Posts tagged Los Angeles
“Potholes" by Los Angeles-based artist Henry Fey
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First Amendment Gallery is pleased to announce, “Potholes,” a new solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist, Henry Fey. Fey’s latest collection of works incorporate acrylic painting and image transfers of the artist’s photographs in an engaging installation of twenty-four 8x10 inch pieces, a departure from his previously exhibited large-scale paintings.

For “Potholes,” Fey uses his signature blend of digital and analog processes to simulate a visual journey of a casual ride through a cityscape. Individually, the works recall innocuous colors and textures that seamlessly flow into another to then be punctuated by abrupt darkness - a pothole that only disrupts your journey momentarily before sending you back on track. Collectively, these examinations recontextualize familiar forms with the framed works acting as windows into particular moments of that ride.

Henry Fey (b. 1993) is an artist and San Francisco Art Institute alum living and working in Los Angeles. Using painting as a tool, he draws from his surroundings and recontextualizes images through abstraction.

For further inquiries on the artist or available works, please contact info@1amsf.com.

Anything is Possible: Bridgette Mayer's Powerful Story and Career Advice for Artists (Podcast Interview)

On this episode, Bridgette shares her story and how she overcame major obstacles in her life and built an incredible career as an art dealer, curator, art advisor, author, and entrepreneur. She has empowered many artists and helped them build successful careers, sell work and get incredible opportunities. Tune in to this special episode for invaluable career advice, marketing tips and authentic ways of sharing your story as an artist to build your career from a leading art expert. 

Bio

Bridgette Mayer is an art dealer in Philadelphia, PA. She opened Bridgette Mayer Gallery on Philadelphia’s historic Washington Square in 2001. In July of 2016, the gallery evolved to a private gallery and consulting practice. Mayer represents artists from Philadelphia, New York and around the world, specializing in contemporary painting, sculpture, and photography. The gallery also deals in secondary market artwork sales and private and corporate consulting.

Gallery artists have won many prestigious awards including the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Guggenheim Grants, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Awards, the Miami University Young Painters Competition and the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Grant.

Bridgette Mayer Gallery has been featured on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 as a small business “On The Rise” and was recognized as a recommended Philadelphia arts destination in The New York Times Magazine. In 2013, Mayer was named one of the top 500 Galleries in the world by Boulin Art Info and was also featured in the Tory Burch Foundation’s “Women To Watch” series.

Mayer has been a featured speaker on many panels in the Philadelphia area and has guest lectured at a number of Universities, where her talks focus on how emerging artists can promote their work and sustain a career in the arts.  A graduate of Bucknell University, Mayer was an active member of the University’s Arts Board for several years. She is currently a board member of the Arts & Business Council, Philadelphia, PA & Vox Vopuli, Philadelphia, PA.

Bridgette’s Book:

Studio Sundays: Jay Riggio

Jay Riggio, a self-taught visual artist, was born in Long Island, New York in 1978. Utilizing original source material from discarded magazines and books, Riggio’s work brings new life to once forgotten imagery through complex, handcut and pasted, mixed media collages. His works depict dream-inspired stories through unique, surrealistic visual pairings: a reflection of the artists interpretations on life, love, humor and the human condition.

In addition to exhibiting work in galleries around the world, Riggio has done commercial illustrations for brands likeGather JournalThe New York TimesBrooklyn Magazine, Alice McCall, A24 Films and more. 

Jay currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Adrian Cox “Terra Incognita” at Corey Helford Gallery

On Saturday, February 24, downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) will proudly present a new solo exhibition from painter Adrian Cox, entitled “Terra Incognita,” in Gallery 2. This new series of oil paintings marks Cox’s first solo show with the gallery.

The St. Louis-based painter, scholar and philosopher is one compelling storyteller. For his forthcoming exhibition, Cox shares: “I've continued to expand on the mythological narrative of the Border Creatures, a race of hybrid beings that populate my work. The paintings in this show chronicle a time of conflict in the lives of Border Creatures. These characters are forced to adapt in order to survive the spectral forces threatening to destroy them and their forested home,the Borderlands. These new works examine the interconnectedness between human identity and nature, and ultimately serve as a celebration of otherness.”

