Usha Shukla was born and brought up in New Delhi, India. From early childhood, she was fascinated by the outdoors. The vibrant colors of the Indian countryside left a strong impression on her. After a graduate degree in English Literature, she went on to get a diploma in Fashion Design. In 1996 when she moved to San Francisco, California, with her family, she found everything different except her interaction with nature. In 2005, after a visit to the Louvre Museum in Paris, she realized her true passion for art. Later, she completed a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, focusing on painting.
Combining her love of nature and passion for art, she paints large abstract paintings in vibrant colors. She has a unique process of mark-making. Instead of conventional tools like brushes and palette knives, she moves the paint on wood panels using an air blower.
Her work is owned by several local and international art collectors. She has participated in juried group and solo exhibitions around the world and has won awards. She has public art installations including in Livermore, CA,Court house at Dublin, CA, Sutter Hospital in San Francisco, Boston Children's Hospital In Boston, MA and Winship Emory Hospital In Atlanta, GA. She received the 2020 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award and now serves as an Art Commissioner on the Alameda County Arts Commission.
I create abstract paintings that distill the light, the intense colors, and the constant movement in nature. The final visual is pure, ethereal, and cosmic with no physical references.
When I was a young girl, I enjoyed walks along the Indian countryside, taking in the beauties nature had to offer. Twenty years ago I moved to California, a place so much different from my native land.
I felt out of place and disoriented. That is when I took sanctuary in nature. Today, when outdoors, I once more feel the same breath of fresh air that I felt in my childhood and my past and present become one. My paintings are the representation of a harmonious balance of my subconscious landscape and the physical world.
With a thought-out color palette and my unique process, I start on a journey of creation. When painting, I immerse myself into the process, get into a meditative trance, and let the painting guide me. It is always a balance of letting go and being in control. My head, heart, and hand become one and something pure and personal happens. Vapor-like shapes appear and disappear on the panel, leaving only traces of the initial layer, like the mere reverberation of a memory.