Doors of houses are not the typical canvas used by artists to paint on, but for Santhana Krishnan it is a form of nostalgia. “I’ve been working on the concept of ‘doors’ since my college days. Most of the old and traditional houses had different types of doors. Nowadays, those types of houses and doors are not found. I wanted to make people recollect their past through my paintings. I am glad that many could recollect their childhood memories through my door paintings,” says Santhana Krishnan.
Painting on this theme for more than 18 years, the artist is currently working on his upcoming exhibition. He believes that a door speaks volumes and it can be wide open and inviting or closed and hide secrets. Explaining why people can easily connect to his painting on doors, he informs, “They might recollect the house in which they spent their childhood or would get reminded of their parents’ or grandparents’ house. This is why some of my doors open into an interior with tulsi-tharas in the inner courtyards with milk cans and some of the paintings also have movie posters near the doors.”
Santhana Krishnan started his artistic journey of doors with watercolours and then moved to acrylic colours. Now he paints three dimension doors as well. Having exhibited his work at over 70 shows around the world, Santhana Krishnan ensures that every minute detail of doors is replicated in his work. “The colour of doors would vary from place to place. For example, I paint the doors blue to depict Tirunelveli, I use brown for Thanjavur and a different colour for the doors in Chettinad. Apart from that, I also focus on the detailing on doors like the faint white numbers and letters on the doors,” he adds.
Santhana Krishnan believes that each door of a house has a tale to narrate about its owners and their lives. “Even the exterior surfaces of the doors have myriad tales to narrate,” he concludes.