For someone with synesthesia, Brindha Kumar’s artwork would probably sound like synth-pop. Her winning submission for Art In The City, a competition turned exhibition spearheaded by CENDANA, stood out for us like a pink tapir in an otherwise ordinary zoo, Scrolling through her portfolio is enough to send anyone into a technicolour reverie. We scheduled an interview with the 27-year-old and discovered that for all her lanky beauty, Brindha Kumar is surprisingly shy as hell.

Though it’s not a very sexy topic of discussion, transparency helps the public understand why their every bit of support helps. How does funding allow artists as yourself to grow?

Without a steady pay check, things are up and down for an artist. You may want to bring your vision to life but can’t for a lack of resources. Funding provides a push forward and takes artists to the next level of their career.

CENDANA’s Art In The City program certainly did that for you.

It’s only because of them that the printing of the banner and the marketing was possible.

I’m glad to hear. It’s awful how artists are always offered “good publicity” or “complimentary use of the space” but little else. 

I received such offers in the beginning, but I’ve learned to weed out the parasites. I get a ‘feeling’ when they’re about to ask for something free. It’s not right. You’d be surprised, but big clients can sometimes be stingier

If you could step into a time portal and speak to a younger Brindha, what advice would you give her? 

In Malaysia, I have no regrets, but when I went to the UK, I felt really overwhelmed and alone, and was so scared to try new things in an unfamiliar country. During my final year at university, there were a lot of courses I could have taken, like letterpress, screen-printing, book-binding and 3D printing, but I didn’t. I was...


Yes, hesitant.

Were these workshops included in your syllabus? 

They were optional but I wish I had done them as I could have expanded my creative oeuvre. Therefore, I would tell my younger self to be braver and not to shy away from opportunities.

How about future Brindha? How would you pick her mind?

I would ask her if she was happy and comfortable with her life and career. If she had her own studio and complete freedom to do what she loved without worrying about cash flow.

What tools or programmes are indispensable to your creative process?

It’s mostly just Photoshop and my Wacom tablet. If clients need me to use Illustrator, I can do so. I really love Photoshop for the brush tool, which is hyper realistic. And then there’s paper and pencil, of course, for the preliminary sketches or to quickly jot down my ideas.

Is anyone else in your family artsy?

My mum and her sisters are. Mum’s the reason I started drawing. We used to draw together when I was young, and my interest in the field grew.

Which Malaysian artist, dead or alive, would you love to brainstorm with?

Joanne and Jonah of Fictionist Studio. The designer duo has a periodical project called the F Series, which gives them complete freedom to do whatever they want. When collaborating with Goodpair Socks, not only did they design the product and the packaging—they even composed a song.

What fun! Virginia Woolf believed that every female artist should have a ‘room of one’s own’ in which to create. Describe your ideal artist enclave.

I’d like a loft with floor to ceiling windows to let in lots of light. And a lot of plants. One corner would be for working on my paintings so the mess is contained, while another corner would be for digital art. So a lot of space, a lot of light, and a lot of plants.

Picture this: You receive a gold-gilded envelope in the mail and discover an invitation to Tatler Ball, the highlight of our annual calendar, within. Depict what you’d wear to the ball:

I know it’s super sexy but I quite like that sheer top Bella Hadid wore one time. Something tight with a throw over, because this is Malaysia, after all.

Permission to publish Brindha Kumar's hero image was granted by Yoke & Thearn. Photographer: Amani Azlin.

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.