An Interview with Karma:
A bit of background, while I was living in Thailand a few years ago I had the opportunity to learn about the street artwork of the artist Karma. I was memorized and inspired by her culture jamming and delicate way of putting up walls and creating a maze of color and wonder for the viewer. I felt that many of my friends in the art world should be aware of her work and what she is up to. I asked her if she would not mind being interviewed so that readers may learn more about Karma and her work.
Let’s begin with who you are and your background, please tell us a bit about who you are?
My grandmother named me Karma. I am a third culture kid, having been born in Singapore, with a Thai nationality and my ethnicity is Indian. My great-great grandfather immigrated to Thailand in 1906 due to rising tensions between India and Pakistan. I went to university in Melbourne, Australia, and also spent two years living in rural India. I currently live in Bangkok, Thailand with my husband, who is a filmmaker and musician. When I'm not in the studio or traveling, I ride my bike around town, read, attend art openings, jam with friends, meditate, go to the gym, upcycle stuff, and spend time with family.
What do you feel is integral to the work of an artist, is it your surroundings, experiences, friendships
I’m interested in breaking down and re-assembling geometry that I see around me in the natural & urban world, as well as the experience of visually expressing a sense of music through the composition of new forms. I want to create forms that are beyond the realm of verbal thought, that are experiential in nature. Each work is a silent melody. I often describe my work as a vibrant geometric explosion of freedom, femininity and visual musicality.
In terms of evolution, emotions have a functional role for survival, i.e. fear leading to the avoidance of danger, love leading to bonding with a mate for offspring. This is true for many animals. Humans however have an excess, or surplus amount of emotions that do not have direct functional roles for our survival. I feel this is where creative and exploitative actions come from. Personally, I use meditation as a tool for emotional exploration, introspection and visualization of new images. I'm very much interested in the nature of thoughts and experience.
On a practical level, having a good studio space, committing to a routine, getting organized and shutting out the multitude of distractions from modern life is a must. I definitely have challenges with this sometimes!
What type of work do you most enjoy and would you be able to explain a bit about your process, is it more planned or more freestyle?
I like working in many different mediums to keep feeling fresh in approach and find new challenges. I switch between street art, drawing, printmaking, painting and now I'm gradually getting into sculpture. I get bored easily like any other millennial I guess, haha. I want to see how my aesthetic translates into different disciplines.
Up until recently, I have worked in a completely improvised and intuitive manner. Sometimes I play with visuals in my mind, but rarely did I work from a sketch. I find it's gutsy, wildly liberating, exciting and quite a problem solving roller coaster working like this.
But currently, I have a new series in which I've planned a bit more by working from sketches. I've become a bit more deliberate and contemplative in my process. I think I'm finding a meeting point of rationality and intuitiveness, of Western and Eastern thought, I suppose.
Finally, what role does art have in today’s society? It has changed over the year’s and we see art that goes Artists and their art offer new perspectives to society. Art can provide a sense of wonder to us with beauty, provoke what we think we know, provide insight, challenge, and unravel the way we see things usually.
Creating and viewing art is the ultimate act of mental resistance to mass cultural programming, to consumerism, to fear and a bleak existence. Humans are rich with complex emotions and we need somewhere to engage them.
Street art is awesome because you get to reach people who otherwise may never set foot in a gallery or browse art blogs online. Bangkok is covered in advertising, seeing a fresh piece of street art combats the brainwash of marketing. Street art gives, rather than manipulates.
Thank you for sharing a bit about your work with us today. I love your work and I’m certain other’s will too. To learn more about Karma Sirikogar's, art feel free to visit her at her contacts below: