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With this post, Kettle Art brings you the final interview in a series of interviews that have featured the artists that were part of the “Forces of Nature” line-up.

Today, our focus is squarely on Corey Godfrey.

Enjoy …

Corey Godfrey

 
Kettle – Please tell us a little about yourself (give a brief bio).
 
Corey – I was born in Germany, but grew up in Fort Worth, TX. I received my BFA in Drawing/Painting at the University of North Texas in 2008. I love arts and crafts and have always been a trouble maker.
 
Kettle – How long have you been pursuing the creative life?
 
Corey - Since I was old enough to teach my siblings how to color on walls.
 
Kettle – When did you first discover your creative side?
 
Corey – See above.
 
Kettle – Do you have formal training, or are you self taught?
 
Corey - Lots of formal training and lots of experimenting.
 
 
Kettle – Could you please describe some of your latest work?

Corey - They are images of cacti made with yarn over a painted canvas

Kettle – How did you decide on the medium with which you work?

Corey – I have always experimented with craft materials and found yarn to be my niche.

Kettle – Where did you find the inspiration for your most recent work?

Corey – I actually dreamt about these grandeur erotic cacti.

Kettle – Have you shown at Kettle Art in the past? When? What shows?

Corey - I have frequented the Kettle for a few years now, participating in all of the benefit shows and various group shows.

Kettle – What most intrigues you about your latest show at Kettle Art? Why?

Corey – Something about the show and the group of work that each artist has presented is very visually soothing as a whole which I like.

Kettle – How did you approach the work you created for this exhibit?

Corey – I draw with yarn so it allows me to approach it very organically.

Kettle – What do you want viewers to take away from your work at this show?

Corey – I always want my viewers to look at my work and feel something even if they dont quite understand what they are feeling.

Kettle – Is there a particular message you are trying to convey through your work?

Corey - I value conveying the power of the erotic. It is a force of nature that is prominent although hidden in society.

Kettle – What artists have influenced your life & work? Why?

Corey – I have great respect for the artist Ghada Amer who creates large scale works with hidden, layered images of embroidered women pleasuring themselves. Her work is stemmed from ideals found in western feminism and the result is beautiful, powerful and poetic.

Kettle – If you could collaborate with another artist (from the past or present), who would that be & why?

Corey – It would be a pleasure to collaborate with the artist Jane Callister who paints these candy colored dreamscapes made of lace and dripping paint. Her works express a whimsical eroticism that I can relate to in my work

Kettle – Describe yourself in 5 words.

Corey – Patient, intuitive, quirky, optimistic and driven.

Kettle – What 5 words would others use to describe you?

Corey - See above.

Kettle – What is next for you creatively?

Corey – I desire to delve deep into cacti. I will exhibiting in the next upcoming show at the Kettle, Fractal Logic.

“Forces of Nature” wraps up this week at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum.

Next up is the mural show, Fractal Logic, curated by George Fowler. Please come by and check out the opening on July 23rd. As always, you won’t be disappointed.

Kettle Art brings you the fifth in a series of interviews with the six artists that are currently showing their work in the “Forces of Nature” exhibit.

Today, we get up close with Julia Schloss.

Enjoy …

 

Julia Schloss

 
Kettle – Please tell us a little about yourself (give a brief bio).
 
Julia – Shortly after Julia was born in Northern California her parents moved to Dallas. Raised in church and public school, she received adequate art instruction. Born with an independent mind and creative streak attributed to her maternal grand father, an Irish horseman leatherworker, harness makin tight rope walker with The Ringling Bros. Circus, Julia has been reinventing her environment as long as she can remember.
 
Starting with furniture for her dolls from the trash can in the kitchen. 
Through gifting friends and family over her lifetime with whimsical salvage art pieces Julia has been a self taught creatrix. Calling herself a Salvagista before she knew what Mixed Media was. 
Julia teaches several Creative Sustainable Art workshops and classes. Leading participants on a meditative journey revealing their inner artist while sharing the resources and creative recycling ideas she has been blessed to learn on her path as an outsider artist recycling lifes’ cast offs into heirloom treasures. 
 
The series created for Forces of Nature was developed from a burned down home and the new construction salvage found on a Summer bulky trash pick up weekend  in East Dallas.A Heart of Fire is a metaphor for Life, and it’s Forces of Nature.
 
Kettle – How long have you been pursuing the creative life?
 
Julia - Since I can remember remembering. 
 
Kettle – When did you first discover your creative side?
 
Julia – I never knew a time without it.
 
 
 
 
Earth Angel
 
Kettle – Do you have formal training, or are you self taught?
 
Julia - I’m self taught.
 
Kettle – Could you please describe some of your latest work?
 
