q)Who are you? Where are you from and where do you live now?
a)Hi. My name is James Kuhn and I currently live in Three Oaks, Michigan. USA. I am 49 years old and have been an artist all my life. My mother says that i drew pictures in my oatmeal when i was a baby. I recieved a B.F.A. in painting and darawing from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.
q)What is it that you do? What media do you use?
a)I am what some people would call a "Face Painter" but i don't think of what i do like that. My current passion is painting skin, especially my own face, but my interest is about personal transformation and illusion. The term "Face Painting" brings wierd stereotypes to mind...butterfly's and rainbows, children's parties and festivals...my trip is very different from that. I am into the challenge of becomming new to myself. I try and surprize myself by getting lost in the paint.
q)What do you think sets your work apart?
a)I come at this medium from a fine arts background. I think of my face just as I would any artist's canvas, and I use the face paint makeup as paint. What i do is performance art for myself, and what you get to see is the photo or video that is left over. The finished product is missing the entire process, which is part of the art for me, and only I get to see that. It is a private journey.
q)How long have you been showing your work for? Did you have a “big break?”
a)I painted my face every day for a year and that caught the attention of the media all over the world. I was featured in last years "Ripleys Believe It Or Not" book and hundreds of magazines and blogs. I have done about 800 faces now and I feel like I am just starting to break the surface of this art form. they keep getting more complicated and interesting. I'm still excited!
q)What are some things that have inspired you?
a)My first love in art was Picasso. He still fascinates me. For my transformations, I am interested in popular culture and icons, art history and strong figures from history, I also like exploring gender and taboo.
q)What have you been working on recently?
a)I still paint myself a couple times a week. I am playing with shadow puppets and doing videos. I am hoping to finish a book project i started using face painting to illustrate the narrative.
q)Do you listen to music while you create your work? If so, would you give some examples?
a)I am getting old, so i like old disco and new wave music from the 70's and 80's. I still love the music i listened to in college...The Pretenders, Elvis Costell, B 52's, Adam Ant.
q)Do you do work in any other media? Other projects not necessarily related to your main body of work?
a)Sure. I draw and paint with oils and acrylics. I design costumes.
q)What advice do you have for artists looking to show their work?
a)Be real. Galleries are full of boring common art about nothing. Dig deep and do not make selling a priority. If it is good it will sell, but art that is made to sell becomes a product and you lose your soul. You become a whore for art.
q)Do you have any upcoming exhibitions of your work that you can mention?
a)Not for a few months. I'm trying something new and it needs to cook.
q)Where can people see more of your work on the internet?