Madhu Kannan : India's Celebrated Tanjore Painting Artist Since The Last Two Decades | CEOInsights Vendor
Madhu Kannan : India's Celebrated Tanjore Painting Artist Since The Last Two Decades

Madhu Kannan : India's Celebrated Tanjore Painting Artist Since The Last Two Decades

 Madhu Kannan,  Chief Executive Officer

Madhu Kannan

Chief Executive Officer

Tanjore painting is a revered art style that originated in southern India and serves as a testament to the region's long and illustrious creative history. Tanjore Paintings are one of the few remaining examples of a traditional Indian or Hindu art genre. All of the paintings depict Hindu deities and the myths that surround them. Every Tanjore Painting has a unique backstory that contributes to its overall narrative. In India, one of the most well-known Tanjore Painting artists is Madhu Kannan, a painter with a deep devotion to and admiration for the art form.

Madhu Kannan is a visionary artist working diligently to produce world-class art, and in 2002 she launched Sandiv Art Gallery as a platform to showcase her work. In an exclusive interaction with CEO Insights magazine, Madhu spoke about her passion for art as well as her journey as an entrepreneur.

Give a summary of your professional background and experiences. What is the motivation that fuels your daily routine?
Initially, I had no intention of turning my passion for art into a career, and my first show was accidental as well. It was in 1996 that a friend of my husband noticed my art and asked why I didn't have an exhibition. In that instance, I had my debut exhibition and I had no idea it would sell out and get so much attention. I believe it was the seed from which my gallery blossomed. After that, I worked as a freelance artist for anybody who asked, drawing and selling my artwork. As for establishing a gallery with a name and a brand and all the other things, I didn't even know was
necessary, I just didn't think about it at all!

After that, in 2007, I opened my own gallery, with just 10 to 15 paintings on display at the time. While in Coimbatore for the first time I had an exhibition covered in the local media. And as a result of that exhibition, I gained customers such as Gmail, one KPI organization, and a few high profile personalities in Coimbatore. In 2014, I opened the second gallery and a flagship store, and I've been expanding ever since. Though my online business was launched back in 2007, until recently I did not pay much attention to it, starting in 2018 I dived headfirst into the online arena. That led to many overseas deliveries, and now we're building a four-story art gallery, which is a passion project of mine.

Having been a housewife for 18 years while starting your own business has been the most difficult hurdle to overcome

Throw some light on the creation or sourcing process followed for these art works
I began the gallery on my own and now employ around 25 people in total. With four in-house artists and four freelancers, I'm ready to step in when the going gets tough. I am colour-obsessed and generally paint in oil, however with god's blessing, I decided to create Tanjore paintings. Gemstones and 22-karat gold are used to create these works of art. What makes us stand apart is that we do it traditionally, the way a god's image should be drawn, and we do it with the god's eyes wide open. Thus, my customers and I have a deep appreciation for Tanjore paintings.

Reflect on some of the major challenges you have experienced in your journey so far? How did you overcome them and what did you learn from them?
Having been a housewife for 18 years while starting your own business has been the most difficult hurdle to overcome since you were
always at your family's beck and call. And no one cared about what you did for a living. Putting on exhibits while still taking care of my family was a major task for me for five years. After conquering all those difficulties, then managing time between marketing and being an artist, since your mind is constantly focused on the creative, was the hardest struggle for me. Then there was the issue of balancing it. To put it in simple terms, it has everything to do with how we work and how we strike a balance between personal and professional life. Even so, if you ask me today, I'm not sure whether I've succeeded in any of things, but I'm able to handle every thing. Furthermore, I believe I've come across the right individuals at the correct time. Moving ahead, as far as art is concerned, one cannot reveal who your competitors are. I think you're the one who's competing against yourself because it's your hand and your work that you're competing against.

What impact should a piece of art convey to the customer, considering he/she is thinking of acquiring it and what are your views on customer experience while choosing your artworks?
While making my ardent kind of art, Tanjore Paintings, I ensure that God has a smiling face. And I hope that when my clients see these works of art, it will bring them some peace. And I always tell my clients when they purchase a painting that if they believe there is an error and they are not pleased with the artwork, they may return it to me and I would provide a full refund. It doesn't seem right to me, and I believe that the happiness of the consumers should always come first.

Madhu Kannan, Chief Executive Officer, Sandiv Art Gallery
Madhu completed her Bachelor of Science degree from PSGR Krishnammal College for Women and again acquired a Bachelor of Education degree from Bharathiar University. Soon after her graduation, Madhu got married and in the later years, she decided to take on entrepreneurship and turned her passion for art into a profession. In 2002, Madhu established her art gallery in Coimbatore named Sandiv Art Gallery.

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