Artist Kartikeya’s Tryst With Cancer Reflects Emotion And Depth

Artist : Kartikeya Sharma


This is the story of Kartikeya Sharma who was ranked among the top 10 graffiti artists of India…

“On one end, I am directing artists to paint at Sunburn, while on the other, I wait for my next session of chemotherapy. I’ve been fighting last stage cancer with a brush for over 2 years now.

A routine full body check-up in 2009 came as a shocker to my family and me – a tumor was detected in my chest. Soon it was found to be malignant. Luckily, the cancer was in its second stage when it is fairly treatable. I was in class 12th then. Our entire family moved to Mumbai for my treatment. I was declared fit in September 2009, I recovered and took admission in a Pune engineering college, after scoring 88 percent in my 12th boards. I made a painting after every exam as a stress-busting activity.

Although I was into art during my childhood, it never occurred to me that I could make it a career.

From a guy who considered painting as a getaway to somebody who’s a professional artist, the journey hasn’t been an easy one for me. I started painting walls in college.

The first big opportunity that came my way was when someone from Red Bull spotted me painting and asked me to paint a wall.

I painted for fourteen hours straight and the sheer satisfaction that emanated when it was completed was unanticipated, almost incomparable.

Lamentably, the cancer relapsed in February 2016. Cancer had spread to all parts of my body and was in Stage four. I had to immediately start my treatment and chemotherapy sessions in Mumbai. Doctors had given up on me after which my father got an expensive drug exported from Germany which helped me a great deal but was a huge blow to my family. It has been 2years, I have mostly been kept under observation in the hospital.

Cancer treatment is very painful initially and gradually one loses patience and motivation to go on.

I came to Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai in January, I am undergoing a bone marrow transplant after chemotherapy failed. I have seen 10 people get bone marrow transplant and eight of them died.

All my work is the documentation of my journey through cancer, says this talented artist, Kartikeya

“The most important factor in my treatment and life has been blood cells. Cancer and the cure both are associated with cells. I had to go through “stem cell transplant” in which my mother’s cells were injected inside me. These cells saved my life.

All my paintings are inspired by these cells. all my paintings are covered with thousands and millions of these tiny cells which together make the complete image”

Months and months of looking at pale hospital room ceiling, absorbing excruciating pain, and befriending powerful drugs is a lot a body can take, let alone find a colorful way to coexist but I believe that your passion has to be the biggest driving force when you cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel.

In the past two years under treatment , i have painted over 80 paintings. I was also fortunate enough to be invited by TEDx GLIM Chennai to speak about my art and my journey.

Personal number: 9673463834


View myTEDx talk:

Instagram: @kartikeygraffiti