Julia – The series I created in response to the call for The Forces of Nature all developed from a bulky trash pile I came upon while walking my Dogs in my old neighborhood of Casa Linda.

A home had burned down. The larger parts of the house remnants had been removed, but the smaller things had just been bulldozed to the curb. It was enormous. The pile contained all the stuff you expect to find, kitchen utensils, scorched clothes and window treatments. I kept walking the Dogs past it, then something blue revealed itself to me I took my Dogs home and returned in my truck with my Salvagista Gear and proceeded to find mUCh personal treasure belonging to the Woman who lived in the house. 

Just below the surface of this pile, I began to find great things. Records in a plastic bin. Good ones too!

A collection of Kennedy memorabilia. A box of good clothes, shoes and a couple of big silk wool coats, one with mink cuffs and collar. All vintage 50′s. There were her photo albums. They practically reached out to me like a puppy in a pet store.

It was her whole life and identity. My heart skipped a beat – I could find her family.

It would be ez. They would want the jewelry and travel journals and photos and clothing and all of it! They’d distribute it amongst them. Some terrible thing had happen that caused them to not know their mom’s house had burned down. And I was going to fix it. Make it all better and it would then in turn make me feel better about my family losses. After searching tax records and making lots of calls, I found out that no one wanted these things. That I could do as I wished with them.

I was crushed for her. I grieved for her. And for myself. For my family and it’s fractures so complete. For the loss to The World of balance and health, love and compassion.

Throughout this series utilizing the burned down home and life remains of this woman who was once a home economics teacher who taught resourcefulness and independence, I fought my way out of the fire of mY Life experiences and emerged stronger, smarter, happier and motivated to remain this way.

Continuing to grow new powerful golden Phoenix feathers.

ThAt is truly experiencing A Force of Nature.

Earth Mama

Kettle – How did you decide on the medium with which you work?

Julia – My medium is Salvage. Some call it mixed media. And technically it is. But it’s more than that. I use 90% salvaged/found materials. Mostly because I was raised by Depression Survivors who taught me to recycle before it was The Thing. I was born with a creative mind so I just sEE the possibilities of shapes, and textures. I am very blessed for this gift. It has supported me for over 25 years. I dO wish I were better at math though.

Heart of Fire

Kettle – Where did you find the inspiration for your most recent work?

Julia – When I received the invitation to be a part of The Forces of Nature I went into my piles, drawers and stashes and realized what I had in the photo albums, pieces and parts of The Home Ec Teacher’s Life. An evolution. The entire Life Path all right there. A story. And the obvious moral to that story that kept ringing in my ear was Resurrection. 

I feel so gifted with the opportunity to bring Her back to life. To show the beauty of a single life lived fully. Ending as most would see completely in this fire. Yet her legacy of independence through sustainable creativity rose from the ashes of that fire through the art I was inspired to create.

To mE, thAt is the definition of the Modern Man’s desire for Legacy. For something of us to remain behind to remind The Future of The Past. That all Life is precious and meaningful. To sOMeone.

To sOmeone, we are a Force of Nature.

Guardian Angel

 Kettle – Have you shown at Kettle Art in the past? When? What shows?

Julia – Once before I was invited to show at The Kettle. For The Pillars show. I painted an angel amongst the pillars. I visited all the pillars admiring the art there, and thought all that is needed now are guardian angels. The angel I created is a mash up of several

of my best friends. It was an absolute dream come true to be showing ANYthing at The Kettle. I’ve been an admirer of Franks’ for most of my life. I remember driving to church every day (yes, every day, went to school @ church) as a kid with my parents and seeing the Gypsy Tea Room murals and dreaming of the day I would paint on buildings, beautifying neighborhoods. I get closer to that dream every day. Life is amazing. Seriously.

Sunflower

Kettle – What most intrigues you about your latest show at Kettle Art? Why?

Julia – I began this series knowing it was going to be UN pretty. That I had to let go of my deep seated desire for balance, logic and prettiness because of the types of materials I had to work with. Scorched objects. I had to find a way to make this tragedy sing good news gospel again. I came away with works I am proud of. They are imbued with positive beautiful Love energy. I prayed and sang over these works. They are talismans as much as art. Moving any of these pieces into your life will make a positive difference. They absolutely vibrate with sweetness and light. I travelled with the materials through their process. We came back to life together. During the time I was creating this series I went through a personal alchemy.

I found strength in new boundaries and releasing what I thought was control over many situations in my life and found myself healing some pretty serious long time spiritual injuries. It has been an amazing catalyst on many levels. I’ve met and become friends with some really wonderful people, experienced praise from people whose work I admire. Learned new techniques from trained artists who felt I was doing something worth critiquing. Doors of Wonder began fLYing open the minute I decided on how this series was going to be created.

