Monday, October 08, 2007

Artist of the Week is...

Carol Kemp!!!

Name: Carol Kemp aka CarolK.Originals


Email Address:

Website and/or Blog: and and and

What Yahoo groups do you belong to? Art Techniques, Fine art ATC’s One to One, ATC Anonymous, Bead in a Wire, Dremel for Artist, Fabric ATC’s One to One Book Arts Connection and my local art guild.

What kind of art do you like to do? I like faces, animals, trees, and myths and I love books. I don’t journal as much as I used to. I like to make ATC’s though I don’t always have time to. I use them as a warm up. I use many techniques and mediums and that is why I call myself a mixed media artist though my work is not only mixed media- I do straight painting too. I try to use my own images in my work-it makes me work harder as an artist and then I don’t have to worry about copyright issues, but that is not to say that I do not borrow vastly for other peoples work. There are no new ideas and the masters borrowed each others compositions all the time. That is what is so exciting about art-10 people can look at the same still-life and draw ten different images, or they could be given the same collage materials and come out with ten different compositions. I get goose bumps just thinking about the endless possibilities!!!

What materials do you work a lot with on a regular basis? Acrylic, watercolor, paper (I love paper), fabric, and metal (jewelry).

What type of materials would you not touch if it was even given to you? I use pretty much everything, the one thing I’ve not done is subtractive sculpture. If I were given a chisel I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I’m also not good with scratch board.

Do you like to peel stuff off your fingers or not? I love to peel stuff off my fingers. I love collaging with gel medium for that very reason. There is something so tactile about the process. Most of my clothes have paint on them.

Do you "collect" something? Not collectables or anything like that. I collect art (ATC’s), art materials and books.

What else do you do when you are working on something art related? I listen to music, research for my work, listen to books on tape and immerse myself in the process. I wouldn’t come out of my studio if I didn’t have kids.

Is your art area messy or kinda neat? Messy. I work on top of myself. It is part of the process. It’s not like making dinner where I have to wash the dishes before I can begin. If I am in my studio, I don’t want to waste time cleaning. Of course there comes a time when I have to regroup and get organized. But it isn’t long before my space is a mess. I am blessed at the moment with not only a small space in the garage to work at home, but also a very large art studio I share with my partner Syd McCutcheon , the Art Clinic, which is our working space. We teach classes there in order to pay the rent so we can work on our own the rest of the time. It is a luxury I am grateful for and do not take it for granted. But because it is big, there is a place for everything and lots of table space to work. If I don’t have classes I can leave my project out ‘til the next day with out having to worry!!! It does cause a bit of schizophrenia as some of my materials are at home and others are at the studio.

Who or what has influenced your artwork the most up to this point? I have been a student of art history for almost 30 years (could it be that long?). Many artists influence me. Truthfully it is an inner drive that spurs me on the most because I haven’t always called myself “artist”, but continued to make art. Even in the days when I was a single mom and should have been more practical with my career choices I couldn’t stop. Art making had to be front and center. Teaching art at the high school level was eye opening, especially guiding students in Advanced Placement Art. I wasn’t necessarily making a lot of art then, but I was becoming a much better artist!!! This past year I started a challenge for myself called a face a day in which I had to “post” a face a day onto a blog of the same name. The purpose was to give myself a discipline which I feel is important if you want to grow as an artist. Picasso said that art making was 5% talent and 95% work. The more you do the more you produce, the more creativity you engender. Just doing that spurred on a lot of other things- I wasn’t just making faces; in fact the faces were often very swiftly done at the end of the day. I was working all the time. Sometimes I posted three faces in one day to make up for past days missed, but at the end of one year I made over 365 faces. I used a vast array of mediums, mostly using watercolor and acrylic, but I also used graphite, pastel, oils, metal and, pie dough. A lot of the faces from that project have ended up in other mixed media pieces. This school year I will begin doing portraits of my daughter’s school mates. That project will be weekly, but I want to better learn how to paint from a live model. So work influences work. I am intending to do body parts daily though at the moment I am taking a hiatus from the rigors of having to produce something everyday. But I don’t want the discipline to go away so I better get cracken!!

Are you a self-taught artist? We are all self-taught, ultimately. I mean you have to do the work. I can give you ideas and technique, but you have to do it and while doing it you are teaching yourself about the process that works for you. Not everyone draws or paints the same, thank god. My formal training was as a theatrical designer with an emphasis in costume design. I loved clothing and history and that was a great match. I was not a “good” draughtsman and didn’t take drawing classes because I didn’t think I could draw (how twisted is that?). But I have a good sense of color, and composition and all the principles of design and an interest in symbology which made me a good designer for costumes, and I was able to implement my ideas on to the stage (I built most of the shows that I designed that were produced). After I received my BA I saw a book by Betty Edwards, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” and discovered that indeed I could draw. I then went back to the local junior collage and took studio art classes for awhile, until I got side tracked by a guy, got married, had a kid. But I always was making art!!! I did my fifth year (for teaching) and said “I want to make art!!! “ Now I’m considering working on my MFA when Ruth gets older because I think I would like to teach in college.