In one of Cox’s new pieces, titled "Veiled Healer with Herbal Remedy” (pictured above), the parasol carries a prophetic glimpse of the events that will unfold through the exhibition, and the journey that the Veiled Healer will have to take in to save the Border Creatures from the threat of the Specters (who are seen lighting fires in the background of this painting). The herbs in Veiled Healer's bowl are actual medicinal herbs (chamomile, comfrey, lemon balm, calendula, and St. John's wort), basically a Border Creature recipe for self-care.

Another new piece, titled “Bird Gardener with Premonition,” shows the character Bird Gardenerhaving a premonition for another painting that will be featured in the show, “The Death of Bird Gardener.”

In addition to Adrian Cox’s “Terra Incognita” exhibition, Corey Helford Gallery will premiere new shows from Herakut in Gallery 1 and Troy Brook in Gallery 3. Opening reception for all three shows will be hosted Saturday, February 24 from 7-11pm. The reception is open to the public and all shows are on view through March 31.

About Adrian Cox:

Adrian Cox (born 1988) is a painter living and working in St. Louis, Missouri. Cox attended the University of Georgia for his undergraduate studies, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in 2010. He obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington University in Saint Louis in 2012, and was awarded the Desert Space Foundation Award upon graduation.

Cox’s studio practice involves a continuing exploration of transgressive bodies in figurative painting. Cox has exhibited work both nationally and abroad. His paintings have also been featured in print in Direct Art, International Painting Annual 3, Anatomy Rocks: Flesh and Bones in Contemporary Art, and Hey! Art Magazine, as well as online by Hi-Fructose MagazineJuxtapozBeautiful Bizarre Magazine, and VICE.

About Corey Helford Gallery:

Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) was first established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer and creator, Bruce Helford (Anger ManagementThe Drew Carey ShowGeorge LopezThe Oblongs) and has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goals as an institution are the support and growth of young and emerging, to well-known and internationally established artists, the production and promotion of their artwork, and the general production of their exhibits, events and projects. 

CHG represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today’s pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti and Street Art, and Post-Graffiti.

After nine years in Culver City, CHG relocated in December 2015 to a robust 12,000 sq. ft. building in Downtown Los Angeles, seven times larger than its original space, where it continues to host exhibitions within the heart of the city’s art community. The current space boasts three separate galleries, each of which house individual artist and group exhibitions, whereas the main gallery offers 4,500 sq. ft., providing total immersion for its attendees. New exhibitions are presented approximately every four weeks. For more info and an upcoming exhibition schedule, visit CoreyHelfordGallery.com and connect on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

 

COREY HELFORD GALLERY

571 S. Anderson St. (Enter on Willow St)

Los Angeles, CA 90033

Tel. 310.287.2340

Open Tuesday-Saturday, 12 Noon to 6pm

Art & Social Justice: An Interview with Claire Salvo

Los Angeles based artist Claire Salvo uses creative talent, charcoal and oil paint to share the stories of refugee children through her amazing portraiture. In addition to being an artist, Salvo is also a musician as part of the DJ duo The Jane Doze. Join us as we discuss with the artist her recent project REFUGE, the importance of social justice and the impact art can make in a politically trying time.

Let’s begin with your most recent project REFUGE, which focuses on giving a face and a voice to refugee children. Can you tell us a bit about the scope of the project and the organizations involved? What inspired you to begin this series?

Two months before the 2016 election, I moved from New York City (where I lived for nine years) to my hometown of Lancaster, PA. Lancaster is a conservative and rural place, overwhelmingly Christian and Republican. Trump’s campaign messages struck a chord here, and he won the county by a double-digit margin.  

Lancaster is also home to a large refugee community. In fact, the city resettles 20x more refugees per capita than any other city in the United States. I was interested in exploring this dichotomy: Lancaster’s overwhelming support of nationalist, anti-refugee rhetoric and policy, and its long and well-documented commitment to resettling the world’s most vulnerable.

