K. R. Santhana Krishnan talks about his artistic obsession with doors

With his artwork spanning over 15 years and having conducted 40-odd shows, K.R. Santhana Krishnan has carved a niche for himself as the ‘door-painter’. It started out as a mere concept during his third year of undergraduate studies where he took inspiration from the unique and colourful doors near the agraharam he would pass by everyday in Kumbakonam. He took strongly to the vilakku madams (threshold) usually stained with oil, turmeric and kumkum. “These doors usually used to open every morning and I would just peep in to see a unique traditional lifestyle.” His latest exhibition at Shrishti Art Gallery in the city showcases his collection of door paintings. Apart from acrylic on canvas, Santhana Krishnan has painted wooden box doors as well.

Painting with an orientation towards detail, Santhana Krishnan’s forte lies in giving the viewer, a chance to weave his own background story to the visual of a half-open colourful door. In all his paintings, you can see details like dirt stains that make their way from the bottom-up or brightly coloured walls losing their coat of paint, revealing the older colours.

It’s about bringing out memories and nostalgia, says Santhana Krishnan. He talks of his painting of a door and a wall sporting Adavi Ramudu poster, the 1977 film starring NTR. “I don’t usually watch Telugu films and that was my first. The whole idea was to create a link to the past,” he says. Does he ever want to deviate from painting doors? Santhana Krishnan doesn’t see that happening. He is still intrigued by doors and still continues to travel, observe and paint doors from across the country. “A door is an everyday thing. It is such a necessity that we don’t for once stop to think of it as an individual element with beauty. I wanted to look at it aesthetically,” says the artist.