Art, // October 29, 2023
AnilKumar (AK) — ARTIST
Interview with artist AnilKumar (AK) —
1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am a normal, loving, social being who loves art, colour and music… Just like you!
I am an India-born British artist and author. After graduating in Engineering from CUSAT (Cochin University of Science and Technology) and 8 years of corporate work , I did my Masters in Business Administration from Bradford University. I rediscovered my love for art in 2012 and by 2015 I took a career break to follow my passion, and now I devote full time in art, exploring and developing my creative passions. This is thanks to the unique galleries, artists, and the old cobbled alleys of London.
2. Why art?
As a self-taught person in art, I believe that the sounds, movements the events around me could be captured forever and given life. That is what my art is to be – capturing a phenomenon and then using colours to bring it to life as if it is talking to you. My idea is to help individuals bring their whimsical thinking and quirky behaviour out in the open using art.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
I always liked to draw but growing up in a traditional Indian household, academic success was encouraged and the creative subjects were considered leisure activities. I was always bombarded with the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” … And I already knew from the bottom of my heart that I should draw and paint. I used to draw in college, designing invitations or flyers for events, not to mention the diagrams for friends’ college record books. Looking back, I can say that drawing came naturally to me.
4. What are your favourite subject(s) and media(s)?
There are no hard and fast rules for me when it comes to mediums.
But then to answer I can say that, while working with acrylics my preferred choices are bright and bold ones. It shows the positivity and energy that lies beneath. On the other hand, when miniature art comes which is smaller than a British pounder, he is more comfortable and relaxed with watercolours. Last but not least, while I am illustrating, brush pens and markets are my comrades. In other words, I am not afraid or sceptical about trying any medium and I always love to break all conventional concepts of art in a positive way.
5. How do you work and approach your subject?
Usually, an idea spouts from something I have been reading or perceptions gathered from talking to people about a topic, or world politics. I believe we have influences all around us. It’s about taking a feeling, a passion, and transforming it into a talking piece forever. I can never imagine what the end result will be, as every sequence, and every conceived option builds the ultimate piece. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle only that the final image is not set prior to the start of the work but only arrived at through rigorous focus & patience.
For every subject I endeavour, I try to encapsulate its essence through a playful spectrum of colours, creating a visual dialogue that beckons a smile or a thoughtful pause.
6. What are your favourite art work(s), artist(s)?
As I have not done a theoretical art practice or a course or degree, I tend to like artists and their work that I have seen in my daily life. I look for the simplicity used to convey emotions and also there are those whose political and ideological views have attracted me so far. Even though I can list quite a few like Banksy, Yayoi Kusama, Connor Brothers, Andy Warhol, et. al, who have their own unique style, I cannot stick to or follow one favourite artist or artwork.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
The 2 very striking responses I have had so far have been –
First during my first solo exhibition few years back a visitor walked through the KOI Series – “Circles of Life,” I could see them reliving their own journey, it was as if the paintings were walking him through his life experiences. He had so many emotions and took him a few moments to compose himself to be able to express himself. That is a great gift to an artist when the viewer is moved at many levels.
More recently, during the exhibition of my new collection – ‘The Athenaeum – taken for Granted’ a visitor just laughed and came to find me in a crowd of people to say she really appreciated my satirical take on the topics and just provided her the alternate perspective needed. She also shared some of my work with her extended family who couldn’t come along.
8. What do you like about your work?
My art is a way for me to express my ideas, feelings, and observations in a way that they become conversation starters. I believe the best of my work is still to come as I am still learning and evolving my techniques and use of different mediums.