I partnered with the Lancaster chapter of Church World Service, a resettlement organization, to interview and photograph four families from Syria, Ethiopia and Somalia. I toured the exhibit in three cities – Washington, D.C., Lancaster, P.A., and San Francisco, C.A. In Washington, I teamed up with two amazing companies working to support refugees: Dress Abstract and Foodhini. On the West Coast, I partnered with AirBnB – in addition to providing a space for a public exhibition, they displayed the pieces in their headquarters.

You mentioned that these refugee children have recently resettled in your hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Having personal ties to the area, how as this project impacted you? Can you tell us about your personal experience creating these portraits of the refugee children?

In addition to interviewing the four families, I spent three months teaching English to recently resettled adults. That was a transformative experience. The student body was an ever-rotating mix of refugees from the DRC, Cuba, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Haiti and Syria. In the classroom there were no politics, just an overwhelming gratitude to be here and an absolute determination to make it. For me, it was a lesson in what all humans have in common and how to communicate and connect non-verbally.

Shining light on social justice and injustice is especially imperative now more than ever. What do you hope will come out of the REFUGE project? Do you have plans to develop this project further?

My hope with REFUGE was to humanize an issue that is so highly politicized (and by some people, absolutely demonized) – to create a space where locals and refugees could forge and foster relationships. I would love to continue with some iteration of this project, to continue to work at the intersection of art, storytelling and social justice. I feel particularly drawn to women’s issues and think my next series will go in that direction.

You have a unique style in painting that is visually striking, as you can see your individual paint strokes and texture. Were you trained as an artist? Tell us a bit about your artistic background.

Thank you. I was never formally trained. I have my BA in Communications from NYU and worked in the music industry for many years after college. Until REFUGE, art was just a hobby. I picked up a pencil when I was two years old and never really put it down. I was obsessed with hyperrealism, working small and slow to render the subject as realistically as I could. REFUGE was not a departure from this style, though charcoal was new for me. I have recently started exploring oils, color and abstraction. Relinquishing control and perfection is a new and welcome challenge. To me, these oil paintings are so much more expressive than my older pencil pieces and I’m excited to see how this style develops.

Originally being from Pennsylvania, you now live and work in Los Angeles. How has being based in a city as colorful and vibrant as LA inspired you creatively?

During my nine years in New York City, my wardrobe gradually became only shades of white, black and gray. Maybe it’s the sun, the heat, the influence of other people, but I’ve started wearing color here – I’m surrounded by it: the ocean, the sky…even my kitchen table is turquoise. It seems only natural that my environment would influence my work.   

I also think the West Coast’s notoriously laid-back attitude and slower pace of life have given me the space to push my creativity in new directions.

You are also part of a DJ pair called The Jane Doze, which has toured all over the world. Do you consider yourself a musician first, or an artist, or both? When did you begin creating art and when did you begin making music?

That project ended in late 2015, and in retrospect, prompted this new journey into art as profession. I am an artist first – my parents have framed drawings I did at age 2. I began playing piano at 5, but did not start producing music until I was 18. I have a deep love and appreciation for music, but feel that art is unequivocally my path.

Has your work as an artist influenced or changed your creative practice as a musician?

While I was in music, I took a hiatus from art – I went a few years without drawing. The Jane Doze was my life and my focus. That project taught me the value of using both a business and creative mind to build a brand. A career in art will require the same balance, strategy and work ethic. I’m incredibly grateful to have had that experience in music – traveling the world with my best friend, navigating a notoriously difficult and competitive industry, and taking highs and lows in stride. 

"Furnished" Exhibition Featuring Tahnee Lonsdale

(London, U.K) - Roberta Moore Contemporary is delighted to announce ’Furnished’, a show of new works from LA based British abstract artist Tahnee Lonsdale at Herrick Gallery in Mayfair, London.

