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Style Magazine

Kritika Bala

Aug 01, 2014 05:25PM ● By Style
Kritika Bala, artist at heart and engineer by trade, is breaking the mold with her breathtakingly imaginative oil and acrylic paintings. A member of the Folsom Arts Association and El Dorado Hills Arts Association, her work has been featured at Top of Folsom, Intel Folsom, the Bank of America Art Gallery and the Whole Planet Foundation Art Auction. What’s more, all proceeds from her paintings go directly to animal and wildlife conservation groups.

AB: How and why did you start making art?

KB: I remember taking a lot of art lessons when I was a child; I cannot remember, however, if the lessons were the result of propensity toward art, or if the interest developed because of the number of hours spent in lessons and doing homework. I started to paint for fun when I moved to Folsom about 10 years ago. I had no family or friends in the area—since I moved here for work—so painting was a great way to spend my spare time.

AB: Instead of profiting from your work, you have patrons donate to various environmental and wildlife conservation organizations. How did you decide this was the path you wanted to take with your art?

KB: As a child, I wanted to be a wildlife conservationist when I grew up. However, my family did not consider that a “normal” career path: I became an engineer instead. I was introduced to the great outdoors here in California, and the fondness for nature grew many folds. After the economic downturn in 2008, I was driven to give back to society somehow. Around the same time, I’d done a couple of paintings for friends and had such a good time doing it that it just seemed natural to use my art as a means to pay it forward.

AB: Does your engineering background affect how you approach your creative process?

KB: Being an engineer, I’m very attentive to detail, which—I believe—translates into my portraits and more realistic works. Sometimes if I’m not careful, however, I get too tied up in the technicalities of painting and miss out on the spirit of what I’m trying to do. It’s an interesting balance. 

AB: Is there a piece of work you’re most proud of? Why?

KB: I have a painting of an old lady I completed in 2013: Talking About Her Son. I met the lady at a tiny village in the foothills of the Himalayas while traveling. For some reason, I was very moved by her, and I think her spirit comes through in the painting. It’s beautiful when the magic of a moment translates onto the surface of a canvas, and this one somehow works. 

AB: What would you most like to say to other budding artists?

KB: I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and say, “I wish I could paint like that” or “I used to paint a lot, [but] I haven’t done it in a long time...” Making art is not an elitist activity. If you wish to do it, you probably can—don’t second-guess yourself.

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