How did you get started doing what you do?
I wanted to play piano and sing for as long as I can remember, and I never really thought about becoming a visual artist despite feeling like a maker from early childhood. When I moved to NYC in my early 20s I began to take art classes at the New School and discovered expressionistic use of color and human anatomical figure drawing. I was totally hooked. I was living innate the heart of one of the cultural capitals of the world, and I quickly immersed myself in museum and gallery viewing, I rented an art studio in Williamsburg and began to draw and paint in every spare moment. I was studying with Avron Soyer at the time, and he gave me this wonderful entry into the tribe of being an artist as he told me, “welcome, you have arrived.” This had such an impact of reassurance that I had found my life’s passion, and I’ve been working ever since.
How would you describe your creative style?
My creative style is deep internal/external space exploration meets topographical geometric interventionism.
“My creative style is deep internal/external space exploration meets topographical geometric interventionism.”
What’s your inspiration?
I like to feed on life, to be inspired by the many different interests that I like to float between. Playing music, reading, being in nature, food & cooking and writing are constants in my life. I believe that a full and well-rounded life feeds and nourishes me and helps me to stay centered in the place I want to make work from. Work that is grounded in living and not just the dialogue in my head.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
I work in series, and I often work on several pieces at the same time. I can spend anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Sometimes I need to hang the original “pour” up on the wall for several days or more before I find a place to begin working. Part of my process is looking and absorbing the feeling of the color and the form. Once I start working, I look for a place of equilibrium between the organic form and geometric constructions. That’s the point at which I know it’s complete, it’s achieved the balance.
“Once I start working, I look for a place of equilibrium between the organic form and geometric constructions. That’s the point at which I know it’s complete, it’s achieved the balance.”
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I want to create work that is playful: work that enlivens public and private spaces. I want to make work that is an amalgam of all my life experiences and influences, yet uniquely my own vision.
What do you want others to take away from your work?
I want others to see my art and feel that art can engage and challenge your perceptions and senses but also make you feel good, excited and happy.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Create your own context. This has been the single best piece of advice that has caused me to continue to think outside of the box while keeping my own vision at the center of my work, and not trying to fit my vision into someone else’s.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
It’s not for the faint of heart. Connect to your deepest self and make work from that place. The human experience is universal and work that comes from this place has the greatest capacity for connection and meaning.
“It’s not for the faint of heart. Connect to your deepest self and make work from that place. The human experience is universal and work that comes from this place has the greatest capacity for connection and meaning.”
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I am working on the funding for a multi-city public art project based on the concept of an artwork as a portal and connector to the diversity of varied communities across our country. Artworks as social spaces, dialogue creators, and community anchors.
What art supplies do you use?
I work with water-based media that has high-flow capability like watercolor, ink, and high-flow acrylics. I work with oil-based markers, graphite, and sharpies, and I am newly working with spray paint and stencils. I am interested in materials that have different surface qualities from matte or glossy to metallic or somewhere in between. I work on nontraditional, paper-like surfaces such as yupo, duralar, acetate and tyvek. My best friend is my compass and ruler collection.
What’s your process like?
My work is based on improvisation. I work on nonporous surfaces that I paint with water to create organic, fluid forms. I float watercolor, ink and high-flow acrylic into the surface of the water and into each other to cause interactions of materials and pigment that create granulation, striated edges, and floating islands of color. As this dries and evaporates, everything settles and the form emerges. This is my beginning point. I’ve created a form/situation in which to interact and riff off of which I then look for an entry point into the form to begin to assert order in the form of line, geometry, and pattern.
How could the art industry become better in your opinion?
I think the art industry has lost sight of human interaction and the sharing of ourselves and real ideas and thought with each other. I think the priorities need to shift away from multi-million dollar works that get locked from public view for years on end and the huge money making engine that it has become, back to art as the sharing of human experience and connectivity. I think that artists making work from this place instead of a money-driven place and organizations that support this type of work would be a powerful tool to harness human capacity across many different disciplines for human and social good.
Kim Carlino on Facebook (@kim.nestorcarlino) as well as Instagram (@kimcarlinoart.)
Jung Katz can be found via these avenues as well. Follow us to discover new artists and to stay inspired.