Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Art Space Talk: Kim Scott

Kim Scott has been creating art as a profession since 1973. She is known for depicting conventional and unconventional figures that stem from different sources. Monster and Sci-fi movies and books from her youth have remained a constant source of inspiration in her work. Kim Scott's artwork has shared walls with many interesting artists: Alex Grey, Mark Ryden, Todd Shorr, the Clayton brothers- just to name a few. Her work can be found in several collections, including the Crocker Art Museum.

Brian Sherwin: Kim, when did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

Kim Scott: I was always the "class artist" from the beginning, but at 19 I realized that I could make art for a living. " I was taking Marine Biology classes at the time, thinking about what to do for a REAL JOB, then I realized that making art IS a real job.

BS: Kim, how has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

KS: I am a Vanitas painter. I paint topics relating to my own experiences and focus on impermanence and vanity. I have always been interested it this, but when I started doing Tibetan Buddhist practice 14 years ago, it really showed up in the work. I have taught art to adults with developmental disabilities, high risk youth and inmates in the California State Prison System on and off over the last 15 years. I've seen the power of positive personal expression. I think all my travel has added depth to my work too, all the museums, archeological sites, temples, mosques and Cathedrals..... seeing the rich and poor over time. Seeing the things that people make, that are important to them is really interesting to me."

BS: On average, how long does it take you to create a piece?

KS: Between two days and two weeks. I paint pretty fast, but the oils and glazes take a bit of time to dry properly.

BS: Has your art ever been published?

KS: In a few Mags, I did the cover of Tower records now defunct "Pulse" mag, I have made images for some local mags and rags and get included in local newspapers quite often. I have a piece in the "Western SciFi" Catalogue from the SF Minna gallery show of the same name. I am a member of the Art Dorks collective, and we are going to put a book out later this year.

BS: Kim, what was your most important exhibition? Care to share that experience?

KS: One of my goals years ago was to get my work into a one person museum show. After 6 years of working on it, the Crocker Art Museum asked for work. It consisted of 18 miniature paintings I painted while in India. I received a letter while working there asking if I would like to do the show.... HELL YES!! I was so happy. Getting work into the Western-Scifi show was a boon too. I met soooo many fine artists that opening night and after... Mark Ryden, Ausgang, KRK Ryden, Mike Davis, Isabelle Samaras.... and the list goes on. It expanded the region my work was being seen in and started conversations with many artists living outside of my town.

BS: Kim, do you have any 'studio rituals'? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?

KS: I like Indian, Persian and African music, I listen to international internet radio stations, I like progressive talk radio and too much TV! (guilty pleasure) If I need inspiration, I clean the studio or gesso wood panels, I always feel like painting after that.

BS: If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

KS: Brave. So much of my work is a little hard to look at. I try to make it beautiful and authentic. To me, beauty is something that moves you, not just something that is pretty. Some people gravitate to this. They appreciate moving out of their comfort zone to reflect through the work. To have this intimate emotion. They are my collectors and fans."

BS: Kim, discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you created it?

KS: (Escape and Good Luck!- image above) I had this cut off funny little fragment of a starving artists "real oil painting" from the 99 cent store knocking around the studio. I decided to expand on it, so I nailed it to a piece of plywood and painted it close to the same background color as the painting fragment. I extended the landscape component out from the fragment onto the wood... and just looked at it for about a week, trying to see what else needed to be there. I almost always think of my work as self portraits, and had been using meat as character for a while. This bucolic setting just seemed ripe for a swim... the first title was "swimming Lesson" but quickly got changed to "Escape and Good Luck" ... the surprised and panicked look in the eyes cinched the name change. What is she running from...? Her past? The dogs? A mirror? The frying pan? Where was my fan brush when I needed it most?! Recently I have been approached by several guys with cannibal fetishes... I supposed it was only a matter of time...

BS: Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how did it help you as an artist? What can you tell us about the art department that you attended?

KS: I have an MA in studio art from california State University at Sacramento. I also went to American River Community College, where I received some good basic painting training from Gary Pruner, and other Photo Realists. When I went to school at Sac State, the method of teaching was "go paint". Not much info into technique and such. This has its benefits, studio time is sooo important. Developing self motivation is key. I talked to a new younger painter friend the other day who said he had Eric Joyner for a background painting teacher in SF......BACKGROUND PAINTING TEACHER!!! I wish I would have had one of those!

BS: Kim, why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

KS: Oil looks the best. The End. It stinks, you can develop allergies, it takes time to dry.... but the surface and color. Sorry... as good as acrylics can look, oils look a little better. More beguiling. I also use enamels on copper in the Limoges style now and then. It makes your work look like jewelry. Beautiful, and hard to control. Sometimes thats a good thing.

BS: Where can we see more of your art?

KS: www.feedyoureye.com , www.artdorks.com (new site opens soon) www.myspace.com/feedyoureye, www.davescave.com

BS: Are you represented by a gallery? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?

