In 1951 he became a lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts in M.S. University in Baroda. He went to study briefly in London at the Slade School of Art as a British Council scholar in 1956. While having already gone back to Baroda as a professor in painting and continuing there, he did a short stint in New York as a Rockefeller Fellow in 1966. In 1980, Subramanyan went back to Santiniketan to teach in his alma mater Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, in his capacity as a professor in painting, which he continued till he retired in 1989. In the same year he was made a Professor Emeritus of Visva Bharati.
Subramanyan now stays in Baroda with his daughter Uma.
Active for more than 65 years, and alive and very contemporary at 85 K.G.Subramanyan is one of India's most engaging and influential artists. Born in Kerala in the early 20s and keenly interested in the arts since childhood, he, however, decided to study art only after an initial engagement with socialist and Gandhian activism and a short term in prison for participation in the Quit India Movement. Debarred from government colleges for his involvement in the national movement he left Madras where he was pursuing a degree in economics and moved to Santiniketan in 1944, and from the orbit of Gandhi to the orbit of Rabindranath.
As an artist he is known as one of the most versatile practitioners, having done works, apart from painting, in the traditions of mural, various craft traditions of India, toy-making, pottery, illustration & design, terracotta sculpture. His paintings are noted for their inherent wit, ironies, satire and critical social commentaries.
Has also been on the Board of studies of M.S. University, Baroda; Benaras Hindu University, Benaras; Punjab University, Chandigarh; College of Fine Arts, Trivadrum, Kerala; Faculty of Fine Arts, Bombay University; Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta etc. Member of the Editorial advisory Board of Leonardo