Painter Kamlika Chandla Shares Her Inner Light

by | May 2024

Kamlika Chandla working on Fire and Grit in her studio.

Kamlika Chandla working on Fire and Grit in her studio. Photos: Chris Emeott

Artist’s life mission is turning visions into reality.

The light gracefully pours through the floor-to-ceiling windows that encase Kamlika Chandla’s art studio. Nestled in the heart of her home, the studio is a treasure trove of sculptures, elegant portraits and breathtaking landscapes. “I have this inherent need to create,” Chandla says. “It doesn’t go away. I can’t turn it off.”

The sunbeam highlights her latest work-in-progress, a stunning painting of wild horses. “I call it Fire and Grit,” she says of the 6-by-4-foot painting. “Horses in themselves are symbolic of high energy and high mojo, like tenacity, and that’s also representative of who I am as a person. I don’t give up. I’m a go-getter I would say … the fight is with myself. I like chasing excellence. I have very high standards for myself.”

In Search of the Light. Oil on canvas.

“In Search of the Light.” Oil on canvas.

Fire and Grit is an image that has been living in her mind since she was a child, just begging to be transformed for a vision into a work of art. “It was so compelling and desperate for me,” she says. “As a kid, I thought, ‘I want to be able to paint big horses, so what will I have to do throughout my life to become skilled enough?’”

Honing Her Talent

Chandla always felt the pull of art. A psychologist by training, she dove into the creative world in 2012. She started by taking art classes at Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. “Until that point, I hadn’t studied art formally,” she says. “I felt some classical training would help … You have to really master your craft. There’s no shortcut to that. Mastery opens doors.”

Venezia Gondolas (Venice Boats). Oil on canvas.

“Venezia Gondolas” (Venice Boats). Oil on canvas.

In her quest for technical mastery, Chandla started traveling. “Wherever I was, I sought out established artists and begged them to take me in,” she says.

She trekked to Italy to study at the Florence Academy of Art and to Austin, Texas, to apprentice under Mark Carder, who has painted U.S. Presidents and dignitaries. During this period of her life, Chandla had a daughter, and the family moved to California. As her daughter grew up, Chandla found her art attracting the attention of other mothers. “Moms wanted portraits of their children,” she says.

Reflective Painter is a portrait of Chandla’s first mentor, artist Mark Carder. Oil on canvas.

“Reflective Painter” is a portrait of Chandla’s first mentor, artist Mark Carder. Oil on canvas.

The Next Generation

While making her own art, Chandla began to teach, and life changed forever. “I have found the most joy in the teaching of art,” she says.

In 2019, Chandla and her family moved to Edina. She spent the first six months setting up a studio in Minneapolis only to shutter it when COVID-19 began. She began teaching classes online and helped people tap into their own passion for art. “It’s the greatest satisfaction when people find meaning and are moved,” she says. “I can take people to the point where they let it out.”

While she just opened a new gallery and studio space in Eden Prairie, Chandla holds group, private and summer workshops in her home studio in Edina. “There’s been no looking back from teaching,” she says.

Peonies From My Garden. Oil on panel.

“Peonies From My Garden.” Oil on panel.

Full Circle

And there has been no looking back from creating. To any one person, Fire and Grit would seem to be complete. But Chandla keeps putting finishing touches on the legs and the horse’s skin.

“I can’t tell you for how long I’ve been chasing this idea. Because I thought to myself [completing this] is when I would have ‘arrived,’” she says. “The dream that you’ve been chasing is about to come true … then what’s after that?”

Kamlika Chandla Fine Arts

That pull to create Fire and Grit is now manifesting itself into sculpture. Chandla says she is honing her sculpturing skills in preparation for her next act. She says she was raised to pursue excellence and is fueled by her mantra: “Work in silence; let success be your noise.”

Kamlika Chandla Fine Art
7525 Mitchell Road Suite 105, Eden Prairie
Facebook: Kamlika Chandla Fine Art
Instagram: @kamlikachandla


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