IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Kenny Harris

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #45: Kenny Harris- Part 2

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
Ideal? An overcast day in an ancient interior with tall windows and interesting shapes. In Europe. With a cafe downstairs. And etherial music drifting through the plaster passages. That would be ideal.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
Two strong coffees, they help me get motivated. Ever since living in Italy I associate coffee with art. I’m afraid I’m stuck with it. Sometimes I’ll listen to NPR but that gets pretty depressing these days. Podcasts are preferable. Electronic music can keep me floating along too.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I work in oils, alternating between panel and canvas depending on my current investigations. I usually have several paintings going at once, but at some point I’ll focus in to finish individual works as the last push often takes a lot of effort.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Well, travel is very important, so my wife Judy and I do that a lot—gathering inspiration. I like to play beach volleyball in Venice and Santa Monica, and jump in the ocean when I can!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
My method is to work up compositions from studies and sketches based on observation and photography. The tradition of doing oil sketches is something I have always loved, and I’m enthralled when I look at small Tiepolo or Rubens oil sketches—visual thinking playing out in front of your eyes. So, I use this in my work to figure out my path forward.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
The small still lives are part of an ongoing series of still lives playing with local color to set off the objects, bringing a graphic formality to picture plane. I love the reflective quality of spaces, and I’m bringing that into these objects, playing up the ambiguity between the object and background. The large cityscape is a slight departure for me in two ways: One, I’m embracing the panoramic qualities of the iPhone—not hiding the fascinating distortion that is a telltale artifact of the ‘Panorama’ setting. Two, I’ve begun playing with wiping and squeegeeing paint to emulate atmospheric conditions, like rain. I am enjoying this investigation very much.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Kenny Harris”

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #19: Kenny Harris

Harris

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

For me the conditions are very important- so I waited till the right conditions were present and I found a cup and painted it in a sitting.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

Yes, full time. I teach art as well at Laguna College of Art + Design

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I think when I moved to LA from New York with the intent of being an artist- Leaving behind a graphics career.

4. What are your influences?

Old European painting and certain modernist movements- Vermeer + Diebenkorn. Velazquez + Morandi.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My current studio is a bedroom in my house—2 north facing windows plus a large fluorescent fixture to augment the natural light. It works well for studio work, but I like painting from life else where: “in the field”, ie on location wherever!

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I listen to music and radio a lot. Day usually starts with NPR, then some mid tempo music, then I like a certain type of high energy bass music to keep my brain agile and moving.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Oil on panel, or oil primed canvas/linen. I work on lots at a time. Many small studies, a few larger works in progress.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Nothing too special—I use a lot of palette knife. I’ll use long handled brushes sometimes. Recently I started doing some portraits on plexiglass.. not sure where that’s going but we’ll see!

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

Well, travel is very important, so my wife Judy and I do that a lot—gathering inspiration. I like to play beach volleyball in Venice and Santa Monica, and jump in the ocean when I can!

“White Cup on Green Wall”, 2015, oil on panel, 8 x 6″