‘Life’s magical, and what makes it magical is art,’ begins multidisciplinary New York-based Bengaluru-born artist Raghava K.K. The 37-year-old’s tryst with art dates back to over two decades ago. From making cartoons at 16 to being pegged as ‘one of the 10 most remarkable people of 2010’ by an Indian news network, Raghava has come a long way. In the midst of ‘an ongoing pursuit of discovering himself', Raghava gets chatty with us about some exciting projects in the pipeline — an upcoming art show at the Art Museum in Mumbai and a forthcoming collaboration with a conservation biologist to create a children’s book that focuses on wildlife and the need to preserve it.
“I’ve always been extremely passionate about nature and things are falling in place. Dr Kriti Karanth and I have decided to conjure up a children’s book centered around wildlife. We just got a grant from National Geographic. We perceive it as a channel to express the love we have for animals and how essential it is to preserve, be empathetic and protect our wildlife species,” begins Raghava. He is looking forward to some upcoming art shows, which will see the artist ‘recreate’ himself.
“Every few years, I reinvent my work. I’m letting go of the narratives/stories, which were significant aspects of my artworks, and am entering a new phase.”
Painting, films, installation art, multimedia, performances and a whole lot of other things fall under his repertoire. But, quiz him about what he identifies most as, and Raghava says, “I’m a painter at the end of the day. It’s always been about thriving and not surviving. Looking back, I started at a time when it really required one to go against the grain to become an artist. It wasn’t ‘cool’ and there weren’t as many opportunities. But, I’m glad to have stuck to my guns. I created as many as 30,000 cartoons at 16.”
His love for cartoons led him to set up an academy and pursue travel, one of his other passions. “Setting up the academy offered opportunities to travel across the globe, meet artistes from different walks of life, with different perspectives.” Raghava loves to paint with water colours. “Water colours are of a mischievous nature. They never obey you and you can’t control them."
While it’s natural to be inspired by the accomplished, Raghava tells us he has always found inspiration in everyday people. “I don’t really have role models as such. Honestly, when it comes to getting inspired, there are so many aspects that I look into. And, it’s not easy to find it all in one person or a celebrity. I believe I must try to learn as much as I can from every other person I meet. But, if I had to name my confidant, it has got to be my wife Netra. She is my pillar of support and I turn to her every time I’m low. I’m grateful to be blessed with a healthy support system," he concludes.