I am getting a certain vibe today, a creative one for sure! Well, like me, if you have been following Chandan Dubey’s restorative artworks, you would be willing to take a plunge into the ocean of creativity too! For someone who is a self-taught photographer and painter, this talented lady packs a punch. And guess where it all started? – a still image!
Through her range Photo+, Chandan first rebuilds a given object, restores it to the extent possible and then embellishes it using an array of techniques such as intricate hand painting, decoupage, hand lamination, surface transfer, fabric lining, reupholstering etc.
Chandan began this exciting venture with restoring her own collection (she calls herself a scavenger and hoarder of interesting things) and with time, she diversified into digitally printed products with upholstery and soft furnishing.
With ‘Photo+Memory’, she gives a contemporary twist to vintage articles such as old furniture, statement trunks, boxes, windows etc and fabricates them with a variety of interesting material including old photographs, letters, jewellery, fabric, maps, books, artworks, interspersed with intricate hand details.
As an Economics graduate, Chandan does miss a formal training in design, but she more than makes up for it with her stunning art restorations. A journey which began with a brief stint as an assistant photographer for the Times of India in Singapore and Hong Kong and eventually led her to organise an object-based exhibition in 2008 made Chandan realise her true calling.
The exhibition which curated household objects from Indian expats based in Hong Kong was an eye-opener, chronicling the movement of Indian families to a new country, their experiences, and their stories of making their own little world away from home. She knew then that she had to script around people’s stories and their possessions and thereon she started collecting objects enthusiastically – letters, maps, coins, postcards, photographs, textiles – both passed through generations, found, and/or purchased.
As a restoration artist, Chandan has worked on a variety of objects, but her most gratifying experience has been with working on a Burmese actor’s chests in which she worked with a diverse range of media – wood, silk, inlay, carvings, mirrors, photographs, and paints. She also mentions that one of her most challenging designs has been the restoration of a 150 year old Chettinad door, weighing 450 kg!!
Chandan says she is constantly evolving and learning as a designer and every single experience that she’s had in her life reflects in her work too. Her design sensibilities are an exciting concoction of multiple trends that sometimes complement and at other times conflict with each other. On one hand, she loves inculcating the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi in her works – a tradition that celebrates the aroma of ageing wood, distressed patinas, crevices and cracks, natural textures, and imperfection in beauty. And on the other, she loves experimenting with the rich Indian maximalism which comes with layering – multiple coats of painting, poetry, calligraphy, metal work, fabric, and mirrors. A single thought that binds these sensibilities is her emphasis on artisanal and handcrafted products.
For someone who swears by the works of French painter Henry Matisse and American impressionist Mark Rothko, Chandan does a phenomenal job working her way with the eclectic colour palette. She also draws inspiration for her restorations from Payal Khandwala.
Chandan has probably covered it all in the decor realm – from dowry chests and vintage trunks and boxes to platters, tables and wall art, from bridal seats and accent furniture to furnishings and antique doors! Her art is resplendent with the richness and colour of the traditional Indian art and crafts, the beauty of aged wood, charm of the yellowed postcards, the simplicity and imperfections of the Wabi Sabi and kintsugi, and of course a BIG dollop of her creativity!
Restored Trunks and Dowry Chests…
Tables and Bridal seats…
And vintage boxes…
I just couldn’t take my eyes off Chandan’s eclectic treasure trove of art and creativity. Hope you too had a good time rummaging through it. Chandan Dubey can be reached via her Facebook page, Instagram, or email at email@example.com.
Have a great weekend all of you! Cheers!
(All images published in this blog belong to Chandan Dubey and may not be replicated or reproduced without prior permission. Text copyright: A Cauldron Full of Love)