KS: Toyroom Gallery in Sacramento lets me use their space for lots of fun stuff, I've had my own shows there and I have curated a couple of group shows there too. I just curated the "Everything Nice" show there and then it traveled to Thinkspace and Cannibalflower in LA, See the amazing artists involved at: http://www.sacforart.com/everythingnice.html The Art Dorks are having a few shows this year including one at McCaig-Wells in Brooklyn in June and at Thinkspace in LA also in June. I have showing some collabouation works at A Bitchin' Space in Sac this year. Toyroom in October... More in the works in NY, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Seattle.

BS: Kim, what galleries have you exhibited in? Can you provide links to their sites?

KS: Heres a few...

Toyroom Gallery (Sacramento) www.toyroomgallery.com
A Bitchin' Space (Sacramento) www.abitchinspace.com
Youngblood Gallery (Atlanta) www.youngbloodgallery.com
Feinkunst Kr├╝ger gallery (Hamburg) http://www.feinkunst-krueger.de/framefeinkunst.html//l
McCaig-Welles Gallery (Brooklyn) www.mccaigwelles.com
Thinkspace (LA) www.thinkspacegallery.com
Cannibalflower(LA) www.cannibalflower.com
Anno Domini(San Jose) www.galleryad.com
Subject Matter Gallery (Costa Mesa) http://visualsubjectmatter.com
Hope Gallery (New Haven) http://www.hopegallerytattoo.com/event.html//l
RX gallery (SF) http://rxgallery.com
Horsecow Gallery (Sacramento) www.horsecow.com
Shooting Gallery (SF) www.shootinggallerysf.com
Varnish Fine Art (SF) www.varnishfineart.com
111 Minna Gallery (SF) www.111minnagallery.com

BS: Kim, what trends do you see in the 'art world'?

KS: Thank Buddha that painting the figure is back. Cabinet painting is back. Art that can be collected and shown in a regular sized home or apartment. Technical excellence. The craft is way up, and when the ideas are there too, its magic.

BS: Kim, do you have any advice for emerging artists?

KS: Go to your studio. Mature as a human being, or your work will suffer. Also, learn the business, no mater how good you are, if you can't interface with the business world, its hard to cleanly close the deal on your art skills. Stop that prima donna stuff. A little goes a long way. Let your art kick their ass, not your attitude. Don't forget to have fun! Not many artists make a full time living on their art making. Its not a crime to work a second job... make it something you like. "Those that can't do, teach" is a stupid saying.

BS: Kim, has your work ever been censored? If so, how did you deal with it?

KS: I was asked to cover up the nipples on a painting going on the front of a local newspaper... no problem. My other work? I have put up signs warning about content at galleries a few times.... I have had VERY explicit work up at college galleries and public shows several times without censor. I was pleased.

BS: What was the toughest point in your career as an artist? Have you ever hit rock-bottom?

KS: Being an artists is its own punishment and reward. Hard to make a living, fun and rewarding to make stuff, Its great to contribute to the world authentically. Richeous livelihood is good when you can do it. When I feel bad about myself, if I don't believe in my intrinsic value as a human...my work suffers. Sometimes its hard not to cave into the pressures of the media about how you should look and such. Vanity causes a lot of suffering! Best not to buy into it. Go to your studio!

BS: Kim, in one sentence... why do you create art?

KS: I long to commune and the visual language is the language I use best.

BS: What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

KS: I was born, educated and raised in Sacramento CA. Also known as "CowTown", "the Big Easychair" ,"Sacatomatoe" and "Sacra". People who live here or who move here are under the old native "curse of the two rivers". (you will not be able to leave Sacramento, or if you do leave you will have to come back until all of your spiritual work is done) It houses the oldest Art Museum west of the Mississippi river (the Crocker, just had a radiant and bitchin' Irving Norman show), has the best farm fresh food and doesn't know how great it really is. Painting was NEVER dead here. There are lots of galleries, a fantastic 2 percent for the arts public collection, and the RCAF (Royal Chicano Air Force) makes it their home. During the early 70s, some of Chicago's coolest cats, the "Hairy Who" moved in, partied and intermarried with the locals, making a funny and funky mess of valley art here called Valley Funk. Influential Valley dignitaries have included Wayne Thiebaud ,Thomas Kinkade (!a little further up the hill...), Hudson River valley painters including Norton Bush and Thomas HIll, Funk artists Robert Arneson , Jim Nutt and Pop photo realist Mel Ramos. Plus a BIG bunch of other men and women making all kinds of stuff. Pop Surrealism and Lowbrow R us for the last 30 years. Huge car culture, Johnny crash'o'rama, and Bill Liberty Tattoo. Its an art vortex. Come and take the ride sometime...but if you need to brush up on your spiritual work, you may be here a while.

BS: Kim, has politics ever entered your art?

KS: It enters my life, so it can't help entering my art....This is Sacramento after all... gotta go to marches at the Capitol a couple times a year to defend the arts in CA, or other causes.

BS: Does religion, faith, or the lack thereof play a part in your art?

KS: A spiritual component is present in my expression.

BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the "art world'?

KS: Give me more shows!
You can learn more about Kim Scott by visiting the following website-- www.feedyoureye.com. You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page-- www.myartspace.com/interviews. Kim is involved with the beinArt International Surreal Art Collective.
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin

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