Aman Khanna’s Clever Clay Characters Exude Universal Expressions of Tenderness and Emotion
With a background in graphic design and illustration, New Delhi-based artist Aman Khanna has always had a knack for expressing human emotions and experiences in his quirky, playful personalities. Over time, he yearned to build something three-dimensional with his hands as a way to complement his predominantly digital, two-dimensional process of graphic design. An opportunity to explore this new direction arose when he attended the 2013 Pictoplasma Academy, an annual character art conference in Berlin.
Khanna experimented with shaping clay for the first time as he prepared for the Pictoplasma group show, and he hasn’t looked back. “I began to create small clay sculptures that were inspired by human feelings, emotions, and interactions,” he says, sharing that he enjoys working with the material because of its ancient history and connection to the earth. “The fact that it can be moulded into any shape or form is fascinating to me.”
The figures, which he calls Claymen, portray a spectrum of expressions inspired by the intricacies of the human condition. Some sport legs and arms or participate in activities like scuba diving and relaxing with friends, while others’ simplified, disc-like faces depict a range of feelings. “The emotions evoked in us through our actions, reactions, and how we interact with one another has led me to understand how fragile we are,” he says, “and I find that clay allows me to communicate that.”
Khanna works alongside a team of 15 assistants in the Claymen studio, and you can find more of his work on his website and Instagram.
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