News From Terre Haute, Indiana


October 7, 2011

Paris artist earns second in international art contest

PARIS, ILL. — Every year Southwest Art magazine conducts an international competition in an effort to showcase young and emerging artists. The show is known as “21 Under 31.”

In this year’s competition, Kari Rajkumar, 22, of Paris, was chosen to receive second place for her graphite portrait entitled “Scott.” The selected works (and the artists) are featured in the September issue each year.

Rajkumar works in graphite and pastel. She is entirely self-taught in graphite, and has received only 15 hours of instruction in pastel.

Her winning piece, “Scott,” is a portrait of an engineer who, in his spare time, travels to many re-enactments across the Midwest. In late spring each year he sets up his own teepee and gear at Crestwood School in Paris to give the students a firsthand look at the life of an 1840s Longhunter. In autumn, he takes part in an encampment at the Edgar County Fairgrounds as part of the Honeybee Festival.

“I met him there, dressed in buckskin trousers and homespun linen shirt, with his prized Indian bead necklace slung around his neck,” Rajkumar said. “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.

“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.”

Rajkumar is the youngest member of the board of directors for the Bicentennial Art Center in Paris. She has been a guest art teacher for Mayo Middle School and occasionally offers private lessons in her home. She accepts portrait commissions in pencil and pastel, with the ultimate goal of working in oils as well.

The majority of Rajkumar’s works, including her winning portrait and several never-before-seen pieces, will be on display at the Crawfordsville Public Library, 205 S. Washington St., Crawfordsville, Ind., from Oct. 28 to Nov. 30. Hours for the library are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Rajkumar also will be teaching portrait drawing classes this fall in two locations. At the Bicentennial Art Center in Paris, Beginner Portrait classes are from 5:30 to 7 p.m. CDT Thursdays; and, at the Gaslight Art Colony in Marshall, Beginner/Intermediate Portrait classes are from 6 to 8 p.m. CDT Tuesdays.

For more information on either of these classes, or to register, contact the Paris Art Center at (217) 466-8130, or the Gaslight Art Colony at (217) 808-2115.

More examples of Rajkumar’s work can be found at

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    March 12, 2010