Roseville Artist Ritu Atwal: Splashes of Brilliance
Growing up in India, Ritu Atwal doodled constantly as a child, before falling in love with painting during high school. After settling in the U.S., Atwal was trained to create murals and faux finishes while working for interior designers and private clients. The last few years, however, the artist has focused on creating fine art, and displays her colorful, mixed media pieces at Rocklin’s Gallery iQ, the annual PlacerArts Studios Tour, and Rocklin Fine Arts’ Juried Art Show (February 3-4). “All those years working on walls and ceilings trained my hands to work fast, and now I find myself drawn to making large works on canvas,” shares Atwal. “Texture and color are my tools for creating the mood in my work.”
HLB: What’s the biggest inspiration for your art?
RA: I’ve always been fascinated by the complexities and perplexing nuances of human relationships; [observing them, I try] to understand the gap between what people portray, and what the truth is. My favorite subject is the human form, whether in a traditional portrait format, abstract, or stylized. At my core, I’m a philosopher and theologist, so I’m starting to experiment with subjects of faith, spirituality, and universal human truths.
HLB: Have there been any significant moments with your work?
RA: My uncle had a wonderful collection of books about the Old Masters, and I was immediately fascinated and mesmerized by the beautiful, enormous sculptures by Michelangelo. I’m guessing that’s where my love for the human form began. I’m also fortunate to have a life rich in adventure and loaded with loving people. To pick a moment from so many impactful experiences is hard, but I have to say the birth of my two boys really changed my outlook and gave me deeper understanding about love; they’re the source of my strength and my greatest teachers.
HLB: What do you enjoy most about your community?
RA: Mumbai is the film capital of India, and I was surrounded by creativity and talent throughout my life there. I came to America after marriage, lived in the Bay Area, and then moved to Roseville 20 years ago. Placer County is a wonderful place for family and community, and I like the blend of people from different ethnic and economic backgrounds. I’ve made many friends here, and am constantly moved and taken aback by the generosity and warm spirits of the people.
HLB: Why is art so vital in today’s world?
RA: Can you imagine if no one took time to create, experiment, or express? Where would we be? And if everything was run by a rulebook, what would that do to human imagination? Art exists outside the boundaries of social formalities and political agendas. For me, art equates freedom. It’s a non-verbal, universal language of human emotion. In today’s world of division, frustration, and political turmoil, art has become a necessity of sorts. Artists can express thoughts through their work that others may be socially persecuted for. This gives art the power to evoke change, if only one observer at a time. On a personal level, art—as challenging as it may be—has been my companion, my therapy, and my meditation. placerartsstudiostour.com/rituatwal
By Heather Becker