We had the good fortune of connecting with Rajiv Khilnani and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rajiv, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
As they say, sometimes you don’t choose your profession but the profession chooses you. My creative career pretty much fits that statement. While I was always interested in the arts, especially painting, for the longest time I never thought of making it a career. I discovered my passion for painting in High School and dedicated significant time towards it. Back home I was even represented in multiple galleries, but I never went to an art school. Instead I got my degrees in business. A MBA in Finance, can you believe that! My creative journey got even more interesting when I moved to USA in 2000. Instead of working in the corporate world, I started working for Stanford University, Palo Alto. While working there, I started taking theater and on-camera acting workshops and soon discovered my love for acting. From 2003 to 2015 I did over a 150 on-camera projects, mostly commercials and short films. Mind you, on the side I was still painting and doing occasional art shows. Two Thousand Thirteen is when everything in the universe told me that I should give my creative talents a serious push. Long story short, I quite my 9 to 5 job, starting studying acting seriously at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, San Francisco, and after three years of rigorous training I moved to Los Angeles in 2016 to make art and acting my full time careers.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Since my first passion was painting, I will start with that. My love affair with visual art is almost 30 years old. I started painting after High School and never looked back. While I never pursued art as a full-time career until 2016, I can easily say that I have dedicated hundred of hours each year since 1993 toward this passion. I was fortunate to find my artistic style relatively early in my career which definitely set me apart from my peers. As a result of that I was accepted into galleries for showings at a very young age which I am very proud of. I am also excited about the fact that I have sold over 300 works which are now, hopefully, brightening somebody’s house or office. When you are dedicated and passionate about something nothing feels difficult. Occasional frustration does creep in but dissipates quickly once you immerse yourself into the activity you love doing. You can checkout my works on my IG @rajivkhilnani or www.rajivkhilnaniart.com As for my second love, acting, I started that in 2005. While I am blessed to have worked a lot in the commercial world in the San Francisco market the LA market has been a bit of a challenge because of tremendous depth of talent here. I am a go getter and very persistent individual. I have tried to rise up to the challenge by taking classes to hone my skills, networking with creative professionals and reading trade books. I think being a diversity actor with great sense of humor, East Indian casting, sets me apart in Hollywood. These qualities have helped me get agents and manager fairly quickly and I have already auditioned for many successful TV shows in the last three years. Even with these successes I don’t take anything for granted and have learned to keep on working hard and be humble.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely start with the beaches. I would cover beaches from Malibu to Venice. I will also take them to Griffith Park and Observatory. An overnight trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree. Hollywood Blvd with all the attractions out there. Go to Maggiano’s/Farmers market at the Grove to eat and hangout. It would also be fun to drive around the Beverly Hills neighborhood to see all the big homes. DTLA, Persian square and Grand Central Market area. A day trip to Catalina Island.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As I mentioned, I have two careers: Painting and Acting. The reason I am pursuing these, relatively difficult, careers is because I have a 125% support of my immediate and extended family. Apart from my family I have some very dear friends who believe in me and my passions strongly, but also think I am insane for quitting my job. Lastly, everyone needs a handful of dedicated teachers who are invested in your success. I was blessed to find such a teacher in the visual art world and a handful of such teachers in the acting world. I could very easily names these pillars of my success here but then I am afraid I might leave out someone.