We are excited to present the latest solo show by Kurtis Rykovich at the gallery this month. We've always big fans of artists with vast imaginations and Kurtis' artistry knows no bounds. His beautiful "creatures" are full of dangerous allure and intrigue. Utilizing a bold color palette and with a skillful hand, the artist portrays graceful and captivating subjects who embody both darkness and light. With a vibrant intensity, they encourage the viewer to let the extraordinary surroundings take over and encounter these beautiful, yet dangerous worlds.
ME: What was your inspiration for Reverie and how did you select your subject matter?
KR: It took me a long time to settle on "reverie". There were so many ways I wanted to go for the show. I had done many sketches and I loved the ones that depicted eerie sirens and mythical creatures that it seemed only natural to make them into paintings. I loved how they resemble dreams that are beautiful but not quite right, glimpses of hidden agendas behind visions that draw you in.
ME: Your beautiful muses have accompanying animal "spirits". What is the symbolism there?
KR: Oh yes, a lot of times you cannot have one without the other. I love to play with the relationship between these creatures and their animals. I feel that in every relationship there is always one side that is more influential than the other. These animal spirits and their muses blur that line so you can never really tell who influences who, or who calls the shots.
ME: What is your artistic process? Take us on a journey from concept to final piece.
KR: This process is a lot of times very challenging for me. Many people just assume that painting is such an ease and relaxing. For me it can be the opposite, I love painting beauty but I always love to include some flaws or malice and planning this out without distracting from the allure of it all can sometimes be a challenge. Each piece starts as a thought in my head, then I sketch directly on the wood, sometimes erasing and starting over many times. I usually do not sketch in a sketch book first just because I always feel like I lose that burst of energy on that sketchbook piece and it never feels the same when I try to reproduce it on the panel. Then I start laying down the colors . Completing a piece has always been the simplest part for me, perhaps because towards the end it becomes obvious which aspects are starting to take control within the piece.
ME: What is your greatest challenge as an artist? What is one of your greatest accomplishments?
KR: One of my greatest challenges is fighting with myself. I always feel that I need to push harder and for a long time I felt that I needed to be very different as an artist to appeal to what is expected. My greatest accomplishment is realizing that I can never be someone else but I can continue to progress and strive to be the best at being me.
ME: What artists inspire you?
KR: I love so many contemporary artists but there are a few in particular that pop into my head that keep me going. Lori Earley (Below) is one of the ones that climbs the list, I remember seeing her pieces when I was in college and they were mesmerizing, the technique seemed flawless and I love her take on beauty and the oddness that may accompany it. I also love most classic animation and find inspiration in their lessons and portrayals of good and evil. It will always be something I am drawn to no matter how old I get.
ME: What’s your daily life like? What are some things you do when you’re not painting / making art?
KR: Well, I wake up walk my dogs then make some coffee then start painting. This is most days but when I am not painting I try to free my mind and try not think to much , but it always creeps up on me. I really love going to antique and used stores in search inspiration. My partner Michael is great at getting me out of the house he has always been a big push in my career as an artist , he makes it a point to get me to take a break and not stress much.
Reverie debuts of July 11, 2015 at Modern Eden Gallery.
Aunia Kahn is a multi-faceted creative entrepreneur and a globally awarded, collected, and exhibited figurative artist/photographer, published author, instructor, and inspirational speaker. We asked Aunia a few questions for her artist of the day feature at the gallery.
Since childhood my family inspired me to embark on various creative journeys such as music, poetry, and theater, which are hereditary to the creative approaches I use in my artwork today. From a young age I wrote and performed songs and poetry, as well as acted in a local theater with my whole family. When I came to the US to study art, I joined the school called Safehouse Atelier, which focused on traditional academic drawing and painting, as well as digital concept art.
On February 12, we opened Secret Hallway the highly anticipated solo exhibition from Oakland-based artist Nadezda. Focusing on narratives carefully gathered from the hidden chambers of her imagination and transformed into dreamscapes, her multifaceted artworks are the intimate windows into the inner world of her peculiar characters and creatures.