From engineers to entrepreneurs, the duo who run an art studio in Visakhapatnam

Dreams are just dreams until you work towards them. Unstoppable by their full-time corporate careers, these two Visakhapatnam residents have turned their passion into a profession. Partners in business and in life, Suma Chindhu Hari and Venkata Rohit have opened an art studio named Madhyamaka in Visakhapatnam for all art lovers.

Coming from a corporate background in Bengaluru, the duo, who have been married for 5 years now, quit their well-paying jobs to launch their dream studio here in the city. Initially sketched out as an art cafe for their love of art and food, the duo decided to only open the former due to pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Rohit is a trained artist and self-taught Japanese carpenter who works as a product manager three days a week and spends the rest of his time in the studio. Chindhu continues to work as a software engineer in Visakhapatnam five days a week and his weekends are spent practicing and improving his pottery skills. The monotonous work of routine at home made them leap into their passion which paid off as the people of Visakhapatnam discovered new skills.

When asked about the story behind the name of their art studio, Chindu said, “My husband Rohit believes in a very moderate lifestyle. No extremes and Madhyamaka is a Buddhist philosophy, which means the middle way. This thought is reflected in our products – a beautiful balance between traditional and modern techniques. Within days of its inception, the art studio was flooded with requests from enthusiasts who wanted to learn these new art forms. As word of mouth is said to be the best marketing tool, the people of Visakhapatnam have gradually turned to pottery and woodworking at Madhyamaka Art Studio.

From engineers to entrepreneurs, the duo who run an art studio in Visakhapatnam

The duo who had not originally planned to integrate education into their business model saw the demand and have now designed exclusively curated courses for all enthusiasts. Investing all their savings in this dream, they set up a comfortable studio in Pedda Waltair. Recalling his early days with pottery, Chindu said, “At a time when I was hesitant to buy my first wheel, not sure I could make a career out of it, my husband gave me one and pushed me in that direction. And today, Madhyamaka has gone from that wheel to four wheels.

Asked about the pros and cons of running this business, the enthusiastic potter said, “We sometimes end up burning out, but we’ve never regretted it. It’s the only time we relax and decompress. Teaching and designing is so fulfilling and makes us feel fulfilled. Discussing our future plans, the hiring process, planning our next sessions are what we love to do because we see our dream come true. Talking about the downsides, she mentioned that due to their slow movement, they don’t see benefits and find it difficult to balance work and personal life. But they never complained.

The pottery workshops are designed to have four beginner sessions, which welcome anyone with no prior experience. The aim of the workshop is to teach you how to make a ceramic pot yourself on the wheel and how to carve and finish it. The carpentry course organized by Rohit is a two-day workshop that teaches you how to make a stool without glue or nails. It is the specialty of Japanese carpentry. The course will be fully provided and includes hands-on experience.

Chindhu who comes from an entrepreneurial background is a second generation Malayali based in Visakhapatnam. With her husband, she now aims to launch her own line of products through their website and at pop-up markets across the city. The duo have also held longer workshops at intermediate levels for anyone wishing to pursue these hobbies at professional levels at their Madhyamaka art studio in Visakhapatnam.

Stay tuned to their website and Instagram page for timely updates on workshops and sales.

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