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Meet Barbara Kolo of Barbara Kolo Fine Art

Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbara Kolo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Barbara. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My story starts in the borough of Queens in New York City, where I was born in a middle-class family. Art was an interest at an early age. My Aunt, a former fashion illustrator would set up the kitchen table in her Brooklyn apartment with art supplies and draw with me and my older sister. My sister and some of her friends had an interest in art too. All influenced me and lead me to the High School of Art and Design. Then, I received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts.

My first career was an art director for films and television advertising. I did very well, worked hard and won many awards.  It is this career that eventually brought me to Los Angeles, where I art directed and designed movie posters with most of the major film studios. When I became Director of Print Advertising for Universal Studios, I realized I came a long way from my humble beginnings in Queens.

My early passion for art never diminished. I always looked at what was showing in galleries and drew when I had time. Eventually, I started to developed a body of work. Then, I started to show my paintings. It took about 5 years to completely change my career in fine art.

My pointillist paintings are inspired by nature. I am interested in patterns and shapes that I see repeated in nature on a large scale and small scale known as fractal design. For instance, from a distance, my work might look like a large abstract landscape, but up close it is thousand of “dots” or points of light making up the image. The fractal design of nature is a powerful and intriguing thing. It calms the brain and it is that same feeling that many people experience when viewing my work.

My painting “Manifestation II” is a good example of what I just described. It is currently in a group exhibition called “Apocrypha” at the Los Angeles Art Association, Gallery 825 until July 20th.

Has it been a smooth road?
I have had many challenges. My father died a few days after my 13th birthday. This profoundly changed my life and is the main reason I chose to start out in a commercial art career. I knew I had to support myself despite the disappointment of several of my professors at the School of Visual Arts.

Also, I am fundamentally a shy person who has chosen to work in careers where an outgoing personality is an asset. This is something I work on all the time. I will never completely change, but I have developed skills that have helped. Being a successful fine artist is not only about working in the studio. It’s going to the opening receptions of exhibitions, meeting other artists plus art dealers and being part of the art community.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am known for my unique pointillist style that is a result of having observed how Post Impressionist, Aboriginal and Asian artists use dots or dot patterns. My paintings are very labor intensive. People often ask about my work process and I get the feeling they expect to hear that I have a fast method of applying all those dots. I don’t, they are painted by hand one at a time. My 13 foot painting “Diaphanous” took a year to complete before it was shipped to Naples, Italy for the exhibition “Ambiguous Reality at Art 1307 last November.

I am very proud of the fact that my paintings and works on paper have shown on across the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Australia and the UAE.

Art fairs remain the best way to learn about the latest developments in the art world, and my work has been represented at many such as Art. Fair in Cologne, Germany, Art Toronto in Canada, Context Art Miami, the Houston Fine Art Fair, ArtHamptons and Art Southampton in Bridgehampton, NY and locally in the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair and LA Art Show.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
More and more recent graduates of art schools are moving to Los Angeles. Rents are rising in New York and it is harder and harder for artists to live there as well as other large cities. Los Angeles is more affordable and the good weather benefits artists working in alternative spaces.

There are more blue-chip galleries moving here and the art scene, in general, is on an upswing. I am hoping and remain optimistic that the local collectors, galleries and museums will support local artists. That is the only way the art community can continue to grow at this pace. Artists need opportunity and sales in order to stay in Los Angeles.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
John Hogg

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