Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Conversation With Kelly McKernan

"Relenquish" 2011
Kelly McKernan, a  graduate of Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, is an artist who uses watercolors, ink, gold leaf, and gouache to create narrative art works that contain a contemplative, sensual quality in which female form and emotions are explored. McKernan, currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia talks with ArtSeen about her artwork and why she creates.

Can you tell us a little about your artwork and your artistic process?

My artwork is feminine, illustrative, and surrealistic, and could be categorized under lowbrow art, I suppose. My current work is done with watercolor and gouache on watercolor paper.

"Redemption" 2011
What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?
I create art simply because I love the act of creation and having the ability to translate images and ideas from my head onto paper.

What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?

I'm not a particularly conceptual artist, I've realized. When I attempt to create work with a specific message in mind, I tend to feel that I'm putting myself in a corner and creating is not as fun or engaging in this way. My newest body of work is more about the imagery and what sort of emotions the ladies in my paintings evoke.

"Coy" 2011
Are there any artists that inspire you ? If so who would they be and why?

So many. Just to name a few contemporaries - Eric Fortune, Tran Nguyen, James Jean, Joao Ruas, Sam Weber, Allison Sommers, Mia Arujo... Some from history are Alphonse Mucha, Arthur Rackham, Aubrey Beardsley, Edmund Dulac, [and] Margaret MacDonald.

For you, what do you think the role of the artist is?

"Bounty" 2011
The role of the artist can be many things. It can be that of an informer, an investigator, a performer, an explorer, a psychologist, an anthropologist, a philosopher, a preservationist.

What do you want viewers to take away with them after viewing your artwork?

I am honored if the viewer is inspired or drawn in my by work. Some of my recent work is fairly seductive - it gave me massive butterflies when I saw that quite a few men were smitten with my ladies.

What’s the best and worst part about being an artist? How do you stay motivated?

"Mercurial" 2011
The best part is having the ability to create. I think it's the most wonderful ability in the world and I'm determined not to take it for granted. And that's the hard part... It's so difficult to use this ability in the practical, survival sense. I have bills to pay, food to buy, etc... and ideally, when I can make my art my job, I can accomplish everything I want and need. However, the motivation, energy, and positive attitude to keep that going can be difficult to harness. As far as staying motivated, I'm a deadline and goal-oriented person. While I do love to create, I often need a goal or a show date in front of me to get the work done, otherwise I just kind of float around with work my heart's not into.

And finally, what advice would you 

give to emerging artists?

If you have a strong local art scene, get involved. Practice networking, talking to gallery owners, get involved with a collective, and do everything you can go build a solid portfolio. What I did, while in school, was impose upon myself what I called my "30 Paintings Project" where I gave myself a Spring and Summer semester to complete 30 paintings to get a large batch of work completed and discover themes that appeared in my work, what approaches worked and felt right, and, most importantly - have work for a portfolio. Next, share it! Get feedback and keep moving and growing and stay humble.

McKernan's newest exhibit, "Willful Wiles" along with fellow artist Marcy Starz, is showing at Beep Beep Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, July 9 through July 30. Here's a great link to a video about the Opening at Beep Beep Gallery. For more information about "Willful Wiles" you can visit Beep Beep Gallery's website for more details and for more information about McKernan you can visit her website and blog

All photos provided by Kelly McKernan

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...