21 Under 31 | Kari Rajkumar

2nd Place


ART EDUCATION: Self-taught. I have only received 15 hours of instruction.

STYLE: Realism.

Scott, graphite, 22 x 17.

INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WINNING PIECE: Scott works as an engineer, and in his spare time he travels to many re-enactments across the Midwest. In late spring each year he sets up his own teepee and gear at a local middle school to give the students a firsthand look at the life of an 1840s longhunter [an explorer who made expeditions into the frontier wilderness for up to six months at a time]. In autumn, he takes part in an encampment at our local fairgrounds. I met him there, dressed in buckskin trousers and homespun linen shirt, with his prized Indian bead necklace slung around his neck. When I inquired about the necklace, he identified each bead and pointed out its unique pigmentation despite his color blindness—that’s why I chose graphite for this project. I’ve always had a love of early American history, and I look for opportunities to render portraits of re-enactors whenever I can.

SECOND-CHOICE CAREER: I can’t imagine myself doing anything that is not art-related. It is so much a part of who I am.

CREATIVE SPARK: With all my portraits, I am inspired by the people themselves—their lives, interests, personalities, and all the things that make them unique. For other projects, music is a constant source of inspiration for me—instrumentals and 
film scores especially.

ONE THING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: I am the youngest member serving on the board of directors in my hometown of Paris, IL.

PET PEEVE: Someone chewing food while in close proximity to my ear; my cat lying across my throat in the morning; not having enough hours in the day; and my own inability, sometimes, to sketch exactly what I see in my mind.

FUTURE GOALS: To launch into oils and, in the longer term, to have my own studio.

PRICE RANGE: $450 to $6,500.

REPRESENTATION: www.karirajkumar.com.

Featured in September 2011.