 

Midnight Dragonfly

Kettle – How did you approach the work you created for this exhibit?

Julia – With trepidation, total respect and a listening heart.

Midnight Dragonfly (Detail)

Kettle – What do you want viewers to take away from your work at this show?

Julia – That their lives are precious and meaningful. No matter how mundane, troubled, hectic, worthless…enter any word here…that they believe their lives to be, they Are integral. Crucial. Necessary. Important. Somehow. Somewhere.

You never know who you are going to meet that you will help just by bEing.

Please Love your Life. It can be too short, painful, and always challenging.  Without all that angst how are we to know the glory? That’s growing pains. We are here to grow. And someday soon, we will have grown ourselves right up next to God. Right where we always wanted to be anyway…

Barbie Kachina

Kettle – Is there a particular message you are trying to convey through your work?

Julia – Life can be messy, and still be beautiful.

 

Barbie Kachina

Kettle – What artists have influenced your life & work? Why?

Julia – When I was in 4th grade my art teacher Ms. Chapman told us about how Pablo Picasso used everything around him in his art. How he would draw OVer old art. How he would paint on furniture and how he pulled fabric from the trash bins of the weavers in his neighborhood and use that for painting canvass. Suddenly I had a connection to the mind of Pablo Picasso! I had been doing these things all my little life too. And thAt is when I became an Artist in my mind. That is when I found my identity.

Then I actually began studying the works of Picasso and fell hard for his imperfect perfection. Which allowed me to relax into a style that is mine and separates me from the pack. I am not technically trained. And you can tell. But I like that.

I learned about shape, color, texture, perspective and light through the eye and works of Picasso. I learned about politics and religious pressure. I learned about The Great Illusion.

That this life is just a passing dust mote in a shaft of Sun light. And so it is imperative to enjoy and express joy while we can.

Picasso’s creations say to us that there IS an artist in everyone, if we just keep trying new processes, we’ll find our outlet that defines The Artist within us. Next thing ya know, there’s World Peace!

I read once how Australian Bushmen communicate through song while they are on their spiritual journey, The Walkabout. That they believe every member of their Tribe has their own song. Their own voice, and even language of prayer and song.

That’s what I believe about humans as artisans. We each have an artist living in our souls, we just need keep experimenting till we find our most powerful expression.

Barbie Kachina

Kettle – If you could collaborate with another artist (from the past or present), who would that be & why?

Julia - I would like to have the opportunity to work with the powerful artists of The BauHaus School. Because they were creating with function and sustainability in mind. Sustainability of the spirit of originality and creative interdependence. They were on the precipice of peace through art. Particularly Marianne Brandt. She was a painter, photographer, designer, sculptor, metallurgist…she did EVErything! Creating useful, sustainable, beautiful household objects. Her works were believed to be the harbinger for modern industrial design.

 I feel very blessed to be living in a time and place where The BauHaus Effect is taking place again. Here in Dallas and specifically at The Kettle.

 I would like to work with our local sculptors, muralists, mosaicists, architects and landscapers to be a part of this magic I see happening in Dallas. To develop a  creative sustainability language and movement everyone can understand, learn and express.

Barbie Kachina

Kettle – Describe yourself in 5 words.

Julia - Loved. Supported. Irrepressible. Hopeful. Determined.

Kettle – What 5 words would others use to describe you?

Julia – Creative. Lucky. Energetic. Opinionated. Funny.

Barbie Kachinas

Kettle – What is next for you creatively?

Julia – Currently, I’m working on a mirror mosaic in my home to make a dark hall brighter. I’m developing a Gnome Scene for SEED in July. Producing the art show CooLWaTeRs 3 @ The Kessler Theater on August 13th. I’m working with Lisa Walker to create a dozen hand made Mermaid costumes for The CooLWaTerS Mermaids as well as my own art for the show.

I’m creating a series of Barbie Kachina’s for an Altered Barbie art show in San Fransisco in October. Also there is a creative sustainability curriculum in the works which I hope to introduce in Spring of 2012 through a foundation I’ve become active with.

I am teaching The Styrofoam Art Workshop @ The Dallas Women’s Museum in August.

And I’m always leading The Dream Box Workshop sOMewhere and restoring old furniture I find on the side of the road in my art studio in Palmer, Texas.

“Forces of Nature” is currently showing at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum. The show runs through mid-July. Please come by and check out the work in person. You won’t be disappointed.

For the past week, Kettle Art has been bringing you interviews with the six artists that make up the current “Forces of Nature” line-up.

Today, we turn the spotlight on Jennifer Gregory Portz.

Enjoy …

Jennifer Gregory Portz

Kettle – Please tell us a little about yourself (give a brief bio).
 