Fuelled by a quest for an empowered female voice and leavened with a mordant wit, ’Furnished’ mines the tension between familial expectations and creative expression. In this new body of work, Lonsdale explores why women are so affronted by social expectations and perceptions; gender roles often passed down by mothers which undermine female strength.  At the heart of each painting is not only a personal struggle but a universal one; it is about love and pain, repression and submission. 

Bemused with the archaic domestic expectations laid upon her, Tahnee randomly built balanced towers of dollhouse furniture, which she photographed and traced onto large canvases, removing them from their tiny origins. With paint, these vulnerable childhood artefacts blossomed into domestic scenes - figures emerge from abstraction; glitches become real. The paintings are raw and fleshy, clinical tones transformed into meaty pinks, tongues and phalluses, with the chair, and its domestic origins, omnipresent throughout. 

For Tahnee, process gives her time to develop an idea. Domestic objects take on figurative forms and sit centre stage. A chair begins as an object of singular value and evolves into an opinion. How can it be removed from its domestic purpose and become an archetype, possibly even an object of sexual desire?

Sex is a charged theme throughout- a domestic scene becomes an orgy, shapes transmute and sexual imagery delineates.

In this series, Tahnee made four small canvases titled “Mostly Thinking About Sex”, particularly the lack of it; the lack of sex, self and connection. Chairs, stuffed with bed sheets and plastic, are stacked and entwine; the installation figurative before its deconstruction.

Renowned contemporary arts moderator Joy Gidden referenced Matisse’s Harmony in Red in connection with Tahnee's previous work ‘Self-Portrait in the Kitchen’, which gave Lonsdale a new frame of reference to explore.

In her own words, Tahnee describes how she, ‘proceeded to borrow Van Gogh’s bed, above which there is a window with Matisse’s view; sex and commentary persist. The male artist seeks to claims his privilege but I have the last word. I’m not sure how and why these patriarchs belong in my personal world, caught up in the intricacies of angsty post-feminism, but… they somehow do.

When we marry, we essentially step into a foreign yet familiar role - we are born into it yet we enter an unknown terrain of adulthood, marriage and ownership. A union of love is at once binding and comforting; safe and restricting, it is push and pull. With children, it reaches fever pitch. How does one juggle being both a wife and a mother, at once sexual and maternal? 

I figured out early how to keep quiet, lips sealed, hands and feet tied, but still I am carrying the weight of our sum-of-parts. I cannot submit or fully resist; I paint instead.  The artist and mother archetypes housed within me may never merge in my life, but on the canvas they keep one another at bay.’

EDITORS NOTES:

About Tahnee Lonsdale:

Tahnee Lonsdale’s paintings represent the newest direction in semi-abstract painting. Whimsical figures and other objects populate vibrant fields of colour that suggest anything from domestic interiors to wild landscapes. Her compositions are inspired as much by her surrounding as her personal beliefs.  At once both detailed and dreamy, Lonsdale’s work leaves just enough to the imagination. A narrative, often involving a journey of sorts, is clearly implied, though it is up to the viewer with the aid of Lonsdale’s colourful titles, to piece together all the elements of the story being told. 

In 2012 Roberta Moore Contemporary started to represent Tahnee and the following year showed her collection 'waiting for entry into that holy place' followed by ‘Your Epoche’ in 2015. 

These collections garnered the attentions of Rebecca Wilson of Saatchi Art, who selected Tahnee as one of ’12 artists to invest in now’.

Tahnee Lonsdale holds a BA from the Byam Shaw School of Art in London. Since graduating in 2007, she has been short-listed for a number of awards including both the Dazed and Confused Emerging Artist Award and ‘100 Painters of Tomorrow’. Her work has been exhibited widely in her native Britain, as well as in the United States at venues such as the Orange County Centre for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, CA, and is part of collections globally. Lonsdale currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

About Roberta Moore Contemporary

Roberta Moore Contemporary (RMC) specialises in showcasing emerging and established international contemporary artists. RMC presents an annual programme of ‘pop-up’ exhibitions in unique and unusual spaces throughout London and the UK, in addition to a range of collaborations linking artists, audiences and brands.

