Sharma broke into our collective consciousness at the age of 12 when he was accepted into Canada’s largest juried art show, being called one of Toronto’s most exciting artists and the country’s most talented teen artist.
While his resume reads as a series of successes, including selling his fauvist work for 5-figures, winning medals at national science fairs, and launching a custom line of kicks, arguably his greatest achievement is his ability to use his art for social impact.
Sharma’s venture into the art world started at the age of 10 when he visited the Louvre and was strongly influenced by the works of Da Vinci and Rembrandt more so for how they moved him emotionally as opposed to their composition.
When Sharma returned to Canada, he threw himself into his new craft, painting on anything he could find including styrofoam and cardboard boxes.
Two years later a curator posted a picture of his work online which went viral. Shortly after he made national news when he was accepted into Toronto’s juried Artist Project. With a list north of 1,000 collectors, his work now appears in the private collections in the US, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East.
What has attracted many is the incisive narrative that underlies his compositions. Landscapes such as A Gateway to Nirvana, On the Northern Border, and Shikha Summaylun – speaks to the spiritual nature of his mountainscapes (he even painted one at 7,000 feet to capture the energy of the mountain).
Sharma’s approach to his portraits is equally thoughtful – using a series of layers with deeper concepts from the subject’s earlier life being buried by over paintings. This results in ideas and emotions from an earlier life being hidden but adding depth and texture to the work, much as they do in real life. This fossilized concept was used to create 46664 – a portrait of South African leader Nelson Mandela – in which the underpainting explored Mandela’s nearly two-decade experience on Robben Island.
Increasingly, Sharma’s work is tying core scientific concepts being learned through his research in environmental science. His 2050 collection re-imagines what iconic landscapes will look like if we embrace principles that can lower greenhouse gas emissions. This collection is heavily influenced by his research manipulating nematode microbiome through dietary modification and reducing methane emissions through the introduction of an enzyme into a simulated bovine rumen. Convinced that we can stay below the 2-degree threshold by modifying methane released by cows during regurgitation, Sharma has recently completed landscapes from Machu Picchu and Kangchenjunga crystallizing this concept.
While Sharma is passionate about exploring ideas and thoroughly researching his subject matter, he sees his ability to sell his work as a gift to be able to help others. To date, he has raised over $60,000 for various charities, including the United Way, local hospital foundations, and the Canadian Olympic team.
Sharma’s ideas and his approach to the canvas have resulted in podium presentations and live painting performances at C2, TEDx, and HATCH – an invite-only organization that is aimed at nurturing and fostering leaders in social impact.
From his time at HATCH, Sharma started thinking more about taking his philanthropic ideas to the next level. After learning the impact that COVID was having on Africa’s food supply and educational system, he decided to start The CovART Challenge – a fine art auction to help children in Kenya with their nutrition and educational needs. The initiative has now pulled in over 20 noted artists and attracted the attention of numerous international art collectors. Sharma’s goal with the challenge is to provide 250,000 meals for students in rural Kenya, the birthplace of his paternal grandmother. The challenge will kick off with the auction of Drive Carefully Me, a Paul Newman portrait.
Up next for Sharma?
Later this year, he will be launching RBLB (Right Brain Left Brain) Fashion whose central thesis is that to solve global challenges, such as global warming and food shortages, solutions at the intersection of art and science are required.
And of course, a high school graduation is a few months away.