giovedì 30 giugno 2011

Interview with Kimi Pryor

q)Please tell us your name and where you practice.

a)My name is Kimi Pryor. I currently draw/paint in the spare bedroom of the old Victorian apartment I share with my boyfriend in Columbus, OH, but we are moving to Philadelphia, PA next month and are very excited to be going to the East Coast.

q) Why do you make art?

a)I have gone through long phases where I haven't, and I feel that my life is much more interesting and exciting when I am making work. Plus, it is curious to me to see what I end up producing as I often work instinctively and do not compose in advance. It is encouraging to me to see direction and hopefully improvement in my pieces.

q) How do you work ?

a)Well, this past year it has been intuitively. I create a lot of awful 'discard' drawings that I am initially frustrated with and then go back to salvage and try to find worth in them.

q) What´s your background?

a)I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, and studied at Oberlin College in Ohio before getting my BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. I've been living and working in Columbus, OH for the last four years, where I took courses in fashion and children's book illustration at the Columbus College of Art and Design. I currently write for and curate the HAND Drawing Collective, a contemporary drawing blog my boyfriend and I started two years ago.

q) What role does the artist have in society?

a)To gentrify neighborhoods? Ha! Well obviously it has changed, from craftsmen creating something perceived by others to be beautiful, natural or holy, (whether through study, symmetry or an actual sense of transcendence), to today's work, which is often quite entrepreneurial, 'provocative', or produced on a factory-made or grandiose scale. Art can mirror our own reality and sense of ourselves back in an illuminating or thought-provoking way, or provide a unique and never-before-seen point of view, whether worldly or otherworldly.

q) What was a seminal experience for you ?

a)The first art studio I ever went to as a child told me to "Always start with the eyes" when drawing, so all of my pictures had eyes (cats, unicorns, dragons), at the center of the page. The second art studio I attended told me to "Never start with the eyes." It was a technical school, where I learned how to oil paint. I was a bit shattered that everything I knew about art seemingly was incorrect, but I have to say I liked my drawings a lot better when I always started with the eyes. There was much more imagination involved to fill up the rest of the page.

q) Has your practice changed over time ?

a)Yes, I used to rely much more heavily on source material. My materials change frequently. Currently I favor pen, markers and gouache. I love gouache, watercolors and spray paint. I would love to start working on a larger scale when I have more room.

q) What art do you most identify with ?

a)I don't know about 'identify with', but I am usually drawn to contemporary drawing and painting, folk and visionary artists, illuminated manuscripts, and certain children's book illustrators. I really like The Royal Art Lodge, The Mission School artists, spiritual Surrealists such as Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington, and illustrators Winsor McCay, Errol LeCain , Edmund Dulac,

Lisbeth Zwerger,

and Maurice Sendak. My all time favorite is Henry Darger. I'm also a big fan of

Aleksandra Waliszewska, Olaf Hajek, Frohawk Two Feathers, and Simone Shubuck.

q) What´s your strongest memory of your childhood ?

a)I could probably recall most of my childhood pretty well but was often playing in corners, under tables, and in trees. I daydreamed in school and during sports, which I disliked. My family took yearly trips to a rustic California lodge called Montecito Sequoia where we did nothing but explore, build forts, snowshoe, get lost in the woods, watch '80s VHS tapes of teen movies, and drink lots of hot chocolate. That ruled. It wasn't fancy, but there was an unusual amount of freedom for a kid, by today's standards. My parents made my childhood very magical, thanks Mom and Dad!

q) What themes do you pursue ?

a)The interior life and the search for the extraordinary.

q) Describe a real life experience that inspired you.

a)I found that I couldn't register for art classes while attending Oberlin College as they filled up too quickly, so I walked over to the art building, into an instructor's office, and convinced her to be my teacher for an independent study. The instructor became my first art/writing mentor and I am grateful to her for putting me on a more fitting path.

q) What´s your most embarrassing moment ?

a)My mother dropped me off at junior high school one day and I turned around and walked into a pole, in front of my entire class which was waiting to be picked up for a field trip.

q) What jobs have you done other than being an artist ?

a)I have worked as a Visual Merchandiser, Stylist and Boutique Manager for high-end stores in Chicago and Columbus for the past ten years. I have also worked at a coffeehouse, a spa and a vintage store, prescribed Chinese herbs, sold jewelry and fixed watches, been a rehearsal guard at the Hollywood Bowl, worked as a prep and grill cook, DJ'd punk bars, and interned for an entertainment start-up website.

q) What responses have you had to your work ?

a)I have fortunately had positive feedback in the past two years but definitely caught flack in art school for 'illustrative' tendencies.

q) What do you dislike about the artworld ?

a)1. Teachers who abuse their power in a negative way. There is nothing more useless than a bad teacher.

2. Artists who make work for fame and are rewarded for audacity instead of talent or imagination.

3. Shallow, conceited, or annoyingly ambitious artists who are all about 'connections.' - Ugh!

4. Overly digitized illustration, quite often.

q) What research do you do ?

a)I don't research before drawing, but I do a lot of online collecting of images from artists whose work I admire. Flickr, Pinterest, etc., are great ways to keep track of your favorites and stay continually inspired and informed of new work.

q) What is your dream project?

a)I'd love to work larger for a solo show, or contribute work to something really beautiful in print. It would be great to be able to gather all of the HAND contributors together for one drawing exhibition-extravaganza. (They are all over the world, so the coordination might be difficult.)

q) What´s the best piece of advice you have been given ?

a)I had one wonderful painting teacher at SAIC who, after chatting with me in studio, diagnosed that I was bored. She told me to go out and get a pedicure , which I didn't do, and buy new wild, illicit paint colors, which I did do. I came back to the studio with fluorescent and metallic gouaches and made a totally new body of work.

q) What couldn’t you do without?

a)Lists. Yoga. Hot Sauce. Home-cooked vegetarian food. Coffee (or tea). Exploring. (My boyfriend might say 'YouTube'.)

q) What makes you angry?

a) Hmm. Being transferred numerous times by utility companies, Tea Party lunacy, the American health care system.

q) What is your worst quality?

a)I hate to talk on the phone so unfortunately I am not great at keeping up with people. :(

q) Dogs or Cats ?

a)I'm quite allergic to cats so definitely dogs.

q) Making art is a lot like being on lsd. Know what I mean ?

a)I guess it would depend on what type of art you produce! I think that if you produce something organically, then yes. A lot of art is so mechanized, or digital. Some would compare certain types of art to prayer or meditation as well.

q) What does “ copy” mean to you ?

a)To make work with the intention of consciously replicating or referencing someone else's.

q) What´s your favorite cuss word ?

a)I say "Frick" a lot, but I don't think it's my favorite. I'll have to get back to you.