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Style Magazine

The Arts in Folsom: Kamlika Chandla; Creative Spirit

With a background in and passion for psychology, artist Kamlika Chandla uses her insight to paint portraits teeming with deep, often pensive emotions. Relocating to El Dorado Hills two years ago, Chandla is also a published poet and art instructor, as well as the founder of Musart, a nonprofit she manages alongside her younger brother. Standing for “music and art,” Musart aims to collaborate with schools and organizations by creating a forum where children can explore their creative spirit, especially those who have experienced trauma and abuse. Though she’s painted since childhood, Chandla didn’t become a full-time artist till 2011. In addition to teaching workshops, commissioning work, and traveling, the artist is also hard at work producing a series of abstract paintings as part of two solo shows: Cosmos and Beauty in Diversity. “With [Beauty in Diversity], I intend to trigger a dialogue on the notions of beauty and how real beauty, in fact, lay in diversity,” shares Chandla.  

HLB: What were you like as a young artist?  

KC: Growing up in a traditional, conservative Asian [household], only academics were considered respectable routes forward; all creative pursuits were expected to be treated as vocational, free-time pursuits. As a child and young adult, I constantly daydreamed [about being] an artist and a writer and would fantasize about exhibitions and art shows, publishing books, and being besieged by the world of ink and color. Nevertheless, I drew and painted consistently, had my parents adorn all the walls of our house with my art, and requested art supplies and drawing books as gifts. They considered me unstoppable and stubborn but also recognized that my creative spirit couldn’t be bottled for long. 

HLB: Do you have any advice for artists just starting out?  

KC: It takes courage, because oftentimes people think they have to be talented to begin in the first place, and that’s not true. All you need is interest and patience to learn a new skill. It’s best to have an open mind and explore the myriad of possibilities that creativity renders in terms of style, complexity, content, or composition. For those exploring painting for the first time, I can’t stress enough the importance of observation and drawing skills. There’s no such thing as a bad drawing or an ugly painting—it’s all about getting mileage on the canvas. Most importantly, stay curious and open to your unique instinct and inner voice—it can be your best friend.  

HLB: What changes would you like to see in the art world?

KC:  I’ve noticed there aren’t too many young people who attempt to join the art community, including art or poetry associations—almost as though it’s [reserved for] retirement. I’d like young people, even schoolchildren, to get out there and explore their creative spirit. It’s good to have a hobby or develop a new skill at every stage of your life; in the end, it’s truly about being centered and striking that balance. 

Art Beat:

July 14 – Second Saturday Art Workshop. Join artist Roy Moffatt from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Folsom City Senior and Arts Center as he teaches attendees how to put together a watercolor landscape using techniques that can be used for a variety of paintings and styles.