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Meet Raghubir Kintisch of Kintisch Studio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raghubir Kintisch.

Raghubir, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The last place I lived before I moved to LA was a four-story walk-up in Brooklyn and I had a studio underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. I drove a 1973 red and white Plymouth Valiant that got broken into on a regular basis. After my daughter was born, it seemed like it was harder to go up and down those stairs, get to and from the studio and do the amount of traveling I needed to do for work. With a baby in tow, I went to Los Angeles to do a big job.

I was a decorative artist at the time and the clients set me up with a van, a nanny and a place to stay on ground level. I had an epiphany! It occurred to me that life in LA would be much easier to navigate than life in NY so I decided to buy a house in Atwater Village and move here. Hey, most of my jobs were in LA, anyway! It was 1989 and full of faith, we landed before the house even closed escrow.

I’ve been an artist from the get-go. There was never an identity crisis or a question about it. I went to RISD and graduated with a BFA in painting. It was the 1970’s and it was a wild and creative time. Anything seemed possible. I hung out at dance clubs, had fabulous parties in my downtown loft and made art.

Among other things, I was part of the Club 57 art and performance scene; recently acknowledged by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in a blockbuster show, “Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983”. Two paintings of mine from the one-person show I had at Club 57 (“The NAKintisch Art Shebang”) hung in the MoMA show from October 31, 2017-April 8, 2018. That was a thrill and a half.

Throughout the 70’s and 80’s I was making lots of art; painting and installations mostly: fusing decorative art tropes with painting, sculpture, playing around with fabric, and other non-conventional materials. I was working in an office by day and making art by night. I had gallery and museum shows and also staged my own pop-up exhibits. I started to do decorative painting and mosaic tile work. Making art for a living in this way was a total revelation for me.

l did very well as a decorative artist. I met phenomenal designers, artists, writers, dancers, musicians, producers, entertainers; all sorts of creative people. My clients were willing to take leaps of faith in me and this made me grow more. I traveled all over the world and worked with the greats. I did tons of projects and got lots of press. The 1990’s-2000’s in LA was a very fertile time for me. The world was my oyster. I was making a good living and making good art. Somewhere in between I even started a hand-screened fabric company, Off-White Castle Studio. A few years ago, I morphed OWCS into a digital textile company called Texstylish which I still operate today.

I continued to work as a decorative artist and textile designer and then concurrently started teaching painting and drawing at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in the early 2000’s. There’s no limit to what you get from teaching these incredibly bright and talented high school students! And around this time, I also embraced Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® and began teaching it with an emphasis on Creativity. Kundalini Yoga healed my body which had been ravaged by 30+ years of decorative painting and so I was intent on sharing this miraculous yogic technology. It also gave me the tools to manage creative energy; one of my favorite topics to share with others.

At 60, I went to grad school and received my MFA in Public Practice from OTIS College of Art and Design!

Completely re-immersing myself in my art practice (which now includes social practice, video, installation, as well as painting and mixed media) was the best thing I could have ever done. There is nothing like giving yourself permission and the opportunity to do exactly what you want to do.

And now, even though I’m technically a “Valley Girl”, I still keep my East Side connections: I have a studio in Lincoln Heights where I am currently working on a project that investigates the cultural inheritance of women, I hold Kundalini Yoga classes and trainings in my old home turf, Atwater Village, and still teach painting and drawing at LACHSA in East LA. I’ve learned a few very important things over the years: 1) life is all about reinvention 2) you’ve got to roll with the punches and 3)your happiness is directly related to loving what you do and sharing it with others.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would say I’ve been blessed. Most of my professional and artistic life has been very smooth – as if laid out in front of me. Sometimes there are bumps in the road, but I believe in rolling with the punches so I always get through it pretty quickly.

Art-wise, I just do the work.

When I started doing decorative art, my credo was to “learn while I earn”, meaning that I worked inexpensively and took every single job that came my way. That’s how I became successful. People helped me and I was given incredible opportunities. I got great press, stimulating and high profile jobs, and I loved the work. I have always been creative and have always had lots of energy, and the work I was doing as a decorative artist put this energy to good use: it was very physically demanding and required a great deal of social finesse.

My nature is to jump in and figure things out. Sometimes it feels like leaping from an airplane without a parachute. This attitude served me well in almost every single professional endeavor. The struggles came when, in business, my focus was on making “art” and not on making money and not knowing when to let go. Yes, I think “letting go” is a big obstacle for many people.

I was busy most of the time but occasionally there would be periods where there was no work to be had. Even though these dry spells are predictable and perennial, any freelancer will tell you that they seem to come out of nowhere and are always challenging to maneuver.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Kintisch Studio story. Tell us more about the business.
I do several things.

One, I am an artist and I work in my studio. I take commissions of all kinds and sell my work. I teach art both at LACHSA and privately. www.kintischstudio.com

Two, sometimes I hire myself out to do a special decorative job or to consult. Many people consider me an “artist in residence”; in other words, bringing an artful eye to their home. I am useful in figuring out how the flow of energy moves through space, what colors and/or patterns people would benefit from, and how to better assemble items or furniture in a home. I am particularly good at finding the common denominator between the dwelling and the people living in it.

Three, I operate Texstylish – a digital online fabric showroom. I create custom yardage to order. I provide reasonably-priced decorator fabric with my colorful exuberant patterns and they are available online to everyone. Yardage can be printed “as is”, customized in color or scale, and/or used in creating accessories like pillows, bed sheets, duvet covers, and kitchen linens. www.texstylish.com

Four, I teach Kundalini Yoga – you can find me on www.raghubiryoga.com.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
My dad used to have a sign over his desk that read “I’m a firm believer in luck… the more I work, the more of it I seem to have”.

I am a firm believer in putting the work in. But I am also a yogi and know that we create our own “luck”. When the energetic forces are lined up inside and outside of us, then our life unfolds in amazing ways. The thing is, we can line up those energetic forces through a daily discipline i.e.; the practice of yoga and meditation.

There are many disciplines one can use or as I like to put it “cars you can drive” … but Kundalini Yoga is just the make and model of the one I drive.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Marla Strick

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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