Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Interview with Karen Cohen

Image by Karen Cohen. "Suspended Animation"
1. Who are you and what do you do, and what is your background?

I'm Karen Cohen, and I sign my work KElise. I've been drawing and painting since I was 7 years old. I started out drawing portraits and to an extent, I'm still doing it, only the portraits I create now are of the human condition, not of individuals. They focus on all the ways in which we, idealized and stripped down (literally and figuratively) are connected, emotionally, physically, psychologically, circumstantially... our essential commonality.
As an artist my background has been primarily self taught, but with the guidance of two Miami Artists, the late Eugene Massin and RC Bailey--to each of whom I owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude.

2. What's integral to your art and or art career?
The connections between art and science, technique and technology; color.

Image by Karen Cohen "Grace"

3. What themes do you pursue and what medium do you use? My work is all conceptual. I start with the skeleton of an idea and develop it through several iterations and variations on a theme. Usually that translates into a series, each one elucidating another vantage point. In doing so, I hope to convey complex concepts via a series of single images. I don't tell the same "story" over and over, each successive piece must add to it--there's always something new to consider, a new thought-path to explore.

4. What makes you angry, what makes you happy?
The things that make me angry are making the same mistake more than once, and making mistakes because I'm either distracted or hurried. Things that make me happy are my family's and friends'  happiness and success, doing good work, discovering awesome new things, experiencing bold, beautiful and exciting sensations.

Image by Karen Cohen "The Wall Between Us"

5. Who and what inspire you in your work and or in your life in general?
Visionaries, new technologies and awakenings are the things that truly inspire me. I'm very sentimental, but not so much nostalgic. I don't spend a lot of time looking back because I'm not going in that direction.

6. What superpower would you want? 
I would like to be able to time-travel.

7. What is your favorite artists and or other person?
Image by Karen Cohen " Indecision"
I don't have any real "favorites." I do respect anyone who's at the top of his or her game and executes their "art" with confidence, humility and aplomb. But I also respect the artist who never stops exploring. I especially like artists whose work stops you from whatever you're doing and steals your attention--like a "startle" reflex--and immediately and spontaneously transports you to another reality. At the moment, my current hero is not an artist but the visionary Elon Musk who is changing the art and landscape of business while at the same time building products that reduce carbon emissions--electric vehicles and solar energy.

8. What advice would you give to other artists?
Work more on "why" you're creating than on "how." The how evolves into a recognizable style which is a function of matching your ideas with the techniques you develop to best convey them, combined with time and repetition.

9. Contact details if any?
Phone: 770-605-3859
Twitter: @kelisegallery

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Interview with Artist Kathy Meliopoulos

"Barking Dog"   by Kathy Meliopoulos
1. Who are you and what do you do, and what is your background?
I am an artist. I paint, draw and create art from chamois leather. I have been drawing since I could pick up a pencil. My grandmother said that as a small child, I used up all the paper in her house every time I went to visit. I still draw in the air with my finger when I am away from art supplies. I have a BFA degree in painting and drawing from the University of Florida and have taken additional classes at Florida International University and GA State.
2. What's integral to your art and or art career?
Integral to my art/art career has been the challenge of balancing family life and practical needs (generating income, studio time). I am constantly seeking that balance.
3. What themes do you pursue and what medium do you use?
I pursue three parallel tracks in my work: abstract, animal and chamois leather pieces. There are places where these three intersect. I am still exploring this trinity and have discovered that they are of equal interest. One is not dominant over the other. Since I am motivated primarily by growing and exploring, I am comfortable with this direction.
"Moss and Stone" by Kathy Meliopoulos
4. What makes you angry, what makes you happy?
The big themes of injustice in life make me angry - but specifically relating to art: my frustration in the gap of my skill level and my desire to communicate and create something powerful and beautiful. Art is a reflection of life and I have a limited area of concentration. I am committed to sharing those humble skills and observations.
I am happy when everyone I love is healthy and when I have productive time in the studio.
5. Who and what inspire you in your work and or in your life in general?
My family inspires me. My husband and daughters are all smart and hard working. In general, those who are committed to their vision, disciplined and willing to take risks to achieve progress are inspirational.
6. What superpower would you want?
I wouldn't want a superpower. An ordinary life is gift enough. I wish the same for everyone: good health, clean water, shelter and a loving family. The rest is luxury.
7. Who is your favorite artists and or other person?
My favorite well-known artists right now are: Kandinsky, Degas, Frida Kahlo, Amy Sillman, Alice Neel, Diebenkorn, Wayne Thiebaud. Any artist that makes me groan with admiration, love and envy - I have too many favorites! I have to say that my VERY favorite artists are the ones who may not be famous or "successful", the ones who struggle and strive, who believe in their vision and keep plugging away.
"Map of Parallel Interests" by Kathy Meliopoulos

8. What advice would you give to other artists?
Keep trying, keep learning, keep experimenting.
9. Contact details if any?