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Art provides balance for management professor

Nallan Suresh paints in his art studio, which overlooks the woods behind his home. Photo: Courtesy of Nallan Suresh

By MATTHEW BIDDLE

Published April 11, 2016

“Especially as business people, we need an artistic outlet with all of the challenges in the workday and our other obligations.”
Nallan Suresh, UB Distinguished Professor and chair
Department of Operations Management and Strategy

Nallan Suresh discovered his love for drawing and astronomy as a child growing up in India.

“When I was 8 years old, somebody showed me Jupiter through a telescope, and I was hooked for life,” says Suresh, UB Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Operations Management and Strategy in the School of Management. “Astronomy became an obsession. I had one corner in my room where I would grind my own lenses for telescopes.”

"Rise of the Moons, on an Exoplanet" by Nallan Suresh

Art and astronomy have remained vital pursuits for Suresh ever since. He discovered his natural talent for painting 15 years ago during a sabbatical in the Netherlands. As a visiting professor at the University of Groningen, Suresh and his colleagues rented a studio where they would gather to paint on some Friday afternoons.

In 2005, he returned to Groningen for his first exhibition, held at a local bar frequented by artists

“I was excited and nervous because art is so subjective,” he says. "I wasn’t sure how people would react to my art, but I quickly sold four or five paintings and was really pleasantly surprised.”

Suresh strives for realism in his paintings and often finds inspiration in his travels to Asia and Europe, as well as in the natural beauty throughout Western New York and the Finger Lakes region. His continuing fascination with astronomy inspires his spacescapes — vibrant scenes of galaxies, planets and stars. While he works mostly with oils and acrylics, Suresh likes to pass the time while traveling by “painting” on his iPad.

"A Morning Seashore" by Nallan Suresh

Suresh has exhibited at the juried Allentown Art Festival in Buffalo for the past four years and plans to participate in more shows in the future.

“Many of us have an innate artistic drive within us, and it’s important to find our avenue and pursue it,” he says. “Especially as business people, we need an artistic outlet with all of the challenges in the workday and our other obligations. We must find a balance in our lives, and for me, art provides that balance.”