Jennifer - ART is one of my first memories, always drawing.  My birth mum was an artist & my dad was an artist, I truly feel I was born this way.  As my mum died when I was 3, Dad remarried after meeting a great lady at Parents without Partners.  My awesome stepmom gave me constant art support.  This artful support was never ending & magnified by my father in his late life.  Both parents wanted me to ‘get back to art’ after years of ‘regular jobs’ which happen when folks get married & have children like I did, though they’re both gone, my Dad’s little sister of 82years old is quite enthusiastic for me since she took care of me & mum Vi way back.
 
Kettle – How long have you been pursuing the creative life?
 
Jennifer – I have pictures of myself in front of my mum’s paintings & I do think my crayons were pure JOY amongst a tragic beginning of early parental loss.  I would say the answer is always.
 
 
Kettle – When did you first discover your creative side?
 
Jennifer – When I was 4, my new stepsister pointed out the EYES I drew on a person (cat-eye slits in round circles) were “wrong”  !  I remember precisely saying I LIKED them that way.  EYES were the first things I drew. Mother said perhaps it was the only thing I remembered about mum Violet, but they are flashcube memories.
 
Kettle – Do you have formal training, or are you self taught?
 
Jennifer - I was born with a natural gift it seems, & in elementary years students were constantly begging me to ‘help’ them with their drawings.  Mother enrolled me in private classes at community centers every summer which I ‘earned’ with chores.  All thru school, ART was what kept me sane since I hated school.  Fred Jones Fine Art School at Oklahoma University during the early 80s was nothing less than pure Heaven.  I went for a Painting Degree, but got close with 3yrs towards the 4yr TL, so God made lemonade of my lemons since then.
 
Kettle – Could you please describe some of your latest work?

Jennifer – Eyes in flowers being observed by wonderment is one piece.  Eyes lost in the grass, much like me lost easily and wanting a GPS!  Eyes feeling watched is another piece.  Eyes entangled nearly in little tiny wildflower type eye-flowers wondering how did I get here so close?

Kettle – How did you decide on the medium with which you work?

Jennifer - Acrylic has been my favorite medium since first discovering it in Art school in 1981. Acrylic is natural to me, unlike any other medium.  I do enjoy collage, so I have done those occasionally since being inspired by my sister in the 70s, but for a much more huge portion of my life, acrylic is my mainstay. 

Kettle – Where did you find the inspiration for your most recent work?

Jennifer - Forces of Nature made me instantly think of my Eye-flowers that I used to draw in Ink back in early 90s.  It so happens that Mother thought my petals of Eyes were wonderful & pun intended: eye-catching!  Translating ink into paint turns out to be a lot of work as I’m quite a details freak.  I have always looked at nature from afar.  I’ve never been a huge outdoors person from early childhood I was always forced outside, ha! 

Kettle – Have you shown at Kettle Art in the past? When? What shows?

Jennifer – I have so far entered For the Love of Kettle for the last 2 years–because I am inspired by Frank Campagna, really dig Kettle Gallery and what Kettle means to the artist community.  Getting into Art Conspiracy has been a huge blessing, as it’s been a road to great artist friends to be in shows with.  Having a small group show with great artists at Kettle has been on my bucket list.

Kettle – What most intrigues you about your latest show at Kettle Art? Why?

Jennifer – Kettle Gallery is a warm place to show first of all.  The artists that I’m in the show with are all dear hearted women, and the variety of talents they express in their individual mediums makes me feel proud to be with them.

Kettle – How did you approach the work you created for this exhibit?

Jennifer - With my enthusiasm, I did no pre-planning drawings before beginning, I went into straight painting on canvas. 

Kettle – What do you want viewers to take away from your work at this show?

Jennifer - EYES make you think about things closely, so I want people to be more observant in this precious world we have.

Kettle – Is there a particular message you are trying to convey through your work?

Jennifer - Eyes are the windows to the soul people say all the time.  I would like people to remember a very personal feeling towards others and nature, to be more thoughtful of their own impact because of the eyes they see in my work.

Kettle – What artists have influenced your life & work? Why?

Jennifer - Picasso is the first artist to EVER impact me.  He made it look QUITE fun when he painted on the glass towards the camera and he made it look like a snap.  Drawing was a snap to me, painting has been a learning road beginning in watercolors which I didn’t love when I was little & acrylics in Art school at OU.  I became a professional muralist after my 2nd child because I wanted to make ‘bread-n-butter’ to help my family and still be the mom I wanted to be.  I knew the famous artists were either discovered with the right time & right place OR they were working like mad doing professional portraits to make a living.  I wanted to WORK and I wanted to CREATE.  There are other artists that I enjoy, but Picasso’s work has always gotten to me because he expressed in so many different styles so I strive in my mural work & my personal expression as well. 

