Academically trained as a graphic designer and illustrator (he graduated in Graphic Design from the London College of Communication in 2004), Aman Khanna developed his artistic ability in this speciality for some time, first in London, where he founded the studio Infomen with his friend Carlos Coelho, and later in New Delhi, where he founded design studio Infonauts.
Since then, his graphic design career has experienced great success, after working for large companies from around the world. However, around three years ago, the world of ceramics crossed his path, and opened his eyes to another language with which to better express his feelings. He discovered how clay added a new dimension to his work – the third dimension – which until then had only been two.
It was then that Claymen was born, and he began to create small pieces and sculptures with his hands, which allowed him to express himself intimately. His work can be divided into three categories: functional objects, non-functional objects, and sculptures. “Many of the objects I create are made by hand and are purely functional, to be utilitarian and be used on a daily basis, but others embody the inherent dysfunctionality we experience in society, and references the fragility of the human condition. As for the sculptures, they are the result of a constant observation of human behaviour, and human dilemmas. It’s like being a witness to one’s own dehumanisation, to become just another figure among everything that humans produce,” says the artist.
In theory, his two activities do not have much in common, though they do complement each other. On the one hand, the graphic design side has served to raise awareness of the world’s many problems (he has taken part in numerous charity campaigns) and shows how his work serves to help people, and the sculptures and clay work has opened to him a new door to feelings and inner human workings. “Ever since I started working with clay, I find people are curious and intrigued by its aesthetics,” he says.
His sculptures, especially those that show human faces, are projects of his own feelings, experiences, and specific answers to specific moments, which allow him to express himself and tell small stories. “It’s like having a personal voice that allows me to speak to the world,” says Aman.
Discovering clay work has opened up to me the possibility of working in three dimensions, something that fascinates me.
Vital in allowing Aman to balance his activities is his small team, who range from potters and artisans, who reveal to him the secrets of manual work, to graphic designers who assist him in post-production, etc.
“Right now, working with clay will keep me occupied for some time. It isn’t that I don’t want to experiment with other materials, but the fact that clay is an almost forgotten substance, which can be moulded in such a varied fashion, that is what I am passionate about. It is hugely satisfying for me, because it allows me, throughout the whole process of creation, to tell all kinds of different stories,” says the artist
Photos. © Aman Khann
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