Interview with Yamini Pinto: A Cross Cultural Inspiration

Yamini Pinto has been passionate about art for as long as she can remember. She attended art school in India where she specialized in ceramic design. However, once she moved to Chicago, she re-discovered her love for painting and over the last three years developed a unique style and explored the many possibilities with oil paints.

ArtStyle: How did your subject matter develop?

Yamini Pinto (YP): Given that this was my initial foray back into painting, my instructor suggested that I start on a theme I was familiar with. It seemed only natural to me that I chose “Lord Ganesha” as the subject of my first work. This was a subject that had special meaning for me, as five years earlier I had painted this Hindu god of good fortune and prosperity on my wedding invitation.

Yamini Pinto Lord Ganesh
Courtesy of the Artist

My second painting was of the “Street Vendor,” a subject selected by my instructor, from various pictures and books on India. This painting and its portrayal of a seemingly mundane scene from home turned out to be a milestone for me, as it set the tone for those paintings that followed, and has become a part of a series on India.

Yamini Pinto Woman with Umbrella
Courtesy of the Artist

ArtStyle: What type of process do you go through when working on a painting?

YP: I usually start by choosing a specific Indian subject and then determining the size of the painting. I then like to do several small pencil sketches on paper and play around with different ideas for the final composition. Once I’ve defined the mood of my painting, I start drawing it out on canvas. Then the long process of “creating and destroying” my canvas begins. I agonize over color, mood, background, and textures. I continuously scrape and repaint my canvas until I feel all aspects of my painting complement each other.

Yamini Pinto Bazaar
Courtesy of the Artist

ArtStyle: What do you think makes your paintings unique in this contemporary art world?

YP: I think what makes my paintings unique is my diverse cultural background, which is reflected in my work. My art is a juxtaposition of opposites, east and west, old and new, traditional and modern. It’s the coming together of two parallel worlds in a single frame.

I have been residing in this country since 2001, but through my art I depict my homeland, India, where I was born and lived until the age of twenty-three. I began painting in Chicago three years ago. And while I try to hold on to my roots, when I paint, I cannot deny that I’m inspired and influenced by my current surroundings here in Chicago. For instance, while I am currently working on a series on India, the backgrounds are more abstract. I like to create different textures, whether it is through the application of paint or through patterns. The Chicago cityscape, landscape and seasons stimulate me to use abstract patterns, rich textures and vibrant colors. In my paintings I endeavor to re-create a world I once knew and create a world I know now.

Yamini Pinto Cows
Courtesy of the Artist

ArtStyle: How are your paintings different from other Indian paintings?

YP: I think my subject matter primarily distinguishes my paintings from those of other Indian artists. Only after my move to America and numerous trips back to India did I finally begin to appreciate what I had left behind in my homeland. Street vendors with monkeys hanging from their canopies, auto-rickshaws driving along side cows, things that once seemed mundane and simply a way of life, now seemed unique, interesting, and beautiful. On one hand, the country is racing to modernize and grow economically. On the other, time seems to stand still. In the words of Gregory David Roberts, “the impression is of a plodding, indefatigable, and distant past that has crashed intact, through barriers of time, into its own future.” In my paintings, I try to capture this uniqueness and this spirit that is India.

Yamni Pinto Facting Cows
Courtesy of the Artist

ArtStyle: Do you always work in a series?

YP: Since I started painting, I’ve chosen only Indian subjects, developing a series on India. For now, the Indian subjects seem endless, so I will probably continue working on this series for a while. However, I am certainly open to new ideas and subjects to paint in the future.

ArtStyle: How long does it take you to finish a painting?

YP: The whole process from start to finish can take up to several months for each painting. This is because I spend a lot of time staring at my work and scrutinizing it. If it reveals any weakness, it gets repainted. Until a painting holds up under this intense scrutiny, I don't consider it finished. What can I say? It’s not easy being your own worst critic.

ArtStyle: What is the next direction for your upcoming work?

YP: For now I will continue to work on my Indian theme. In the future, however, I hope to paint a more eclectic series inspired by my travels around the world.

Yamini Pinto can be contacted at

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12 Comments so far

  1. Rewa & Arvind Narain @ May 29th, 2007, 1:12:48 pm

    Dear Yamini,
    So much hidden talent!!!
    You have really surprised all of us–the paintings are really very good, the colours and the concepts.Rewa ofcourse loved the Bangle seller, the colours and the monkey is very cute.
    Even the fusion of East/West, Chicago and India is amazing.God Bless and keep it up.Love,Rewa ‘A’ and Arvind ‘U’.

  2. Sharon @ May 30th, 2007, 12:08:26 am


    I love the vibrant colors and the themes. The street vendor is my favourite.

    Have an exhibition soon …you will sell out.



  3. Renu and Sanjit @ May 30th, 2007, 12:20:54 pm


    Amazing!! Next time we meet we will make sure to bring our autograph book along!!

    You’ve got talent, girl!!

    Renu and Sanjit

  4. Kiran+Jayshree ASHERS @ May 30th, 2007, 1:09:42 pm

    Dearest Yamini,
    Realy a great work of art.Such a pleasing work fr eyes that we feel like keep on looking at them one by one.Lord Ganesh’s paiting is brilliant work of art with beautiful blend of colours.Well done and keep it up.We sure r proud of u.How much contribution from Rahul fr this other than the support and INSPIRATION!!!!!
    With loads of love and good wishes
    Kiran and Jayshree THE ASHERS FROM MUSCAT OMAN

  5. Donard Gaynor @ May 30th, 2007, 6:50:55 pm


    Rahul shared this with me. It is stunning work. Well done. I am going to share with our team in India. Beam Global is proud of the talent of it’s extended family.


  6. Ronnie & Priscilla @ May 31st, 2007, 11:19:34 am

    Dear Yamini,

    Wow! Beautiful paintings with those vibrant colours. Your work is amazing.

    U.Ronnie and A.Priscilla

  7. Aditi @ May 31st, 2007, 1:32:43 pm

    Hi Yamini
    Needless to say its extremely inspiring for everyone of us. Congratulations!
    Keep up the great work and keep in touch.
    good luck,
    Aditi Sahrawat (Rathee)

  8. Bill and Theresa @ May 31st, 2007, 9:31:36 pm

    Hi Yamini
    Fabulous work. Thanks for giving us a preview in Bangalore. keep it up. You have got talent
    Bill and Theresa

  9. India Travel @ June 1st, 2007, 12:06:50 pm

    Hi Yamini,
    This is awesome. BTW this is Bawa, Chini’s husband.Only an artist could be inspired and represent India in such a unique way.

    Keep up the Great Work!

    – amit

  10. Tony Sinai @ June 1st, 2007, 4:12:51 pm

    Hi Yamini
    Gitanjali forwarded me this blog. Really neat stuff with a dazzling array of color. The paintings with the cows were particularly Mooooooving 🙂

  11. Virginia Szersnovicz @ June 4th, 2007, 2:51:02 pm

    Hello Yamini!

    Congratulations! This blog on your work is wonderful, and I am so happy to see some of your paintings! They are trully amazing.
    Thank Tahul for me for sending me this link!

    Keep in touch,


  12. Amy @ June 8th, 2007, 7:22:31 am

    I’m incredibly impressed by the beauty, color and vibrancy of your work. I love seeing the juxtaposition of old and new, like the city skyline behind the cows. Keep up the phenomenal work as I think you’re going to need more pieces to sell. 🙂

    Amy Underwood, Rahul’s coworker

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