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Check out Katherine Kean’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katherine Kean.

Katherine, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I learned a deep respect for Nature growing up. I was lucky to live and play in woods and fields in my youth. Moving and traveling around the United States – many family road trips – have contributed to my vision, as have journeys to eastern Africa, Mexico, Scotland, France and painting jaunts all over California. I was born in West Virginia, and moved later to Ohio and then New Jersey, but I grew up mainly in Massachusetts. I attended Rhode Island School of Design, graduating with a BFA in Film, Video, and Animation. I moved to Los Angeles to work as an animator, worked as an independent contractor, and then started a Visual Effect company with John Van Vliet where we worked on films such as Willow and Ghost and often hosted art exhibitions in our company’s studio space. About the time that hand-drawn Visual Effects gave way to the digital world, my role as part-time gallerist gave way to full-time painting.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
As a painter, I look for those moments in Nature that take my breath away: gathering clouds, storms, volcanos, and light-bending atmospheric conditions; times when the elements of the landscape combined with the fluidity of memory and imagination to illuminate the world of heightened mood and sensation – the feeling of awe.

I paint in oil or watercolor working directly from Nature as well as from my own reference sketches and photographs, sometimes combining and rearranging elements from different locations into a new composition.

In our increasingly urban, densely populated world, access to wild Nature becomes more and more rare, and our emotional attachment and concrete, intimate knowledge of Nature is in danger of being lost. Nature and animals are often perceived as commodities, even as their exploitation contributes to climate change. Meanwhile, normal cycles and processes rather than being accepted as natural, seem to cause many people to feel fear or distress.

My paintings seek to stir wonder and excitement for the transformative impacts of weather, wildlife, and natural phenomena while revealing the serene center that can exist in the middle of Nature’s turbulence. I hope that re-connecting to the idea of Nature may be a step forward in realizing and healing the imbalances and misuses of our relationship with our natural world.

The stereotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
Things I might suggest include living frugally to save money, then learn to invest it so that you can live on the dividends. Make whatever financial resources you have work for you. Before I found work in animation, I had a range of various jobs, many of them at the same time. I became the manager of the apartment building I lived in allowing me to live rent-free. I managed vending machines, worked in bookstores, a movie theater, a publishing house and I did window design,

For some artists, it helps to get a job doing something that relates to their artwork. It might help build connections or keep your art-making skills up to par. For others it works better to support your art career with a job that has nothing to do with art, that way saving all your creative energy for your art making.

Except for a lucky few, most artists work at other jobs and make art in their spare time. A surprising amount of art can be made in that time, so don’t give up.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I have work available by subscription or for sale through Why Not Art in Pasadena. In Palm Desert, my paintings are available through the Izen-Miller Gallery. I have some small paintings at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga and the Chilao Visitor Center in the Angeles National Forest. I always have work available online on my website at Katherine Kean Fine Art and on 1stdibs.

To support my work come and see my exhibitions and open studio events. Please sign up for my newsletter to be kept informed of my latest artwork and opportunities to see my work.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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