Kettle – If you could collaborate with another artist (from the past or present), who would that be & why?

Jennifer – Just from experience, it takes quite a unique arrangement for artists to work together on a project so I’m in awe of those who do that.  I have very few artists I would feel able to do that with.  I must say my friend Julia Schloss I feel I could naturally work with at some point as we have different styles that don’t collide & similar goals.

Kettle – Describe yourself in 5 words.

Jennifer – 1) enthusiastic  2)friendly 3)artistic 4)funny 5)conscientious

Kettle – What 5 words would others use to describe you?

Jennifer - 1) Friendly   2) Hyper 3) Funny, 4) Thoughtful  5) Artist

Kettle – What is next for you creatively?

Jennifer – Next show I’m included in will be Cool Waters 3 at The Kessler on August 13 with Julia Schloss.  I’m very excited because I really do enjoy painting water from all the murals I’ve done, so I’ll be incorporating the ocean & eyes, very fun!  After this show I’ll be gearing up to enter some little fun works for Lake Point Fall Fest as I love to serve artfully. Art Conspiracy 7 will be something I do NOT want to miss this year, so I keep my eyes peeled J

“Forces of Nature” is currently showing at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum. The show runs through mid-July. Please come by and check out the work in person. You won’t be disappointed.

Kettle Art brings you the third in a series of interviews with the six artists that are currently showing their work in the “Forces of Nature” exhibit.

Today, we get up close with Karla Garcia.

Enjoy …

Karla M Garcia

 
Kettle – Please tell us a little about yourself (give a brief bio).
 
Karla - I’m a Dallas artist and graphic designer. I was born in 1977 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States in 1992 to El Paso, Texas. I later moved to Dallas, Texas in 2002 after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Advertising and Graphic Design from The University of Texas at El Paso. My interests are painting, cheesemaking, homebrewing, and making things in general.
 
Kettle – How long have you been pursuing the creative life?
 
Karla - I’ve been painting for a long time, but have had several breaks, I’m very happy to be back to my old painting self though.
 
Kettle – When did you first discover your creative side?
 
Karla – When I was very young  I was always painting, although I don’t think I ever paid attention to it, I enjoyed painting as much as playing outside with my friends.
 
 
Isabella
 
Acrylic on Panel
 
Kettle – Do you have formal training, or are you self taught?
 
Karla - I’ve taken some classes throughout my life, but not too many. I consider myself to be self-taught.
 
Kettle – Could you please describe some of your latest work?

Karla – I interpreted “Forces of Nature” with a playful twist on the Mexican Day of the Dead tradition.  I love this tradition, partly for Posada’s political cartoons and Day of the Dead related lithographs from early 1900s Mexico, but for close personal losses as well, including my older brother and step-father who have both passed away. Day of the Dead is a way to celebrate their memory. Also, being from Juarez and reading about all of the violence going on there right now with the cartels, I chose to portray my skeletons as lighter and happier beings taking care of nature.

Kettle – How did you decide on the medium with which you work?

Karla - I wanted to show my paintings on wood panels to get a little extra texture to draw a deeper connection between my skeletons and the natural scenes that surround them.

Seraphina

Acrylic on Panel

Kettle – Where did you find the inspiration for your most recent work?

Karla - My inspiration came from a long love for Day of the Dead tradition in Mexico, also, I’m engaged to a guy that works in an active forensic anthropology lab and handles skeletal remains daily, so I’ve have gotten to see some actual skeletons, which has been pretty fascinating. I’d say that’s a pretty big influence as well.

Kettle – Have you shown at Kettle Art in the past? When? What shows?

Karla - This is my first show at Kettle, yay! I’ve known Frank for a while and have collected art from other shows at Kettle. I love his gallery and what it represents, and I’m honored that my old friend Cheryl invited me to be a part of this show with a group of such fantastic artists.

Kettle – What most intrigues you about your latest show at Kettle Art? Why?

Karla - Sometimes, one thinks about nature in the practical sense and can be inspired by its beauty, and not typically think of “death” when they think nature. However, it’s definitely a part of it, so I thought that it would be intriguing to show some interaction between these two life and death “sides” of nature.

Cat Lady

Acrylic on Panel

Kettle – How did you approach the work you created for this exhibit?

Karla - I wanted to make sure to have some fun with it. I tried to make art that wasn’t too serious, even though my subject of death is often taken seriously. My skeletons are very much alive, if that makes any sense. I look at them as silly guardians that play as they protect nature.

Kettle – What do you want viewers to take away from your work at this show?

Karla - I would like the viewers to smile when they look at my pieces. I’m actually in the process of printing a small 20-page book of the paintings with companion short stories. They’re quite silly and I hope people like them.

Kettle – Is there a particular message you are trying to convey through your work?

