Interview with Kokil Sharma
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? and your first experience in art making?
I am a London based artist, born and raised in India. I studied B.Sc. (Hons.) Architectural Technology at the University of Westminster in 2008. Since then, I have worked and travelled extensively to learn about different cultures and to study the Western art and history. As a child, I was involved in our school's annual events and art exhibitions each year for almost a decade. Other than art, I was involved in Gymnastics, Yoga and Dance and also played for my school's Basket Ball team. I recently got into aerial acrobatics and really enjoy seeing the world upside down. I find that after spending hours in the studio, there's an urge to get out and jump around to stay creative as well as physically and mentally active.
My first experience in art making was colouring shapes with these bright and beautiful oil pastels. I still very clearly remember my first colouring and sketching books. My mother still has some of my paintings from our childhood in her house.
How would you describe yourself and your artwork?
I think I am a fairly open and fun loving person. I love people and I love to interact with people from different walks of life. I am an observer but at the same time I like to participate and contribute towards any project or cause that I believe in. And, I take work and play very seriously.
I am currently painting portraits and figures, so my artwork is all about other people. But, I suppose subconsciously, I am attracted to subjects that I relate to on some level and stories that have defined my beliefs, principles and life experiences. My artwork is bold, dynamic and authentic and the use of colours and materials is slightly unconventional.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get inspired by humble and hard working people I meet almost everyday. People who are true to themselves and live an authentic and fulfilled life. My family inspires me, my childhood memories are still a very important part of who I am and the direction I take in life. I also get inspiration from reading books about art, history and ancient cultures.
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
I feel that everybody experiences things differently and so I like to leave it open to the viewer's interpretation and let them experience it however they please. But I hope that on some level, they feel comforted. My intention is to reflect basic human qualities such as passion, love, colours and beauty. But, people might see a lot more than that and sometimes nothing at all. At the end of the day people will see only as far as they wish to see.
When do you know that an artwork is finished ?
When you've been working on something for so long, you just get a feel for it. You start to see very clearly what works and what doesn't. Whether the art needs more work or whether it is better to leave it alone and come back the next day. Sometimes, even one extra brush stroke can make or break a painting. You just have to follow your instinct.
What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
Every time I finish a painting, it's an exciting moment for me. I only work on controlling the execution part, so sometimes when I see the result, it's a fun surprise. I find these little things far more rewarding than one exciting big moment.
How long does it take to produce one work?
Anywhere between 5 hours to 5 days for a small to medium sized work.
What exciting projects are you working on right now? Can you share some of the future plans for your artworks?
I am currently working on implementing symbolism and allegories in my art which is a whole new world. The subject really fascinates and excites me as it bridges the gap between the spiritual world and the real world to some extent. I'm working on exploring it more so you might see a completely new style from me in the future. The idea is to continue to explore and create works that I find exciting and meaningful at the same time.
Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions we should know about?
I have a few exhibitions lined up in the summer this year and a possible art residency in the later part of the year. The details will be up on my website and social media closer to the dates. So, keep an eye.
Where do you see your art going in five years?
It's difficult to predict because I don't even know what's happening next week. What I can say for sure is that I see my work evolving everyday and constantly changing, which makes it impossible to plan and predict anything that far off, at this point. I'd like to see where it goes because this whole process is filled with surprises. One thing I can say for sure is that I am hoping to find a bigger and a better studio on a long term basis, so that I can create larger pieces. Other than that, I will most likely be doing similar things but with a lot more experience.