the world. Truly blessed to be born here in this divine land. My art and expressions have a natural influence from our rich culture, atmosphere, and heritage. So much richness in fashion, food, streets, festivals, people.. every part of India you go to, you experience so much diversity.. it's full of soul and passion. I definitely get a lot of influence directly or indirectly from this country I have grown up in, which has embedded its values into me subconsciously.
How would you describe your style?
I feel like I don't have a style, and that is my style.. that I don't have a style. Haha! Because I love experimenting with media so much, I keep creating something new all the time. This usually leads to creating something new rather than something in a similar style. But one element which is common in most of my artworks is my feelings. That is something I always connect with while creating and personally comes out the most.
Where do you get your inspirations from, or what inspires you?
Life = Inspiration. Everything and anything could inspire. Even this conversation or a cup of chai (tea) which I hardly have, you, my friends, travels, anything really. I am very vulnerable to inspiration. I get inspired very easily, so it is just this incredible beautiful life which works with us, where it creates and lets us create.
What drives you to create, or what is the soul vision behind your works of art?
Wow, these two questions go seamlessly with each other. The excitement to share, to express, to inspire is always pushing me to create. My works express what I feel, a lot of the phases and moments I observe around me, and it really depends on a particular mood. It's the zone I'm in to create at that time.
What are some of the trends you've been seeing in digital art?
There has been a lot of variety I have come across, just as any other medium. From illustration, to more concept based, to freestyle to photo manipulations, matte painting. I think every artist evolves in his own way, in his own speed and area of interest. But as a trend I usually see a lot of commercially oriented styles where there is a lot of photo mixed illustration and geometric experimentation going on. I also see a lot of concept-oriented works becoming stronger these days, as well.
Who are some other artists that you admire?
I love a lot of musicians like Shpongle, Bassnectar and Baths.. been listening to them lately. I listen to a lot of music and artists.
Also, I admire a lot of artists and sculptors in interiors and villages of India, they produce some beautiful works of art.
How has the internet helped you get your name out there?
Technology in any form, mobile, internet, has not only made the world smaller, but the way we keep in touch with easy other has become far more easier, whether it be friends or network. I feel it plays an equal role having a website presence as much as showcasing our artworks in the real physical plane. I believe that if we create from our hearts, all of these areas of communication and display help in one way or the other.
What was working for Nike like?
It was a true pleasure to work with Nike. It has been a beautiful experience for me. The projects I completed with them will be released in January. It was challenging, fun, and most of all, a learning experience. What I loved was the creative freedom they gave and the fact that they wanted me to create from the heart, completely! Was beautiful working with them and I hope to do more with them in the future.
How did you land jobs with magazines like Vogue and GQ?
It was through magazine features and press coverage, that Condé Nast came across my work and we started doing projects together. Started with GQ first and then Vogue. I have done a couple of projects with each of them, and really enjoy creating with them now.
Any advice you'd give to other illustrators or artists?
To follow your heart, to be absolutely original, and to explore and enjoy what you do.
Thank you for the interview, Archan. I'm sure your work and story will inspire many others.
You can find Archan Nair on his recently redesigned website
First photo, called Dreams Preferred
, was a collaboration with photographer Parris Whittingham
Thanks for the tip, Laura!