In the studio with… Kangan Arora
Where is your studio?
I have a studio space in Bainbridge Studios in West Norwood that I share with my friend, Jonna Saarinen who I went to Central Saint Martins (CSM) with. The studio used to be a dairy many years ago, now it’s a creative space for artists, illustrators, graphic designers and textile designers with great screen printing facilities – which is what drew me to it!
Describe your typical day
I’m lucky in that I don’t have a typical day! Alongside running my design studio, I’m an Associate Lecturer at CSM, Short course tutor in the summer and freelance photographer – so it’s always different and there’s lots of juggling involved.
My favourite kinds of days are spent in the studio, designing a new collection or working on a collaboration. I’ll take the bus to the studio, which is a 10 minute journey from home. After coffee and a quick catch up with studio friends, I’ll try some ideas out by exposing screens, printing and overprinting hopefully stumbling upon some happy accidents that I can further develop.
I find it impossible to decide on colours on a computer screen so I mix the pigments and screen-print the design in (too) many colours and finally make a decision. The ones I don’t use become handy little remnant packs that I sell on my website. I look at emails in between when screens are drying or at lunch.
Printing is pretty addictive so often it gets to 7-8pm before I realise that I need to clean up and head home for the day!
What are the key stages of your design and making process?
Designing and making go hand in hand for me. I start with the bones of an idea on paper or on the computer, but it’s only when this is transferred to screen that the magic really happens. Printing is a key stage for me as the designing, developing and finalising all happen then.
Photographing my finished products is also important; images are sent to shops and press so it’s important they are of a high standard.
What is the best thing about your job?
Being my own boss!
Do you listen to music in your studio? What three songs are on your playlist?
Yes! I need music in the studio. Sometimes I have BBC Radio 6 Music on all day, other days I like to select what I’m listening to. Three songs on my playlist:
- Jaan Pehchaan Ho – Mahammed Rafi
- This Here – The Cannonball Adderley Quintet
- Gibbous – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Who do you look up to as entrepreneur?
Why were you interested in having your products sold at not just a shop?
UAL have been so supportive during my time at CSM and since I graduated that it feels very special being able to sell in the space! It’s superbly curated and located and I can’t wait to see how it grows.