Keerthana S Kumar - Visual Artist

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! I'm Keerthana S Kumar, a Visual Artist based in Bangalore. My cup of tea is figurative painting.

What is figurative painting? Why were you drawn to this specific style?
Figurative painting is a type of art form where the subject matter is typically human or animal. In my paintings, the subject matter is a woman.

I work on this style because I know that it can provoke stimulating conversations around things often not celebrated such as a woman’s viewpoint, self-worth, choice of lifestyle, and a lot more. When I started my journey in arts, I purely saw it as a medium where I could translate my feelings and emotions on a blank canvas.  At one point it became so liberating to see my true potential, which I could not have discovered if I had not painted. My earlier works, which I created only for myself and not with any intentions to sell, brought so much positivity and encouragement. To spread positivity, growth mindset, powerful messages or even simple everyday emotions figurative art does it for me. 

 How do you usually prepare for an upcoming exhibition?
Collect, create, and compose. I collect my ideas together and decide on a powerful collection. In this phase, I ideate and brainstorm a lot from the story to the visual aspects. I like to see in my mind how the whole collection looks like only then do I start to create. I then have to motor and get into tunnel vision to actually bring the paintings to life. This translates to long painting hours. I try and complete 1-2 medium size (2.5 X 3 ft)  paintings in a month. The next stage is very important for me, where I compose meaning of the artworks that was originally intended, handle the logistics and stay composed while I wait for the show to begin. That’s my 3C approach!! 

 You recently exhibited in Dubai. How does it feel to present at a global level?
Showcasing works in a global forum is truly an amazing experience. My paintings speak a universal language, that makes it easier for me to connect with my collectors. I love meeting people and talking about my art. It gives me a buzz. Living and working in India, I have been able to exhibit both in person and online. I have got my works published in international media. Sometimes I don’t feel the geographical boundary. I like the idea of being an international artist. With social media, the world is within your reach.I am able to meet my buyers online.  If a collector is in the US or in the Middle East, it does not matter when you are online.The only pain is customs and shipping. Just kidding 😊

 Do you think there’s a certain responsibility/shift that comes when you’re creating art for an audience vs for yourself?
I always create based on my experiences and emotions. I express my simple opinions. that’s it. There is a nice overlap between what I want to paint and what my audience resonates with. I am really liking and enjoying the place where I sit right now. Having said that I want to explore themes that are bolder and may not resonate with common people. I will paint for myself, for my satisfaction, for feeling complete within. I believe my art will reach the right people when the time is right.

 You have a distinct style, using bold colours and patterns. How did that come to be? What’s the story behind it?
My palette is very bright and bold. I love colors that pop. They are alternate to skin colours in the sense that they capture one’s personality rather than physical appearance. There is a a lot of judgment on the way people look. When you look at my paintings, you basically rip off the veneer and see what she is truly all about. Patterns are part of me. When I’m on call speaking to someone or when I’m idle and if I happen to have a pen and paper.. there would be a lot of doodly lines, checkers, random patterns. It’s a habit since childhood. I have always been drawn to patterns.

What’s your work-day like?
50% create. 5% looking for inspiration. 5% admin work.  40% general life stuff. I sleep long hours, a minimum of 8. That’s very important for me. At the end of the day, I reward myself with treats for having a productive day. This could be watching Netflix or enjoying a hot chocolate cake. 
 What are your favorite and least favorite parts of professional art?
I love every bit of professional art. My least favorite could be the logistics- stretching canvas on frames, packaging, and shipping artwork.  I would like a studio assistant please :D 

 What are you working on at the moment?
Without revealing much, I’m currently working on a collection for an upcoming In-person exhibition. It’s a series of six paintings that tells the stories of everyday empowered women. I am using acrylic mediums on stretched canvas, 2.5 X 3 Ft in size each. 

How would you describe your personal style (in terms of fashion)?
My style category is “color block” – I like to pair solid colored items which are bright and bold along with quirky pieces of jewelry or accessories. I also like artsy fashion which are dramatic, statement making. I don’t dress artsy but I like to see myself in that style soon. 

How do you resonate with Teejh?
I enjoy the clash of modern and antique. I grew up in a household where people wore traditional gold jewelry. From the get go, even when I was a child I rebelled against the idea of wearing traditional jewelry. My love was always for the silver, oxidized, antique-looking pieces. Anything quirky, outside eyes and heart are always drawn towards those. I think Teejh has a very modern collection. It celebrates simplicity and perfectly sits in a modern women’s vanity box.

What does the future look like for Keerthana?
In my future I see myself exhibiting in a lot of shows, meeting my collectors all over the world. I want to paint big..larger than life, explore NFTs and see where it takes me. 

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