In anticipation of this weekend’s (March 9-11) NYC Fountain Art Fair, I asked participant and past Arts PR Group interviewee Agni Zotis her thoughts. Also, a short chat with Santa Monica artist Kathleen O’Connell Kaller.
Getting ready for an exhibit, solo or joint, can be its own reality TV show….the diverse mix of personalities, stress of deadlines and production issues. Can you share a personal experience with Fountain? Art fairs and the art world in general are reality tv dramas, entertainment should be inevitable. This year the Fountain Art Fair is at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue @ 25th Street, the very first exhibition space for the Armory Show in 1913.
I was invited by my friend, sculptor Bernard Klevickas, that had the idea for a band of artists to come together and present in a salon style exhibition, 72 artists including some friends, in booth E212 producing artwork right now in NYC. It’s an opportunity to show work, collaborate, see art, friends, parties, represent a part of the NYC art energy I am, as the world pours in to experience it. As an active artist I have the ability to create my experience.
I’m showing “In Haiti Kids are Eating Mud Cookies What Heels Should I Wear” at the curators request and also the painting “Liquify Earth” the idea of the being, the self, consuming the globe, unifying, becoming one with all, Universal Consciousness.
Thanks Agni. From the FAF folks…the “Fair is an exhibition of avant-garde artwork founded to leverage support for smaller independent galleries to gain access to larger collectors and critics. In addition to cutting-edge art, visitors to the fair can enjoy signature elements such as on-site performance art, a major street art installation, and musical performances that Fountain has become known for integrating into the art fair experience. From presenting just 3 local exhibitors at its first fair in 2006, Fountain has grown to represent over 30 international exhibitors and independent artist projects…”
Jumping to the West Coast, our interviews continue with Stanta Monica artist Kathleen Kaller.
When did you first discover your creative talents? My mother introduced me to creativity as a young child. Getting crafty on school projects and painting on shells. However the first time I realized I actually had a talent for it was in a high school art class. One of our first projects was to sketch and draw with charcoal. We were assigned to draw and shade an image of our hands and then turn it into something. I drew my hand and then turned my arm into a snake! It was quite fierce now that I look back. Having studied Hindu mythology recently, I now know snakes represents the life force, strength and rebirth. But I suppose the point of the story is that after seeing what I had created I was a little in shock that I could make something so detailed and I also felt proud. Like I found what I was good at. The images were displayed in a glass case near the cafeteria and I got really good feedback from other students. I guess it was at that moment! Having pride as I walked to the lunch room everyday.
For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. Every time I sell something is memorable moment! It really reinforces the fact that I can live and prosper as an artist. I refuse to believe in the myth of the struggling artist. But the very first art show I had was pretty memorable. I didn’t know what to expect! I had sold a few pieces to friends and family along the way but to sell to someone you don’t really know means alot to me. It means you reached an audience. After my first show I sold a piece called “Letting Go”. It was one of my first abstract paintings were I literally let go when I was painting it. I had been creating more impressionistic work and at this point I was wanting to be more free and abstract. In addition my client that bought the work commissioned me to create 2 more paintings to add to “Letting Go” creating an original Triptych for her. This was one of my first sales and commissions at the same time. This was a very exciting moment for me.
Favorite museum? Any museum I walk into is my favorite! Since I was little I loved going to museums on school trips. There is an energy that is palpable, inspiring and divine. Its quiet, meditative, and the life of each painting vibrates off the walls and into your psyche. One of my favorites in California is The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. There hangs one of my all-time favorite mural paintings by Sam Francis. It takes up an entire wall hanging 13 x 20 feet. It’s drippy, vibrant and has emotional impact at first glance. This work has been an influential in the way I create art.
If you were to give a room full of emerging artists one bit of advice, what would that be? Your studio is sacred space. Get weird as much as possible. Be grateful for everything. Little prayers to the universe work. If there is something or someone that speaks to you have a conversation, there is something you need to hear. When the going gets tough keep creating.
If you were to receive an “Artist of the Year Award,” who would be the first person you would thank and why? My family and for all those teachers along the way. My husband especially. When I left a decent-paid job to paint my husband was 100% supportive. As an artist himself he realizes the importance of the creative process. He has infused my work with encouragement and love. He also gives me really good criticism on my work and he is the only person I may alter a painting for after hearing his commentary. My mother has also been really helpful in the process as she is a painter too and has great tips. I truly feel blessed to have the resources to be an artist. It is a magical profession.
Who are your favorite artists? These artists continue to inspire, mentor and influence my work and journey as an artist. SACO (Susan Ann Christiana O’Connell), Sam Francis, Vibul Wonprasat, Francoise Gilot, Saule Piktys, Sage Vaughn, Trudy Montgomery, Darren Waterston, Picasso, William de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, Benzo Theodore, Laura Amazzone, Elaine de Kooning, and Mary Addison Hackett.
Artist: Kathleen O’Connell Kaller
Title: Luminous Tide
Medium: Oil on canvas