By Artists For Artists

Rohini Sen: Conservation and Humanism in Charcoal

Knowledge and Imagination

Rohini Sen, a Los Angeles based realism artist, uses charcoal to create striking pieces that inhabit the art of movement and light, laced with sentimental depth and voice. With a degree in Zoology and postgraduate studies in Wildlife Conservation, Sen channels her deep kinship and knowledge of nature to create deeply thoughtful, gorgeously lifelike and emotionally weighted pieces.

"Edited Lost and Found" by Rohini Sen, charcoal on paper

Being a shy child led Rohini towards a natural curiosity that allowed her to daydream and experience life through the lens of her imagination. This was a brilliant education for her developing artistic mind-eye, and while managing to dedicate time to her academic study, Sen never lost her “desire to allow her mind to wonder – almost as if my imagination knew the way and wouldn’t let me off the path.” Sen channeled the awe she found in the natural world into her art, expressing the wonder she experienced when her attention was captured by nature. This adoration drove her artistic expression, and Sen went on to study Zoology and Wildlife Conservation in New Zealand. Her education has propelled her to create the art she does today.

Commissioned Portrait by Rohini Sen, graphite and charcoal on paper

Although Rohini was deeply involved in art from an early age, she didn’t begin studying it until the age of 25, where, after her degree, she began to devote more time to developing her shaded and bewitching style. Although the intricacies of her style evolve naturally over time, Sen acknowledges that consistent themes run throughout, “incorporating movement, the dramatic contrasts of light and dark, and lost and found elements to the drawing or painting.”

"Break Away" by Rohini Sen, charcoal and ink on paper

Agent of Change

Rohini references photographs combined with real life to create her mesmerizingly photorealistic works, often inspired by literature and storytelling. “What I listen to while working really permeates what I do whether I want it to or not, so I’m mindful of what I’m playing.” Choosing music or podcasts that match and complement the “harmony, tone, mood or spirit behind the piece” is essential.

"Crow" by Rohini Sen, charcoal on paper

Sen states that she endeavors for her art to “move people – even if they don’t know why at first”. The emotional quality of her works is clearly born from an awakened and sentimental mind, one that hopes to light the flame of deep thought within those who view her pieces. Rohini brings a great aura of power with her artistic intention, and with that, feels it is her duty to spread a worthy message.

"Stories" by Rohini Sen, charcoal on paper

“A huge part of the art I want to create now and in the future involves representing the beauty, value, and nobility of indigenous/endangered people groups. I want to highlight the strong connection between, the land, the people, and the animals that inhabit it. They are so deeply and vitally woven together that ripping one away from the other is what threatens the survival and flourishing of the whole. This is something I’m deeply passionate about, and am convinced is an issue our contemporary world has the opportunity to change. I hope to use paint and charcoal to create a platform for these peoples and their sacred heritage and connections to the earth to be represented. I hope that my work would shine a light on these ones that can be so easily forgotten, and a call to action for all of us. Art can be the vehicle of change in the wildest and most profound ways.”

"Peonies" by Rohini Sen, charcoal on paper

Not only does she channel her kinship with nature and realism, but also the drive to use her talent as a vessel for her voice. Rohini Sen’s roots in conservation shine through very clearly, and she intends to make positive action rooted in this eco- and humanism-aware perspective.

All images copyright of Rohini Sen

You can view more work by Rohini on her Instagram and website.

Article written by Kate Smith

Send this to a friend