Friday, March 6, 2015

Artist Interview: Colleen Kinsella.

Today's Artist Interview is with Colleen Kinsella of kinsellaart on Etsy.  Her lovely and unique printmaking prints are a delight.  Here she answers a few questions about her life and work.

1. Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?

Drawing was my first creative outlet. As a child I drew for enjoyment, as therapy and to challenge myself. In grade school I spent most of art classes drawing things for other kids. I left drawing for a while when I was in college to study photography, but printmaking classes brought me back to it.

Plum Clouds Night Dancers.

2.  What style of art is your favorite and why?

My favorite style of art?  My taste in art is all over the place, from Heironymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly delights to old Mad Magazines. I respond strongly to art that combines processes.  With visual art, literature and music, anything immediate, fierce, honest and well crafted is exciting. I don’t have a genre that I go to. I seek out work that reveals itself over time with depth and emotion.  I am a printmaker so I am biased towards all things Print, from Xeroxes to lithographs.  I enjoy the Surrealists, especially Remedios Varo and I love the printmaking heavyweights like Warhol, Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Nancy Spero.  I love reading science fiction especially through the visionary eyes of Brunner, Le Guin, Dick and Octavia Butler.

Dark Blue Ship in Distress.

3.  What do you use for inspiration, or how do you generate ideas?

I love to become absorbed in the process of making & experimenting. Music is a constant inspiration. Whatever book I am reading or record I am listening to greatly affects my work.

I have a steady nightly practice of going into my studio and doing work.

This can mean drawing on a copper plate or quilting or sorting through prints. Every night I arrive at my desk and do something. Having that space and time to create every night is inspiring. Where my ideas come from is a murky unknown. I work intuitively making images almost out of the corner of my eye. The things that come out are sometimes a surprise to me. I have borrowed from all kinds of work, the science fiction I read, artists like Lynda Barry and Kiki Smith. 

Horse Drawing.

4.  Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.

I wish I could walk you through but my process isn’t linear. I usually have many things going on at once. For example right now I am working on a comic tentatively titled Girlsworld done entirely with printed etchings. I am halfway through hand-quilting a queen size quilt made from my screen printed fabrics. I am emailing out a call for submissions to a collaborative platform for addressing social injustice towards women and children.
It takes me a long time to consider a piece finished—years in some cases.
Every now and then I’ll get lucky and an idea or print will come off the press as finished.

Hot Heads II (Detail).

5.  What is a typical day in your life?

Get up early, Coffee + Coffee, get Quinn to school on time, talk with Caleb, go to work, pick up Quinn from school, come home, talk with Caleb, Nap if possible. Make dinner as a family, do homework, bath and bedtime for Quinn. After Quinn is asleep I begin my night and I don’t stop until the wee hours. Wind down with some Agatha Christie and wake up and do it all over again.

Etching Moon Yachts.

6.  What do you think draws you to other people's work?

I am drawn to work that is politically conscious, aesthetically beautiful, rich and varied in mark-making and meaning. I like art that tells a story or many stories. Art that takes time to digest. I feel the same about books and music. 

Aqua Winged Butterfly Bardot.

7. What are your interests/hobbies?

Right now I am looking at Sister Corita Kent and the quilts of Gee’s Bend.  For books I am reading James Baldwin & Octavia Butler.  For music I am listening to The Julie Ruin, Ras Michael and Buffy St. Marie.  I love playing music with my friends in our band Big Blood.  Hanging with my daughter and Caleb.  I am currently trying to learn all of Erik Staie’s Gnossiennes.

Purple Haze Night Dancers.

8. Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?

I am committed to working at my art full time but it is not my primary financial support. I work and teach at Maine College of Art. I have always had a job in addition to my studio practice. It takes the pressure off making things with the intent to sell.

Print of Laura B.

9. What is your favorite piece you've ever made and why?

My favorite print series is The Garden from 2008 and a quilt I made for Quinnisa’s bed. But my favorite piece is usually whatever I am working on now—which is the Girlsworld etchings and a quilt for our bed made from table runners and cloths I screen printed for our wedding.

Her Workspace.

10. What advice would you give to an artist just starting out in the business world?

Understand how to do your own taxes.

Prioritize time to be creative. Trying to make money solely from your art is difficult and can take you away from the best aspects of making. Success for me is being able to continue making new work.

Take risks with your work but be disciplined and realistic in your practice. 

"The Shack."

11. Describe your work space.

I have a few work spaces. Our kitchen table is where my husband and I screen print all our tapes cds & records for our label dontrustheruin records. We package and send out from our house and sell through During the winter my work space is within my house where I do sewing, quilting, and drawing.  In the Spring/Summer I work/print in a studio across from the house known as the Shack. It is currently blocked by huge snow drifts. Inside there is an etching press, screen print station and bay window for reading or thinking/staring off into space.  My third space is the printshop at Maine College of Art where I work and teach.

Studio Shots.

12. Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?

Of course! Self doubt, money, work, lack of space & time just to name a few.  But I’ve always had a need to make work --for myself.  I want to be creative. I love to have art, music and beauty around me or I feel terrible.  Since my daughter’s birth I have become even more territorial of my studio time. I can’t make work when she’s awake so I have the night time reserved for the studio.

Inspiration board, and "The Shack" blocked in winter by a snow drift.

13. What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right now?

I want to publish a book of the Garden series.  I want to set my Girlsworld comic to sound and music.  I want to make music videos for Big Blood using my prints.  I want to be a good mom and an aware person in the world.  I want war to be over everywhere.  I want us all to take part in healing the wounds of racism and prejudice throughout our country.  I want to learn all of Satie’s Gnossiennes by heart.

You can also find Colleen here:


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