10 - 16 May 2017

Herrick Gallery, 93 Piccadilly, London W1J 7NQ

Interview: Daisy Patton

From Los Angeles, California, Daisy Patton moved back and forth between Oklahoma and California during her childhood. She spent much of her early years reading adventure and detective tales, history and art history books, and ghost stories. Patton’s practice is focused on history, memory, and social commentary stemming from this youth soaked in such specific cultural landscapes. Her work explores the meaning and social conventions of families, little discussed or hidden histories, and what it is to be a person living in our contemporary world. One such series is "Forgetting is so long," reviewed in "Art LTD" and "Hyperallergic," as well as featured in "The Jealous Curator," "Fresh Paint Magazine," "Backroom Caracas," and "Artistic Moods." 

Currently residing in Aurora, Colorado, Patton has a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Oklahoma with minors in History and Art History and an Honors degree. Her MFA is from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University, a multi-disciplinary program. Patton received the Montague Travel Grant for research in Dresden, Germany, and she was also awarded a position as an exchange student at the University of Hertfordshire, UK while an undergraduate. Patton has completed artist residencies at RedLine Contemporary Arts Center in Denver, Eastside International in Los Angeles, and Anythink Libraries in Colorado; she will be an artist in residence at MASS MoCA in March 2017. Exhibiting in solo and group shows nationally, K Contemporary represents Patton in Denver.

Tell us a little bit about your background. Were you always interested in being an artist?

I was born in Los Angeles and spent my childhood split between California and Oklahoma, leaving LA at age 9. My mom was going to community college while in LA, and I attended her art history class and saw some of those famous paintings I'd learned about through frequent visits to LACMA and other museums. As a young child, I'd wanted to be an artist, paleontologist, farmer, and an Egyptologist, although by the time I was 13, I'd decided to become a historian since I thought it would be impossible to live as an artist. I learned to paint and draw almost entirely self-taught, copying Old Master works, magazine photographs, and animal images. Once in undergrad, I quickly realized you can't make it as a history professor either, so I went into art full time. 

When did you first start using family photographs in your work? What initially inspired your current series?

I've been using family photographs as inspiration since 2012, when I started the painting series A Reconstructed Family Reunion. Previously, I had a sound art series called I'm Perfectly Fine Without You, where children of absent fathers talked about their memories and experiences. It's an experience I share, never having met my father, but I knew I couldn't contribute an interview to the series since I knew what I'd be asking myself. A couple of years later, I started Reconstructed, painting my family photographs realistically onto panel and inserted a father's presence into them as a way of imagining an alternate timeline where he was present in my life. I had my grandmother's photographs (I'm named after her), knowing I wanted to do something with them. So a little over three years ago, I tried using these images as references to paint more expressively, but those didn't work at all—I couldn't even finish a painting! I went to a vintage shop in Denver and saw a box full of old abandoned photographs. After picking a few that I fell in love with, I did some research to figure out how to mount prints to panels. That's how Forgetting is so long came to be—they instantly worked in a way that felt like alchemy. Reconstructed was such restrictive painting, which is not my personal preference, and Forgetting is far closer to how I prefer to work. I should note that while I started as a painter, after an extensive painting block I switched into photography for several years and have a substantial knowledge of printing and photo history; this has certainly influenced how I now approach painting in general. 

Describe a typical day in the studio.

I tend to be a workaholic—I go into studio every single day, unless I'm gone for a trip or seeing other art. I'll paint in studio for anywhere from 2 to 5 hours on average, though sometimes much longer if I have a deadline! Short, intense bursts of painting are my preference since I'm very focused when working. Then I go home, eat dinner, and work on other series that aren't painting, research, or administrative tasks. I'm a night owl, staying up until 3am regularly. 

Has social media presented new opportunities for your art? Tell us about your experience with sharing your work online. 

