Working Magic on Faces and Canvases - Dr.Soham Mitra
A Surgeon and an artist by profession - Meet Dr.Soham who hails from Calcutta and is currently working as a Surgeon at Jamshedpur, UK, and Calcutta. Dr.Soham began his art journey at a very young age. He comes from a background of eminent artists and his Grandfather was one of the pioneers of the Modern art revolution in India as well as the founder of the Bengal School of Art. His Grandfather was into oil painting and Dr. Soham was always fascinated by the colors and canvases that would lie around in his Grandfather's room. He was not allowed to touch them, and this increased his curiosity. He was a creative child and was never into sports, and an outlet to release his creative energy was much needed.
Dr.Soham was born in a Bengali household where arts and culture were of paramount importance. He was put in an art class by his mother at a Clubhouse nearby as it was a tradition for all the family members to acquire some creative skill or the other. Junior Soham would run away from the classes, but one day, he was found playing with the mud from the flower pot. His teacher instantly recognized his potential and bought him some playdough with which Junior Soham created different animals and shapes.
Talking about his journey as a Medic as well as an Artist, Dr. Soham says that both Science and Arts go hand in hand for him. We tend to put knowledge in different boxes, but he strongly believes that such distinctions should never exist. Human knowledge can be treated as one single entity of knowledge, and we are the ones who segregated it according to our convenience. His Master's Degree in Fine Arts and Med School happened simultaneously, and his journey was made easy with a crucial building block laid by his Grandfather's friends who were artists. He stood on the shoulders of titans who helped him achieve in-depth knowledge in classical arts. Dr.Soham worked with so much passion and enthusiasm that he earned a gold medal in Masters in Fine Arts, while also becoming a National topper in medicine. His relentless pursuit of knowledge empowered him to handle both Arts and Medicine gracefully.
He has always been fascinated by the human body, and even read Grey's Anatomy fully as a child and holds a National Record for the same. As a Surgeon, Dr. Soham works with the faces of people with unfortunate trauma burns and accident cases. A face is a window to one’s identity and his job is to make the face look as close to natural as possible that is devoid of any stitch marks or scars. He believes that to perform this in the most flawless way possible, it requires an innate knowledge of art. This is where aesthetics and art go hand in hand. Dr. Soham, also a Sculptor, excels in this field with the finest of his sculpting skills. As he is a trained sculptor, his hand stability is exceptional while holding the instrument and he is an expert in making precise cuts on the bones just like how a sculptor would chisel out a piece of art.
Dr. Soham has tried his hands at different mediums, but he chose to teach watercolor as it is the hardest medium to be taught. He likes to be challenged at all times. He says that in watercolor, one needs to know the tips and tricks like the wet-on-wet approach. It is essential to know how wet the paper is so that the lines do not spread, and it is quite difficult to master the art. He likes the light-like feeling of painting which he hardly gets from other mediums. When it comes to teaching, he loves teaching beginners as it is easier to track their progress which in itself is a great reward. He gets invited as a Guest Lecturer for events in Art colleges, and he is also a part of the International Watercolor Society. Dr. Soham has collected so many references over the years, and he combines multiple references or makes a different version of the reference as he likes to challenge himself. He paints when he comes back home after work, and painting is his happy place. He likes to stimulate his brain with different challenges, like working with one hand tied behind his back and so on.
While talking about the challenges, Dr. Soham says that it's difficult to juggle time and he sometimes gets burnt out. Surgeries can go on for a very long time which is exhausting. Dr. Soham used to do a lot of huge mural commissions for official establishments and had formed a group for the same. But as his job demanded him to travel, and since it wasn’t possible to be physically present, he found it difficult to manage the commissions.
Dr. Soham is associated with many prestigious art companies and he actively takes part in the development and testing of new products. He works with multiple brands and has deadlines to be met. He had his very own sketchbook launch, for which he has to prepare a lot every time, and send it for print and it is quite a long process. Dr. Soham says that it's been a very rewarding journey, as he receives a lot of love from people and organizations. You can never separate Dr. Soham and art. Art has always been a part of his personality. There is a touch of art when he treats his patients. Art has brought him peace in his most turbulent times on a spiritual level.
According to Dr. Soham, success is mental peace and being comfortable in his skin. He advises aspiring artists to be persistent. You may not like your artwork when you are starting out. But work your way through to make things better. Keep sticking till the end and keep working. Be confident about what you do. He quotes his Dean of Art College in Mumbai - “It takes an artist to take something ugly and turn it into an art”. Dr. Soham says that it requires a lot of practice, and you need to take one step forward at a time. Set aside 15-20 minutes every day for practice. Create something unique to you. If you fail in one medium, just go try another medium. Feel free to progress and excel in other mediums. Be open to constructive criticisms and ignore the trolls - says Dr. Soham (@drsoham_mitra_arts), the Medic and Artist who carries all his artworks, some in his heart and some physically.