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Meet Rajiv Khilnani, a Visual Artist & Actor

Settled in West Hollywood area, Rajiv is award winning artist with multiple shows to his credit.

Rajiv, who moved from India to USA in 2000, has also performed in several TV shows and 15 films.

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Rajiv Khilnani, born to Sindhi parents who had migrated from Sindh to India in 1947, is an award winning artist with multiple shows to his credit. Growing up in South Asia has had a major influence on his work, shaping not only subject matter, but also his color palette. He particularly enjoys creating works restricted to 2 or 3 dominant colors; using line, shape, design, contrast, and texture as his main creative elements. For his monochromatic work he won “Award of Excellence” in the Abstract category at Triton Museum’s state wide competition.

Khilnani-Rajiv-8In 2011, his work was accepted to a juried show, at Sandra Lee Gallery in San Francisco. In 2015 he won “Best Abstract” work award in the OPEN juried show organized by FALC. He had his first solo show in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.

Rajiv resides in the West Hollywood area where he works on contemporary abstract paintings on canvas and paper. His works have been collected by numerous private parties.

Khilnani-Rajiv-Lost+Boats
Painting by Rajiv Khilnani

About his passion for art, Rajiv says:

“When wearing my artist hat, I revisit my childhood, carefree and full of energy, ready to play with my toys in a loving and protected space.”

In an interview few years back, when he was asked why did he decide to pursue a creative path? Rajiv answered, “As it is said, sometimes you don’t choose your profession but the profession chooses you. My creative career pretty much fits that statement. While I was always interested in the arts, especially painting, for the longest time I never thought of making it a career. I discovered my passion for painting in High School and dedicated significant time towards it. Back home I was even represented in multiple galleries, but I never went to an art school. Instead I got my degrees in business. A MBA in Finance, can you believe that!”

Khilnani-Rajiv-1“My creative journey got even more interesting when I moved to USA in 2000. Instead of working in the corporate world, I started working for Stanford University, Palo Alto. While working there, I started taking theater and on-camera acting workshops and soon discovered my love for acting. From 2003 to 2015 I did over a 150 on-camera projects, mostly commercials and short films. On the side I was still painting and doing occasional art shows. Two Thousand Thirteen is when everything in the universe told me that I should give my creative talents a serious push. I quite my 9 to 5 job, starting studying acting seriously at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, San Francisco, and after three years of rigorous training I moved to Los Angeles in 2016 to make art and acting my full time careers,” Rajiv said.

Khilnani-Rajiv-4Sharing his life journey, Rajiv said, “My first passion was painting. My love affair with visual art is almost 30 years old. I started painting after High School and never looked back. While I never pursued art as a full-time career until 2016, I can easily say that I have dedicated hundreds of hours each year since 1993 toward this passion. I was fortunate to find my artistic style relatively early in my career which definitely set me apart from my peers. As a result of that I was accepted into galleries for showings at a very young age which I am very proud of.”

“I am also excited about the fact that I have sold over 300 works which are now, hopefully, brightening somebody’s house or office. When you are dedicated and passionate about something nothing feels difficult. Occasional frustration does creep in but dissipates quickly once you immerse yourself into the activity you love doing.”

Khilnani-Rajiv-2“My creative process typically begins when I become inspired by a certain interesting design, shape, form or pattern. I then cover the canvas rather intuitively, inserting elements of the subject matter. I mostly work from memories but sometime view personally photographed images for reference and inspiration. This gives me a start but what the end result is going to be is a whole different, exciting and sometimes frustrating story”.

Talking about acting, Rajiv said, “As for my second love, acting, I started that in 2005. While I am blessed to have worked a lot in the commercial world in the San Francisco market the LA market has been a bit of a challenge because of tremendous depth of talent here. I am a go getter and very persistent individual. I have tried to rise up to the challenge by taking classes to hone my skills, networking with creative professionals and reading trade books. I think being a diversity actor with great sense of humor, East Indian casting, sets me apart in Hollywood. These qualities have helped me get agents and manager fairly quickly and I have already auditioned for many successful TV shows in the last three years. Even with these successes I don’t take anything for granted and have learned to keep on working hard and be humble.”

Khilnani-Rajiv-3Rajiv Khilnani is known for ‘A Period Drama’ (2015), ‘Milk Money’ (2011) and Homecoming (2018). In ‘Homecoming’ he was Co-star. His other TV shows include ‘Only Children’ (Co-star); Doomsday: 10 Ways the World Will End (Co-star).

Rajiv has fifteen films to his credit, which include ‘Eleven Hundred to Lubbock’, ‘The Off Couple’,  ‘A Period Drama’, ‘Conscious Chaos’ (Lead), ‘Now What’ (Lead), ‘The Promise’ (Lead), ‘The Painter’ (Lead), ‘Calliope’, ‘A Million Miles Away’, ‘Milk Money’, ‘Cornelius’, ‘Bicycle Bride’ ‘Chee & T’, ‘Steve Jobs’ and others.

Regarding pursuing two careers – Painting and Acting, at a time, Rajiv says, “The reason I am pursuing these, relatively difficult, careers is because I have a 125% support of my immediate and extended family. Apart from my family I have some very dear friends who believe in me and my passions strongly, but also think I am insane for quitting my job. Lastly, everyone needs a handful of dedicated teachers who are invested in your success. I was blessed to find such a teacher in the visual art world and a handful of such teachers in the acting world. I could very easily name these pillars of my success here but then I am afraid I might leave out someone.”

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Source: Shoutout, LA, USA, Los Angeles Art Association, LA Original Art, Amazon, Singulart, podcasts, resumes and artspans.     

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