I think so! First, social media has created a community where artists from all over can connect and meet through their art. Artists I absolutely love like Anna Valdez, Hayley Quentin, Erika Hess, Matt Best and more I've met online—and sometimes in person now too. I started a professional account on Twitter and was initially resistant to Instagram, but now I'd say that IG is my main social media platform. I'm pretty open about showing paintings in process. I actually hate talking about work in progress in a critique format since I know where I'm going, but I like being able to see how a piece has grown or shifted over the time. There's also the painting geek in me that loves to see how other painters work, so I feel like sharing means opening that conversation. I think we have our own recipes and methods of painting, so even seeing something in process doesn't necessarily mean you're giving away your secrets—if anything, for some, I'm even more amazed by what they do!

What has been the most rewarding part of being an artist for you so far?

Being an artist is so much of your whole person that not doing it is viscerally painful, like cutting a piece of yourself away. My life experience working administrative and other jobs have made me a better artist and person, but you can tell you're on the right path when things open up in ways you couldn't imagine possible. Additionally, so much of art-making are new or different forms of communication. You're a storyteller hoping to connect with others, which I think is unique to artists. And then there's dealing with uncertainty—I never thought I'd be the kind of person that would be able to handle not having a rigid plan, but learning that flexibility in thinking has been so crucial. You're meant to keep growing and being an artist is part of that; I always try to make plans or do things that make me uncomfortable so I avoid being safe or fixed in place. There's a value to that I think many underestimate, regardless of field. 

What are your hobbies and interests outside of painting?

As I mentioned, when I was younger I thought I'd be a history professor to pay the bills. I still love reading and researching, and a lot of that feeds into my work in various ways. I hate to say that my whole life is caught up in art-making...but taking time off or "vacations" are my nightmares! I do have certain genres of non-fiction reading that aren't necessarily art-related that I dive into when I have time: human arrogance in cold environments (a more specific human v nature), biology and botany, murderers in history (it's like ghost tours: it's all history backgrounds with a sprinkling of the macabre!), etc. I love traveling when I can and seeking out unusual museums or events, such as a dolls and miniatures museum.

Name a few influences or artists that inspire you. 

So many: Marlene Dumas, Ellen Gallagher, John Singer Sargent, Sophie Calle, Doris Salcedo, Kerry James Marshall, Kehinde Wiley, Thomas Gainsborough, Christian Boltanski, Nick Cave, Claire Tabouret, Nan Goldin, Robert Frank, Lynette Yiadom Boakye, Amy Sherald, Georges de La Tour, writer Rebecca Solnit, Mark Rothko, Lu Cong, Thomas Lawrence, William Morris, Jenny Holzer...I think it's important as artists to keep looking at art and figuring out how you can situate yourself within the context of art history and the moment in history you're inhabiting. 

What are you currently reading or watching?

I'm reading Rebecca Solnit's newest book, The Mother of All Questions, a sort of follow up to Men Explain Things to Me. She's the author that coined "mansplaining," though I've read her for several years since she writes about art, history, memory, landscape, environmentalism, political activism, and hope. Her ability to recontextualize what we think we know and lyrical writing are some of the reasons I'd have to say she's my favorite author. 

Tell us about upcoming events and projects we should be on the lookout for. 

I'm finishing up two paintings that will be part of a group show called Cross Pollination at 516 Arts in Albuquerque, NM that will run August 19-November 11. Also, I'm excited and honored to be going to Anderson Ranch for a residency this fall, where I'll be working on more large pieces and some other series on reproductive rights. My schedule has been pretty packed for the last yearish, so I'm looking forward to some time to just paint for myself rather than a specific show...though I'm planning on another solo in 2018 that I'll be making work for. 

Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman imaginatively reconstructs the seemingly tired subject of the western landscape and pushes it to a new level. Integrating sharp geometry, much of his work dissects the mountains into strips, creating surreal compositions of incredible perspective. 

The artist turns mountainous landscapes into holographic scenes of layered pastels in his most recent body of work Avalanche. Based in Portland, his paintings reflect the majestic views of the American Northwest, but altered as if through a digital lens. This fusion of natural and digital aesthetics offers a nod towards media culture and the way it transforms our perception of the world. Each peak is ruptured through what seems like a vibrating pulse, mutating and multiplying the mountains, creating an intense rhythm individual to Friedman’s work. The conflicting lines and colours mimic television static, giving these unnatural environments an even more digital effect. 

