Brushing away stress with art


Khanak Surana

There are a variety of healthy ways to destress that students use. For freshman Khanak Surana, the chosen method for de-stressing is through art.

Christina Huang, Guest Contributor

With the stress of the school year, some students may turn to various coping methods or stress relief. There are many healthy forms of stress relief, from animal-assisted therapy, such as equine therapy, to activities that allow for creative expression while de-stressing. For freshman Khanak Surana, the chosen method for de-stressing can look like something as simple as a doodle or two every day: art therapy

“Art for me, it’s basically like a coping mechanism, it’s basically one thing that if I feel down, it’s one thing that I resort to, to make me feel better,” Khanak said. 

For Khanak, her journey began early, and with the help of her parents, her interest became a hobby.

“Although she was interested in art when she was 6 years old, she started creating paintings when she was 11 years old,” father Rahul Surana said. “She was staying away from her parents and started creating paintings by herself. Then we found a professional coach for her who taught her basics about art and also helped her create very beautiful canvas paintings.”

Though Khanak started art at a young age, she only turned to it as a de-stressor at the beginning of the school year. 

“Art just fascinated me,” Khanak said. “And I didn’t really didn’t think it was a big deal for me, but as the years went on, I realized how big art was as a part of my life, so I started involving it in different things, and it just sort of became such a big part of me.” 

Though currently just a hobby for herself, it’s shared with her family— and all their visitors. 

“Our whole house is full of her paintings,” Rahul said. “Whoever comes to our house, really praises her work. It is the biggest stress reliever for her. A lot of the time, when she wants to spend time alone, she takes her sketchbook outside and starts drawing sketches. It definitely helps her in focusing on her studies as creating paintings makes her happy.”

Art can even look like recreations for Khanak. 

“She has come a long way and now has become very confident in canvas paintings,” Rahul said. “Whenever we go to stores like Michaels, she captures pictures of the paintings available in store and then creates her own.”

She considers her favorite artist, Frida Kahlo, a huge source of inspiration in her personal journey as an artist. 

With the additional stress of high school, now introduced to her life, Khanak began turning her art into more than just a creative outlet.

“[I turned to art for stress relief] as soon as high school started,” Khanak said. “High school is very stressful, and I’m studying like twenty hours a day, so the few hours I get, I resort to art.”

Out of the pieces she’s done so far, however, her father has a certain favorite. 

“My favorite painting is a vintage car standing in a farm,” Rahul said. “Car trunk is filled with lots of colorful flowers. Usually, she takes 2-3 days to finish a painting if she spends whole days.”

But even though she doesn’t take classes out of school any longer, she’s continuing to take Art class offered at campus and 3D Modeling and hopes to persist in pursuing art, wanting to change a hobby currently for herself to be public and shared with others.

“I wanted to be an architect since I could ever imagine, and [I want to be] a person who just opens up exhibitions everywhere around the world,” Khanak said.