Tell me about the day you realized you were a "real" artist? I can’t say it was a day. Like I said before, it is an inner force, I really have no choice. I remember when I painted something I thought was good. About 16 years ago this guy asked me to paint some faces on these doors he made. He wanted to combine functional art with fine art. My son was gone with his dad for 3 weeks and I worked on those faces. For two weeks I painted for fifteen hours a day. I had to literally peel my fingers off of the paint brush at the end of the day. I barely ate. Those faces were beautiful and I thought “I’m an artist”. But I couldn’t continue to work those hours, not with kids. My son would literally block the studio door so I couldn’t enter. I couldn’t talk to him when I was painting. I thought I was answering him but I was in the right side of my brain, the non-verbal side. So I started making jewelry to appease my creative needs ( I could talk to him while stringing beads), and it sold but it was the 2d images that I wanted to learn to do. That is what I still want to learn to do!!! It is a constant process.
This summer I had a one person show in which I had about 30 pieces, most were assemblages, some collages and some textured faces. I could see a consistent thread running through those pieces. I am a real artist!!!

What colors speak to you? They have been quinacridone nickel azo gold, quinacridone magenta, and phthalo blue, cobalt teal and green gold for the past few years though I think things are changing. I’ve been adding a lot of yellow ocher, hansa yellow , light green and cadmium red light into the mix.

What colors do you absolutely abhor? This question reminds me of when my son was little and he would ask me “what is your favorite… It depends on what the color is being used for. I don’t like blue, red and gold together in a scarf, but they might look right in a painting. I like bright, rich colors, nothing garish.

What do you think is being overdone right now? In mixed media work I have to say that wings and pointy hats are overdone, though I recently put a pointy hat on a circus themed tip – in I made for a trade. The piece demanded it! Sometimes the piece calls for wings. Do you not do it because everyone else is doing it? People paint trees don’t they?
I’m tired of seeing the same stamp face. In a way that was partially why I was motivated to create my face a day challenge, so that I could build up a repository of imagery to work from. I have a slew of photo copied images of my work ready for collage. Now I am working on learning how to improve my knowledge of human anatomy ‘cause faces need a body, right? In the world of contemporary art I think violence is overdone. I’m tired of blood and guts. Remember the horse sliced up and put between glass? I didn’t see the exhibit, just read about it. It’s as if in order to get noticed you have to accelerate the shock value. Then again, art imitates life, or is it life imitating art?

Do you have a day or 2nd shift job? I work as a substitute teacher in elementary school.

What would you rather be doing than the above job? I would rather be making art though I do feel I am giving back to the community in my way by doing art with the kids.

Do you do "cute"? Not really. My chickens are the cutest I get.

Have you been published in a national art magazine or even want to do that? I had two necklaces published in a book titled, “Making Designer Mixed Media and Memory Jewelry” by Tammy Powley. Four pieces have been accepted in an up coming book, 1000 Art Jewelry and six of my journal pages have been accepted in 1000 Journal Pages. I guess both of those books will be published next year. I have a few ideas for magazine articles as well as an art book. Just need to sit down and write in my spare time!!!

Do you do something the first time and leave it or do you go back and work it some more until you get it "just right"? It depends. I’ve had work sit for over a year, until it told me what to do with it and I’ve had some pieces complete themselves on one sitting. The work speaks to me and often becomes something completely different then my initial idea.

When do you feel most satisfied in your art process? When I make something that really speaks to me. The process of putting things together, whether found objects or brush strokes, that coexist in a satisfactory composition is better than sex!!! (Don’t tell my husband).

How do you lose yourself and forget about everything else? When I’m working it is easy to forget everything else. I do have time constraints, for instance right now I should be making dinner, but when I get in the zone what else is there. I do practice yoga. That helps me to balance myself and focus because my life is a constant multitasking phenomena and I’m a random, abstract thinker. I am overwhelmed a lot of the time, but when I’m making art, life is good.

Tell me about a vice that you have. I have a bad sweet tooth. That is my last vice and I’m having a hard time losing it.


CarolK said...

Thank you Belinda for doing this. I was so suprised to see my work when your site opened.

Syd said...

Excellent comments Carol...I feel I know you....oh yea I do....ha You said this all so well! You are truely an original artist that keeps growing!