Born in Karnataka, K. S. Kulkarni studied at the Sir J.J. School of Art, Bombay. He was also a research scholar at Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Bombay. He had his first solo show in 1945, organized by the All-India Fine Arts and Crafts Society. He founded the world-famous art and culture organization Triveni Kala Sangam in 1948 where he served as the Director of the Art Department till 1968. He was also one of the founding members of the Delhi Shilpi Chakra. Primarily, a figurative artist, he did not create any style of his own, but rather kept painting in various styles excelling in each both craft wise as well as in high aesthetic terms. He was also a master of line and a frugal user of color. His work however compares with the best in contemporary Indian art and is now a part of art history.