Kavi is a Bombay-born, LA-raised visual artist whose signature mixed media dreamscapes encapsulate political phrases and poetry, ruminating on multicultural identity. Kavi’s use of mixed media are unpredictable and possesses its own energy, creating pieces that resonate with womanhood, modern culture, and Indian heritage. Now 33, the artist has developed a newfound confidence with her relationship within two cultures.
“My mission as an artist is to explore juxtaposed societies and cross-cultural boundaries, with reference to autobiographical experiences and personal influences, through my work,” Kavi says.
Kavi frequently appropriates imagery of Indian women from social media or pop culture, layering the works in dream-like vibrant hues. Some of the artist’s signature works incorporate photography colored with watercolor, ink, or acrylic and embellished with materials such as glass, paper collage, and resin.
Her latest series, “Bite the Bullet” has been showcased in Miami art fairs such as Scope, Spectrum, and Mana Wynwood, generating great interest among collectors and gallerists alike.
Tell us about this series of work?
This series is about speaking your truth and being able to not hold back in fear you will be misunderstood.
Where do you source your materials?
I source them all over the world, but most of my papers are from India.
What motivates you to create?
The dream of being and staying a self made woman.
What is your philosophy on life?
Do good, be good to others and love yourself.
What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?
Swoon is really a big influence because she creates work on paper. She’s not just a female artist who has been nationally recognized–her artwork is also about her childhood. She completely unleashes all her memories when she was growing up into her works of art and you can feel the powerful nature it has and the impact it’s had on her life today.
What’s something you will not be doing in 10 years?
Not be sitting still.
Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?
More types of handmade papers and venturing into sculpture.
Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what are you listening to right now?
I cannot work in silence. I love listening to anything 70’s related – Beach Boys Radio to Drake… I just love music.
If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?
What makes you laugh no matter what?
Name your favorite female artist.
There really isn’t just one one, but Yayoi Kusama really has inspired me.
What is your creative process?
Mixed media. Layering and collage work. Anything that I can get my hands on material wise is fair game. I love texture.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Describe your work in three words…
Depth, vibrance, cryptic.
What makes you excited about the future?
The opportunities are there, because it’s just a matter of me being able to secure them and I love a good challenge.
What is your approach to color?
Coming from India, I welcome all colors. It’s a way to express our moods and to be able to connect to where I’m from a little more.
What influence does modern culture have on your work?
I cherish the influence it’s given to my work. In this digital age of posting photos every day, I have learned to embrace it. I can incorporate digital images and mix it in with hand applications and other artistic elements. I meet a lot of my muses through social media and it’s added another level of enjoyment to my work because I have even become friends with some of them.
Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?
I am fascinated with a lot of different cultures and one of the artists that I admire is Takashi Murakami. I know he has received a lot of criticism because he’s made a business out of his art and Japanese culture, but it hasn’t stopped him. His career has flourished and I admire his culturally infused style.