How many of you would have the passion or the guts to throw away the course picked out for you by your parents, and follow your dreams instead? Here’s one particular artist from Chennai who did: Akilesh S. Kumar, known as “LotuzHead” for street art and murals, and “Aki” for fine arts.
Working under two different names was a conscious decision he made to make sure that his ideas and concepts don’t clash or overlap one another. Despite his passion from a young age, it wasn’t until 2014, after 2 years of studying Fine Arts in Singapore, that he began freelancing. His primary focus is on abstract figurative works, including ideas from spirituality, astronomy, psychology and symbology. His work contains many layers that come together to form a complete image, but not without traces of all the singular layers. He makes sure he does this because he believes that the viewer should be able to understand the time and effort that is put into each work.
The path that was initially chosen for Akilesh by his family and his peers, is a path that almost every Indian would be able to identify with – the overly-renowned professional certification of a Chartered Accountant. And although he has always been interested in the arts, both visual and music, and even wanted to make a career out of it, he decided to abide by his family’s wishes and do his B.Com degree. It didn’t hurt that he was good at that, too. Then, art was looked as a hobby, and not a way of life.
But after finishing his undergrad, Akilesh was a lot more certain that he wanted to become a professional artist. And after long, countless discussions with his parents, it was finally decided that he would go to Singapore to study fine arts. That certification already opened a lot of doors for him, but after returning to Chennai, he caught up with some of his friends who did graffiti, who encouraged him to experiment with painting on a wall. Akilesh claims that he fell in love just a few strokes into that painting, and a whole new channel of art began for him.
Art is booming. And it will continue to do so as long as human beings exist.
To young and aspiring artists, Akilesh would like to say that yes, despite popular belief, art can be a lucrative career. India is breaking down barriers and stigmas, and introducing more options to work with. The younger generations are willing to experiment and innovate in many different fields. “I feel that talent and creativity is a gift, and the least we can do is to respect it and use it in our lives,” he says earnestly.
He also stresses the importance of the clear line he drew between his different styles, since it helps him strike a balance in what he does. It allows me to channel and focus his efforts in the right place, without confusing both his clients and himself. The Egos denote what each style can deliver, and also stick to a certain train of thought.
For street art, he mostly uses non-toxic emulsion paints. For fine arts, he specializes in charcoal, watercolor and pen & ink.