Interdisciplinary artist and explorer
This science-minded artist drifts with a goal through the Atlantic and through life that links history and mapping with his personal "stickability."
From a very young age, Kishan knew he could jump heights above his own head. When he graduated from high school, he was jumping close to 7 feet, although he stood 5’7”. By then he had realized that people often evaluate you based on what they see. “But they can’t see talent, they can’t see intelligence, they can’t see worth,” he says. Kishan’s high-jumping experience taught him to manifest his own worth by literally overcoming his obstacles in front of an audience. Here’s what it felt like: “How do you take your entire body and first, clear this bar mentally — because you have to work up the nerve to throw your body up in the air and backflip over a bar?”
The result — and his current career — speaks to the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to learning. “Music and sports are extremely important for children because you’re working on your motor skills, your hand-eye coordination. It comes full circle when you start speaking about ocean science and art.” How so? It’s about discipline, “stickability,” Kishan insists. All of those exercises, all of those experiences, are very very important. “I remember one time my music teacher gave me this sheet music — four pages of sixteenth notes [a task requiring stamina and precision]. I was like, ‘You’re not serious! I can’t even breathe this, but you want me to play it?’ Yes.”
Like high-jumping, this was a hurdle for Kishan; that’s how he says he grew up, concluding, “Wherever your mind goes, your body follows. I was literally taking my head and body over those physical barriers despite what everyone else in the stadium was saying. I’m looking at this bar that’s way over my head, that nobody ever thought I could get over! So I grew up in this activity that fortified my mentality.
I found that in the art world it’s not always the ones who are most talented who make it. It’s the ones that have the most discipline and those that stick to it.
Spectre of death
Where's the Path?
Are you future-proof?
Because Kishan changed schools often, he confronted the challenge of needing to establish who he was each time. “I constantly had to prove myself. Since he missed placement tests, they would place him in areas of lower expectations. ‘I would have to work my way back up. It was, ‘Shut up, put up, prove it, and move on.’ That happened over and over. In various ways I found myself pushing my boundaries.”
Learn to learn!
At SCAD, Kishan expanded his goals to a double major, adding 3D Visual Effects (a form of computer generated animation) to his initial focus on painting. Although people questioned him for attempting this demanding program, Kishan says it sharpened his awareness of collaborations and networking. “Animation is what changed my approach to painting, my approach to creating art.” Or, rather, was it the teacher? “I had one professor who would write down everything, record it, focusing on pedagogy: how do you think, how do you learn things?” Kishan feels that learning how to learn should be a bigger part of school. “How do you deconstruct the world? Some persons might prefer to listen, some persons might like to write everything down. I learned to break things down into many layers, so that most of my work is layered the same way that you layer animations, such as various composited layers of fog and water. It’s the same with my art projects, the way I layer content and history with art, science, and mapping.
Learn to make (not just take) opportunities, too. Kishan makes a very conscious effort to invest his time in watching educational and motivational programs, things that feed him information and feed him just, well, “positively.”
The internet can also be a source of mentorship, since it allows for connections not only with physical persons, but with motivational speeches or channels that “feed you.” Even on an island in the Atlantic Ocean, the internet lets Kishan feel that he has the world at his fingertips.
SPECTRE OF DEATH:
Kishan recalls, “For some strange reason I always thought I was going to die at the age of 15. 15 was just a number that was in my head. So I always felt that I had to do everything I needed to do by 15.” But why, why, why? “I don’t know,” Kishan replies. “But I actually talked to a few of my friends when I was a teenager and surprisingly there were other persons who had this same kind of sense. It was just weird. I felt that whatever you do, you have to do it now. Live up to your full potential! So you’re tired, but don’t leave anything undone. Of course you rest, but live a life of purpose.”
This weird sense helped him to understand his own purpose — and his own relation to both his work and other people. “In my teenage years, when all of my friends were partying, I was in front of a canvas painting.”
It helped that his parents kept him from partying too much, Kishan says. “My parents were kind of strict. When everyone else was getting drunk and stuff I didn’t have that luxury.” As a result, he says, he became more conscious and responsible.
Where's the Path?
As a teen, Kishan was selected to participate in a summer art workshop sponsored by a major finance corporation in The Bahamas. In this program the country’s best art students were tutored by leading artists. This experience led up to Kishan’s admission into the Savannah College of Art & Design, a prestigious institution in the U.S. Having already been exposed to university course hours as a teenager while still in highschool helped, he says. He also began looking more pragmatically at the artworld.
“If you want to go into the art field, some persons have job/exhibition experience.” Yes. But what if you don’t? Kishan says to consider what would be the equivalent of job or exhibition experience: “How do you fill in your résumé: How many shows have you been in? Do you have recommendations?” He sees it as a problem that there aren’t enough people to guide young artists along the way, saying “this is what you need, this is what you should be building toward.” He advises, “You have to find your signature, your voice”. Some persons are interested in comics, other persons are interested in how realistically they can render something, and other persons are more interested in sculpture…”
You must ask yourself, ‘How do I make this better, how do I better myself? How do I diversify my portfolio — your artwork, your creative work.”
And once you’ve found your path? Use that voice to find others and build a community. Kishan feels he gravitates in this direction naturally. “I mean The Bahamas is a community-minded island nation. No matter where we go we find and build communities, because like-minded individuals gravitate toward one another.” And these communities are at the heart of the networking that can lead to more opportunity.
“School in itself is a network, right? That’s partially why you pay for it, so you have access to certain networks.”
are you Future-Proof?
Adding the ever-changing technology of animation to the ancient art of painting gave Kishan an experience with what he calls “future-proofing” his career. He defines this for himself as staying on top of new technologies. “I was engaged in things and didn’t realize how beneficial they would become.” He began animating when computers were a lot less advanced, so he feels he grew with the technology.