Karla - Although death is a force of nature, it does not need to be a negative force. It is part of the cycle of life, and like nature, it can be funny and wonderful, but it can also play tricks on us.

 

Rosalita

Acrylic on Panel

Kettle – What artists have influenced your life & work? Why?

Karla - Jose G. Posada, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, José David Alfaro Siqueiros, Fernando Botero , Alfredo Ceibal, Basquiat and Matisse. Except for Alfredo Ceibal, these are the artists that I grew up learning about. I met Ceibal through my uncle. He’s a wonderful artist from Guatemala. His work conveys a great sense of humor that’s stuck with me since I first saw it more than 10 years ago.

Kettle – If you could collaborate with another artist (from the past or present), who would that be & why?

Karla - I think that would have to be Frida Kahlo. She’s been sort of my hero since I was a kid. My mom gave me a book with her biography, which was my very first introduction into art.  I don’t know if I could keep up with that quirky-amazing brain of hers.  I bet she’d laugh at me since I have her portrait tattooed on my arm!

Kettle – Describe yourself in 5 words.

Karla - Funny, introverted, creative, worker-bee, and adventurous.

Lola

Acrylic on Panel

Kettle – What 5 words would others use to describe you?

Karla – Determined, creative, inquisitive, quirky and analytical.

Ms Clementine

Acrylic on Panel

“Forces of Nature” is currently showing at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum. The show runs through mid-July. Please come by and check out the work in person. You won’t be disappointed.

Earlier this week, Kettle Art began bringing you interviews with the six artists that make up the current “Forces of Nature” line-up.

Today, we turn the spotlight on Cheryl Baker.

Enjoy …

Cheryl Baker

 
Kettle – Please tell us a little about yourself (give a brief bio).
 
Cheryl - I grew up in a rural setting, livestock and crops included. As a kid, I spent most of my free time alone in the outdoors. When indoors, I occupied myself with drawing and reading. I developed a reputation as an artist in elementary school, drawing portraits of classmates while waiting for the school bus. After graduation from The Art Institute of Houston, I worked as a graphic designer and had a studio space at Mother Dog Studios where I painted and showed work for about two years. After moving to Dallas, I took a hiatus from painting for nearly a decade. I started showing work again in 2008.
 
Kettle – How long have you been pursuing the creative life?
 
Cheryl - I’ve always been intrigued by art and studied art history independently. I chose to pursue graphic art as a career when in high school. I find art to be one of the most fulfilling things in my life. Some things are set into motion early and gain momentum as time goes by. At seven, I wanted to be an author and illustrator. All these years later, I am still writing and painting.
 
Kettle – When did you first discover your creative side?
 
Cheryl – I believe we are all born with the desire to create. My parents supported my interest in art and supplied me with the usual basic tools for drawing. The most valuable thing they provided was their encouragement.
 
Kettle – Do you have formal training, or are you self taught?
 
Cheryl - I took lessons for painting landscapes in oil when I was a teenager. I don’t think that really counts as formal training. My education focused on commercial design, so I suppose I’m self taught when it comes to fine art.
 

One Accord

Acrylic on Canvas

Kettle – Could you please describe some of your latest work?

Cheryl - I’ve done a couple of pieces recently that depict rocks in water and soil. I add and subtract paint to create shapes and lines. Since I use very wet paint, I have to move fast, so planning ahead is very important. The point of the pieces is to call attention to the world beneath the surface. There is more beneath our feet than the grass we stand on. Other work I’ve done lately has been surreal in subject matter and impressionistic in style, small brushstrokes with slightly varying tones to indicate the play of light. I often include hand-written phrases that enforce the imagery.

Kettle – How did you decide on the medium with which you work?

Cheryl - There are many good things to be said in support of acrylic paint, fast-drying, rich color that is easy to use. It’s what I usually work with, though I often include pencil, ink and paper in my work. I’m interested in working with oils again, and might do so by the end of the year.

Kettle – Where did you find the inspiration for your most recent work?

Cheryl - The show “Forces of Nature” came about through conversations with all the participating artists. We knew we wanted to work on a central idea but didn’t want to be too strictly limited by the theme. Since everyone has some kind of relationship with the natural world, we thought it would be a good fit for our diverse group. For “One Accord”, the tree/man painting, I spent a lot of time examining trees and considering how they are necessary to our living planet. I wanted to illustrate an immediate, personal connection. For “Terrifying Heaven”, I wanted to draw attention to the idea of heaven as a brief moment of perfection, whether it be a flicker of light on a wave in the ocean or the brush of one knee against another during personal reflection. The “terrifying” part is the acknowledgement that all things are temporary, so pay attention. The text below the figure reads “a brief glimpse of terrifying heaven, in between wakefulness and sleep – at once enlightening and obliterating”.  For the other pieces, I credit my geologist boyfriend as inspiration. We spend a lot of time hiking, examining rocks and talking about the building blocks of the planet.

