Born in 1974 into a multicultural heritage of Japanese, German, Irish and American Indian; Kamanchi was crafted for creativity. As a child growing up his beloved grandmother Yoko, who was full Japanese, became his conduit into the world of understanding. She attached him —in a unique way— to the cultural sensibilities of Japan; through American eyes. His grandfather, (who died before he was born) was a Naval Airplane Mechanic who met his grandmother right after the end of World War II. During that time, his grandfather had asked his grandmother out and been denied, for four months straight (without missing a day); until finally, she said “Yes”. These two people have greatly inspired him, not only as an artist but as a person of pride; character and strength. They have shaped him to this day and motivate him to work hard.
We delved into the “Art of Kamanchi” and explored the depths and meanings behind this L.A. based artist’s creative expressions, check it out below:
Tell us how you were first introduced to Art; is there a moment that stands out in your mind?
K: When I was three years old, I was in New York for a year and its memory, sounds and visuals imprinted me.
My father pushed me into art at a very early age and film was the best value I got out of our relationship. Initially, I didn’t want a career in art due to him. I simply moved onto being an athlete and from 1991 to 2000 that is what I was committed to. The creativity pushed its way out in the form of Industrial Design and I’ve been doing that for the last 14 years. I realized how slow and defeating product design became and a year ago I decided to get stuff out of my system by posting on Instagram, only as a start; just to practice and have fun. But it has been the best thing simply because of who you get to meet, inspire or get inspired by.
Explain the significance of your name (Kamanchi) and the # sign.
K: Kamanchi is the amalgamation of my heritage. The hashtag (or pound sign) is beautiful and I love that it’s our modern symbol. It is quite the tool these days to connect with but what many people do not know is that it is also a common pattern design in old Japanese textiles.
In your work, we predominantly see the use of skull and bones imagery, what influences this?
K: They are very beautiful to me and probably the best subjects to practice with but they’ve run their course and I’m ready to move onto everything else.
You infuse a lot of layers into your work to create captivating optical illusions, do you ever find it challenging when creating these illusions?
K: It’s so much fun to me that the word “challenge” loses its meaning. It is more time based as a “challenge” because of how much work irrationally needs to get out. In examining my art, there isn’t a medium I don’t want to learn and do for the rest of my life. I enjoy the process of connecting with people whom I may never meet, in trade for the blood, sweat and execution of the second best version of what’s in my head.
| Artist Bonus Piece |
These are a few ballpoint drawings the artist did as a teen. They were his first and last drawings he ever did and are mostly unfinished. He had never drawn surrealism before that point and has never drawn since, up until about a year ago.
Kamanchi’s Street Intell:
“These are kind of a message in a bottle now and it has been super fun to create like that again, especially after 20+ years. Two of the drawings were ripped up because of an argument with my pops. He ended up keeping them, putting them back together and taking pictures of them. The two yellow paper drawings are my personal favorites. The fisheye elevator one (with the fly on the light) was my second surreal drawing I ever did and the first time I’d ever used a ballpoint.”
Make sure you support this artist’s creativity and view more of his work on Instagram: @Kamanchi