Keerthana S Kumar, Painting

Born into a family of engineers, Keerthana was encouraged to pursue a lucrative corporate position. She graduated from top schools and earned her undergraduate degree in engineering and a postgraduate degree in business. During her time as a business consultant, she discovered her artistic journey. Keerthana is now a contemporary figurative painter living and working in Bangalore, India.

Keerthana always loved painting portraits of women experiencing and expressing emotions. Pop culture, fauvism, and symbolism inspire her work. Her art evolved from experiences of color biases and gender prejudices that affected her self-perception. As a woman of color, she faced issues because of being dark-skinned within her racial and ethnic groups. Gender role expectations seemed irrational, and she felt it was only an impediment to free will. Brought up in Chennai, a conservative city in India, she did not see any representations of her in media, social life, or within the family who had turned big dreams into reality. Due to her unconventional mindset, she questioned the conditioning, urging herself to make a difference in her world. Only in her early twenties did her world open, and she started seeing her role models, who are now playing a part in her painting inspirations.

In her body of work, there are layers of colors giving a textured finish look. Her creative process begins with identifying the right choices for three elements of her painting: strong colors on the subject (woman), pattern backgrounds (abstract or geometric), and objects of symbolism. She uses palette knife techniques on the subject and flat brushstrokes elsewhere to get the perfect color block.