Interview with Chamel Raghu


Chamel Raghu Self Portrait

Making contact with an artist you’ve never met can sometimes be very difficult.  So many people are out there looking to slam someone’s name for drama filled publicity.  But that’s not how TTL MAG does things.  We reach out to artists in a genuine, honest manner.

I sent one email to Chamel Raghu a few weeks ago.  I stated exactly what I had heard, what I wanted to clear up, and what I intended to do with our conversation.  I invited him out to lunch for an interview, which he quickly accepted.

We met at an Austin taco shop for lunch.  It was actually a very comfortable situation.  It didn’t feel awkward or forced.  The two of us seemed to instantly trust one another.  After ordering our meals, we sat down to eat and chat a little before starting the official interview.  We talked about little stuff like the 100 degree Texas weather, the great value our lunch was, and other small talk items.  We exchanged current career paths and discussed the life of being an artist.  Chamel a painter and I a photographer.

After eating our tacos, we got into the interview…


TTL MAG:  What is your full name? 

Chamel:  Chamel Lin Raghu


TTL MAG:  Where were you born?  City & State?

Chamel:  I was born in Cincinnati Ohio, but was raised in Odessa, Texas.


TTL MAG:  While growing up, did you ever have any childhood dreams?

Chamel:  As a kid I would dream of being a Major League Baseball player; a slugger like Jose Canseco, or a pitcher like Nolan Ryan.  I could hit the ball pretty well, but unfortunately I would hit batters a lot too while pitching.


TTL MAG:  How did you get your start doing art? 

Chamel:  I really can’t remember the exact start, but I do remember drawing on paper with my brother while my father would paint. We would draw dinosaurs, cars, animals, anything.


TTL MAG:  Where does your art inspiration come from? 

Chamel:  I don’t really have a specific point of inspiration, everything that I consider beautiful inspires me. 


TTL MAG:  Can your work be found in any exhibits? 

Chamel:  Not at the moment no.


TTL MAG:  What future projects do you have? 

Chamel:  Well, I can just say that I am staying busy and wish I had more time to finish everything I would like to finish. 


TTL MAG:  What is your reaction to the Harvard Review citing your prodigy but calling you “woefully unproductive”? 

Chamel:  My first reaction was to say “no comment.” But I just wanted to say that I am flattered to be mentioned in the review among all the big names they usually talk about. I had some personal issues that made me “less-productive” as said, but was really getting my footing in life. So it’s not that I was unproductive as mentioned in the article it’s just that other factors in life dominated during that time. The artistic wheels were still turning, however. 


 TTL MAG:  In the past 10 years, why haven’t you had anything exhibited? 

Chamel:  As mentioned before I had some personal issues that I was addressing, but that doesn’t mean I did not produce work…


TTL MAG:  Is your physical condition (arthritis) a serious concern? 

Chamel:  Well, to set the record straight I am not a frail old man (yet) or dead as any article may say.  I am healthy and alive, I just have some wrist pain…that’s all. 


TTL MAG:  What are you currently working on?

Chamel:  I am working on staying alive! (and a project or two)


"World Bridge" by Chamel Raghu
(Chamel Raghu’s art submission to CNN for a proposed new World Trade Center in 2002…oddly enough, a monument was built a couple of years later in Portugal, without Chamel’s knowledge) He stated at first he was pretty upset that someone would take his design without contacting him first. But came to realization, it was a beautiful piece of art either way, and became happy to see it as a standing structure.


In conclusion, the interview gave me insight on to what made Chamel Lin Raghu, the person he is today.  A kind, genuine man with aspirations to be happy and live a healthy life.  A man which offers many positive qualities.  An artist that even when faced with challenges in life, makes the appropriate steps to overcome and fight past them.  We finished by talking about a follow up interview down the road where we would take a deeper look into the art by Chamel.  A close, intimate meeting, between artists, discussing goals, life, and current projects.



Steve Snow

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