“I’m interested in how natural geologic and physical processes are relative to our political, financial, and social institutions. We use words like erosion, entropy, and climate to describe both human and terrestrial establishments. I strive to present a contemporary perspective on nature, and question what new assimilations of the wild reveal about what it presently means to be a human being.”

Friedman’s solo show Avalanche is on display at Cordesa Fine Art Gallery located in Los Angeles, CA from February 11 – March 4. 

Interview: Kim West

Kim West is a painter living and working in downtown Los Angeles, California.

Following studies in painting and printmaking at Smith College and Amherst College, West graduated from the painting department at the Rhode Island School of Design. Immediately upon graduation, West began exhibiting in Boston, MA. Her work continues to be exhibited nationally, and is collected and commissioned by everyday people, art collectors, celebrities, corporations, and educational institutions.

www.kimwest.com

When did you know you wanted to become an artist? Share a brief version of your story with us. 

I have always painted. My mom was an art teacher, and for as long as I can remember, art and making were tools used daily in my childhood home for fun or distraction. Having said that, I didn’t personally know any artists who identified as such. This was pre-internet, and I didn’t come across (nor seek out) too many accessible stories of how working artists got from A to B. It just didn’t occur to me that being a painter might be a plausible career choice. I liked to read, write, and research, and I enjoyed being on the high school debate team. I figured I should be a lawyer — it had a seemingly knowable path and clear definitions of success. My mom felt differently, and she dragged me to art school tours on college trips when I was only interested in looking at the pre-law schedules of liberal arts colleges, which is where I initially ended up — at a classic New England college. I loved it. But by the end of the first year, I was spending all of my time and energy in the studio, skipping what I should have considered important classes, to paint. My deep shift in focus was rapid and transformative. I wanted to be a better painter. I wanted to be in the studio all the time, and I wanted to be around other people who did, too. I transferred to an art school to study painting full-time. 

How do you come up with ideas for your paintings? Explain where you get your inspiration. 

My work is an on-going series of responsive investigations to what is happening around me. Ideas for paintings flow through various overarching themes within ongoing bodies of work. I’m responding to loss, to the idea of finality, and to things that can't be measured. I play with layers and work with memories to create new, fractured realities that pin down wisps of ether, and bridge the gap. 

I tend to work serially, and each starts with a specific memory or group of memories. As I work through the paintings, over and over, iconography and motifs within the work emerge, change and morph — much like the way memory works. The initial starting point is a memory, but as I’m working, I’m continually responding to color, texture, light, etc., allowing and encouraging tangible elements in current time to effect the outcome of how the memory is documented.  

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How did you get started on your latest body of work?

Several years ago, within the span of a short time, I lost people who were incredibly dear to my family and me. Old age, old age, disease, freak accident, suicide, and old age. Processing those experiences showed up in work. 

In what ways do you feel your work has changed over the past few years? 

My painting continues to get looser, I think. I am after tension between the purposeful and the unintentional. As I go deeper, I am not only becoming more open to following those unexpected and sometimes contradictory moments but courting them. 

When did you first start working on murals? 

Cherubs above cribs, romantic gardens with the Three Graces for dining spaces – these types of commissioned murals helped subsidize my time in the studio for a few years after graduation. But as far as my current and recent mural work – that is, mural work that is an extension of what is happening in the studio – that work started accidentally, in early 2009. I was asking someone in the front office of my then studio building about a management issue. I happened to have in my hand a flyer for an upcoming gallery show. The person at the desk that day turned out to be the building’s owner, and also a developer, who then asked for a flyer and later came to the show — wondering if I’d be interested in painting on a wall. I was! 

What do you love most about being an artist in Los Angeles? 

Proximity. To expanse, opportunity, enthusiasm, and optimism; to the beach, the mountains, and the garden; and to excellent taco trucks.