Richa Kashelkar's art is is hard to miss - brilliant, expressive, full of life. Richa is a self-taught artist living in Goa, India. She has a background in architecture, and has been working as a photographer for a decade.
Richa's art is an expression of all the things she loves, and it comes through in the vibrancy and energy in her pieces. She is inspired by the natural and cultural beauty around her, as well as that within - in her own words: 'Beauty, utopia and the mysteries of life.'
You'll find Richa's work exploding with the brilliant abundance of nature, and the transcendent joy of living a life more laid-back.
Canvas & Weaves was delighted to chat with Richa and find out more!
THE SELF-TAUGHT ARTIST
Like many of us (especially from more traditional families!), Richa did not grow up with the idea that art was a reasonable career choice. 'It got pushed behind in all the academic chaos,' she explains, leading her to study architecture instead, and practice photography as expressions of her natural creativity. After a while though,
'I started feeling a pretty strong desire to paint; there were there were certain scenes that I saw which I wished I could depict as a painting, and it pained me that I couldn't.' Dejected that she hadn't 'studied' art, Richa thought she had missed her chance to be an artist.
Unexpectedly, technology came to the rescue. One day Richa happened to buy a phone with a stylus, which allowed her to sketch digitally for fun. She was instantly and irrevocably hooked.
'It changed literally everything,' she tell us.
Richa even credits social media for broadening her understanding that an artist doesn't necessarily have to be 'trained' in a traditional way. 'I came across beautiful works of art in different styles, and realised that one doesn't need to be trained in realistic painting methods to be able to paint. In fact I noticed that I seemed to like the not-so-realistic ones more. This knowledge, and the joy I was getting in painting gave me courage to just start despite my lack of formal education.'
THE CALL OF NATURE
Richa finds beauty, and inspiration, strikes at any time. 'It could be anything from seeing an interesting room to a wonderful landscape setting or a stunning person! Sometimes the inspiration is the colours, sometimes I paint to convey certain ideas.'
One key ingredient behind Richa's lush and verdant canvases, though, is perhaps her love and respect for nature as a whole.
'I have a natural inclination towards a wilder beauty in art. Not neat and precise, because that's just not me. I like bolder brush strokes, strong but natural colours. Nature is definitely a strong element in my art. It is god-like, to me.'
However, despite the joyous common element of verdancy that runs through all her art, Richa doesn't consciously work with this particular theme in mind.
'I never knew what themes I was drawn to until I actually started painting. One after the other the paintings came, and only in looking back on them did I notice the themes. I suppose as within, so without?'
She also notes, 'Off-late I am noticing a trend where I am pulled more towards the way the painting itself communicates to the viewer, rather than the narrative content behind it. I like it if the viewer can fill their own story in it. At least that's the kind of art I would want to hang in my house- one that I could insert myself into.
THE ART OF LEISURE
Many of Richa's pieces feature our human connection with nature - how it nurtures and restores us. Resting women are surrounded by soft greenery, and sunlight drenches calm domestic scenes.
One might see a certain feminine quality to a lot of Richa's work. However, she acknowledges that the eye of the artist will also sometimes dictate the viewpoint. 'Art is but an expression of the artist, so maybe a feminine point of view was a natural outcome.'
Richa chuckles, 'Any women you see are incidental! My paintings don't make any statements on the concept of womanhood itself; I am more interested in the human experience, where gender is irrelevant.'
More importantly, Richa's art is about our universal human need to take a breather sometimes. 'I am highly appreciative of the value of leisure in human life. It is often the essential first step, for a person to be able muse about subtler ideas regarding our existence.'
PROCESS & INSPIRATION
Richa shares candidly that she doesn't have a particular creative process. 'I paint when I feel like it, and lounge around the rest of the time.' It might sound like a idyllic life, but when she's in the grip of inspiration, 'I am usually painting most hours of the day unless I'm having a bad day. Afternoons, and post-midnight seem to be the times I work best!'
Richa's favourite artist 'by a huge margin' is French artist Henri Matisse. 'I have learnt a lot from him about wildness and beauty. He creates a version of reality that is far more fascinating than reality itself.'
Is Richa's aim also to make a fascinating version of reality? 'I just want to make paintings which produce in myself that 'gasp' one feels at witnessing beauty or meaning. If I am truly happy with it, then I want to share it with others and hope they feel it too.'
Richa has not yet dabbled in the new world of the modern digital art market, such as NFTs. 'I can see how things might be headed in that direction, but somehow I'm unable to get myself interested enough to delve into it at the moment!'
THE HEART OF THE MATTER
The most important practice, to Richa, is to use that 'horribly cliched but accurate term - follow my heart. The heart's voice is of utmost importance in matters of art; in fact it is the very essence of art. So I listen to what is pulling me, and I follow like a sniffing dog.'
And it has certainly paid off, in Richa's gorgeous collection of beautiful pieces. Richa agrees : 'It's incredibly rewarding!
You'll be able to dive deep into Richa's brilliant and beautiful world at Canvas & Weaves. Explore our collection of high-quality giclee prints, and bring a vibrant touch to your home.