Kettle – Have you shown at Kettle Art in the past? When? What shows?

Cheryl - I’ve been fortunate to be included in two Love of Kettle shows, the Green Line show and Birds vs. Skulls and two Holiday Presence shows. They gave me space in their booth during the last Deep Ellum Art Walk, too.

Kettle – Why do you continue to show at Kettle? What is it about Kettle that keeps you coming back to display your work?

Cheryl - Kettle has been a great place for me, very open and inclusive, and has given me the moral support that every artist needs from time to time. I’d been to several openings there before I ever spoke to Frank, I was very shy.

Sediment

Acrylic on Canvas

Kettle – What most intrigues you about your latest show at Kettle Art? Why?

Cheryl - I find it very interesting to see work by six different artists, who happen to all be women, with their own interpretations of the natural theme. It’s great to see the differences in technique and subject matter. I feel that it is a very vibrant collection of work! Plus, I got to know the individual artists in a way that I wouldn’t have, otherwise.

Kettle – How did you approach the work you created for this exhibit?

Cheryl - It was important to me to do each piece with intent. I created work that holds meaning for me, in hopes that others will find meaning as well. To have something new, from my mind and hand, that someone else might find amusing, thought-provoking and appealing, is a gift given and received at the same time. No line or stroke was put into place without intent.

Kettle – What do you want viewers to take away from your work at this show?

Cheryl - I’d like for everyone to walk away feeling like they have found like-minded people and that the things they think about are not too strange to risk talking about.

Kettle – Is there a particular message you are trying to convey through your work?

Cheryl - Give thought to the world around you. Think about what you touch, about where it comes from, what it’s made of. Think about the world all the way down to the core. Appreciate that we are connected to the whole world.

Terrifying Heaven

Acrylic on Canvas

Kettle – What artists have influenced your life & work? Why?

Cheryl - I love work by Matisse, Chagall, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Man Ray, O’Keeffe, Miró and Juan Muñoz. Plus, lots of local artists like Misha Flores, Richard Ross, Mark Nelson and Cathey Miller. Also, totally blown away by the work of Hatziel Flores. I told him once, “You make me start to believe that one day, if I work really hard, I might be able to paint a human ear.”

Kettle – If you could collaborate with another artist (from the past or present), who would that be & why?

Cheryl – Man Ray. He was curious and inventive and there’s something sexy about that. A boyfriend once asked, complaining, “Why do girls always like Man Ray?” My guess is, he was willing to try new things and stood by his work even when it meant he stood alone. Girls like that kind of stuff.

Kettle – Describe yourself in 5 words.

Cheryl - Determined, Diplomatic, Honest, Observant, Capable.

Kettle – What 5 words would others use to describe you?

Cheryl - Nice, Friendly, Helpful, Reliable, Courageous.

Kettle – What is next for you creatively?

Cheryl - I’m interested in doing some portraits. I’ve done a couple but I’m not satisfied with them. I can do better.

“Forces of Nature” is currently showing at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum. The show runs through mid-July. Please come by and check out the work in person. You won’t be disappointed.

Over the next couple of weeks, Kettle Art will be bringing you interviews with the six artists that make up the current “Forces of Nature” line-up.

The spotlight of today’s post is focused squarely on Misha Flores.

Enjoy …

Misha Flores

www.mishaflores.com

Kettle – Please tell us a little about yourself (give a brief bio).

Misha - I was born in St. Louis, Mo., my father was from there and my mother’s from Mexico. I got to travel a lot as a kid because my dad worked with the airlines. I think that gave me a good sense of appreciation for other cultures and empathy for all walks of life. I love to learn, I’m always investigating how things work in the natural world, in the cosmos, in other cultures. It is most important to me to try to live mindfully, trying to appreciate the sacredness of each moment and living in awareness of the consequences of my actions. My pet causes would be environmental conservation, and human and animal rights. I have a husband and two big beautiful dogs. And I am excited that I just started teaching yoga this year!

Kettle – How long have you been pursuing the creative life?

Misha - Creativity was always encouraged in our home as a child so I’ve been doing something creative all my life, drawing and playing instruments as a kid, doing art, singing, theatre and dance through highschool and college.

Kettle – Do you have formal training, or are you self taught?

Misha - In 2006 I received a BFA in Painting with a minor in Photography.

 

Feeling Yourself Disintegrate

Acrylic on Canvas

Kettle – Could you please describe some of your latest work?

Misha - My work is really an expression of the spiritual revelations I encounter on my path, whether through my own meditation or through study of sacred texts–really both, since the things a seeker finds on their own are mirrored throughout time, in all parts of the globe. Truth is truth, and my work celebrates those universal truths that matter most.

