S. Ravi Shankar was born in 1960 in Chennai. Shankar admits that he wasn't naturally drawn to art as a child. There was 'no burning desire'. His elder brother, Bhavani, meanwhile became a student of his artist-father, C.L. Subramanyam. Following in his family's footsteps, Shankar joined the Government College of Arts & Crafts in Madras, receiving a Diploma in Fine Arts specializing in Graphic Design and Printmaking in 1982. Shankar started showing his work immediately all over India. After a well-received Bombay show in 1987, one art critic claimed: 'It is no exaggeration to say that such experimental force has not been witnessed in any of the graphic shows we have had in the city'. On the back of this success, Shankar moved into the now world-famous Cholamandal Artist Village in Madras and set about moving his art forward. Ravi Shankar has received many awards, including the Charles Wallace Trust Award for printmaking in 1996, and the Printmaking Research Fellowship from the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1985
Through his career, Shankar has been a prolific and bold creator, experimenting with different mediums and styles, always innovating and pushing the boundaries of his work. Shankar draws inspiration from a variety of sources, from childhood memories of growing up by the ocean to architecture he has seen from his travels around the world. In his own words, "My art derives inspiration from relationships and experiences. This experience is driven by a deep analytical thought of how people react and the nature of works. I translate an experience into an internal realization. My first works were based on the ideologies imbued in my college; they were planned and executed to achieve an objective. As I matured my works became totally unplanned, driven by my inner creative feelings and my subconscious mind. My art aims to have no social message or subscribe to any particular rule. It is my own vision, an external expression of my internal thoughts."
Shankar's series of works exhibited at Outliers are his Lasercut Relief Sculptures. The works were inspired by the work of architect Daniel Libeskind at the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Shankar's fascination and passion for these works come out as he describes them, "Moving with the source of light that touches the work, shadows move and change, rendering an automatic multiplicity for the work. In traditional temple tanks in India, a similar ariel view presents itself".
Shankar has exhibited all over India and in the UK and Europe. His works are in a number of institutional and private collections in India and abroad.