Intense color, stunning portraits, and women empowerment? How could our team not share the work of Bangalore, India-based artist Keerthana S. Kumar? Learn more below and see additional works on the artist’s Instagram and website.
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.
Keerthana uses acrylic mediums and knife painting techniques in her body of work. She was featured in World Art Dubai as an artist to look out for in their upcoming art fair. In 2022, she will be exhibiting at India Art Festival and World Art Dubai.
I have been exploring vibrant, bold woman portraits in modern-day art forms. The interest developed as a way for me to liberate myself, unlearn how I was raised to value myself, and define empowerment for myself. Our society still has a colorism problem. Sexist myths do not die either. As a woman of color, I went from victimization to thriving through my art practice. While I'm painting on a blank canvas, I always consider that the paintings I create should empower observers and encourage them to believe that beauty and power can be found in oneself and not determined by others.
My art is a representation of feminine identity, living an exquisite dream. In my body of work, there are layers of colors giving a textured finish look to my main subjects symbolizing uncommon, surreal, and soulful feminine beauty inside out. I use bright, bold, and saturated colors that pop instead of skin tones to reflect personality rather than the appearance itself. My creative process begins with identifying the right choices for three elements of my painting: vibrant colors on the subject (woman), pattern backgrounds (abstract or geometric), and objects of symbolism. I use palette knife techniques on the subject and flat brushstrokes elsewhere to get the perfect color block.