Kettle – How did you decide on the medium with which you work?

Misha - I have a deep visceral response to paint that cannot be replaced by any other medium. When I see a painting at a museum that is truly masterfully crafted, and that has a human, emotional element to it, I just want to cry for sheer joy and awe. (And I have a few times. Kind of embarrassing I guess but what can you do; I think I’m lucky to be moved by art, so I’ll take that over stoic coolness any day.) I have really no choice but to paint. And acrylics are just so much quicker to dry than oils, that makes them a lot easier to work with. The quality of acrylics nowadays is so excellent, if you know what you’re doing it’s just as beautiful as oil.

Kettle – Where did you find the inspiration for your most recent work?

Misha - I have always had a mad love for nature, being an environmentalist and an animal lover. So when we came up with the idea for Forces of Nature, it was no stretch to shine a light on my relationship with nature. My inspiration is my own daily walks through the woods near my house, moments lying on the grass and feeling like a part of the Mother, the moments when I feel like I’m disintegrating into the huge natural system of which we are all a part, whether we acknowledge it or not. And my awe at this great system, at how we have all evolved together, us and every other animal and plant on this planet. Some Native Americans call all the creatures and plants All Our Relations. This is true in a very scientific sense. We all arose dependently with each other, and we all literally share some common DNA.

Kettle – Have you shown at Kettle Art in the past? When? What shows?

Misha - I’ve been a part of many group shows there over the last few years, but the show that I’m most proud of for my own part was a three-person show with Tyson Summers and Larey Carey, Impermanence. They were great to work with and their work was phenomenal.

Kettle – What most intrigues you about your latest show at Kettle Art? Why?

Misha - I love the differences in how each of the artists approached this subject. For Karla the Force of Nature was the inevitable force of death. For Julia it was more of an environmental/reduce reuse recycle and work with nature sort of statement, turning that into a metaphor for rebirth. Well I won’t go into all of the other artists, I guess you can read their answers for that! But I just really enjoyed everyone’s interpretations.

Kettle – How did you approach the work you created for this exhibit?

Misha - I have always loved figurative work, and I wanted to use the range of possibilities in the human figure. I used all body types and myriad poses from yoga and dance. Vivid color was also important. I didn’t bother too much with scale, and defenestrated gravity entirely.

All Our Relations

Acrylic on Canvas

Kettle – What do you want viewers to take away from your work at this show?

Misha - I used the playful elements I just mentioned to express the joy and wonder of our place in nature, of life spilling forth through the eons, of animals and plants and humans rising together with the forces of air, water, earth, moon and sun. May the viewer feel joy and gratitude when they look at these pieces.

Kettle – Is there a particular message you are trying to convey through your work?

Misha - The principle of interdependence–we cannot pretend that what we do to one part of the system doesn’t effect every other part. This is true in an environmental sense and in a spiritual sense, both. We really are all One, physically and spiritually. So we must know that we are important in this sense, our actions and emotions are important, they have the power to elevate or detract from the well-being of all our fellow beings.

Kettle – What artists have influenced your life & work? Why?

Misha - For their use of paint and their expressiveness I adore Bacon, Van Gogh, Munch, Ernst, Sheile. For his use of color and form Matisse. For her enthralling, innovative and disturbing use of the human form Louise Bourgeois. I could go on and on I’m sure, but the elements that I take away from all of them is that little something that makes me want to cry in the art museum. I think that’s the most important part of visual art–the human connection, the emotional charge, the way a loose brush stroke in a painting or a jagged edge in a sculpture can translate into a profound metaphor for what’s going on internally. It doesn’t have to be emotional in a sappy way, God forbid, then you end up in Thomas Kinkade territory. No, it’s saying so much with so little, the implications you have to be really open to receive. The agony you feel when you look at Bacon, that’s not achieved with dripping gore and camp, it’s all about a brush stroke, about what’s left out of the picture, the empty space–that is power.

Kettle – Describe yourself in 5 words.

Misha - Sincere. Dedicated. Hopeful. Happy. Imperfect.

Kettle – What 5 words would others use to describe you?

Misha - I really don’t know. My brain could skew that anywhere from complete loser adjectives to total goddess adjectives, that’s why I try not to concern myself about it too much!

Kettle – What is next for you creatively?

Misha - Well I am rather enjoying this subject, I’ll probably explore it a little while longer.

“Forces of Nature” is currently showing at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum. The show runs through mid-July. Please come by and check out the work in person. You won’t be disappointed.

The evening was spent celebrating six “Forces of Nature;” Cheryl Baker, Misha Flores, Karla Garcia, Corey Godfrey, Jennifer Gregory Portz & Julia Schloss.

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