Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kara Hendershot - Painter

Kara Hendershot
Kara Hendershot is a painter who resides in Lowertown St. Paul, at the Northern Warehouse Artists’ Co-op. Her paintings explore the relationship between people and their surroundings. Her work is influenced by both personal and universal experiences, as well as observations of people, places, and societal issues.

Contact info:
Kara Hendershot

acrylic, enamel, oil, ink on canvas, 22" x 36"

What are you currently working on?
I am continuing with collaboration projects with other artists, as well as my own individual work. Currently, I am creating a new body of work for a show that I just booked, which will be my first out-of-state solo exhibit scheduled to take place in Richmond, VA this fall. The details are still being worked out, and I have applied for a project grant and seeking other funding opportunities to help cover the shipping costs for the show. The big challenge will be to seek enough funding and figure out how I am going to get the work out to Virginia, but I am very excited about creating fresh work to be taken to new regions.

In terms of collaborative work:
Happy Accidents, (http://www.mnartists.org/happy_accidents) my humorous project with artist Summer Scharringhausen, is still going strong. We recently had the artwork featured on large digital billboards in five cities across the U.S. as part of the Billboard Art Project. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/billboardartproject/6492589979/in/set-72157628372321281/ ) It was a great opportunity since the original painting is an ongoing process in which it is continuously being painted over and over on the same original surface; all the past versions of the piece exist only in memory and in our documentation through digital photos. So it was pretty cool to be able to present those images of the previous versions that no longer exist as paintings.

I am also starting on new collaboration pieces with my father, a photographer, in continuation of a project that began a few years ago. We held an exhibit at Stevens Square Center for the Arts last June featuring a whole series of our mixed media collaborations, and new pieces will be featured in a group exhibit booked for this summer in Illinois.

As Days Pass
Acrylic, oil, ink on canvas, 60” x 48”

You are on the boards of the Altered Esthetics gallery and the Northern Warehouse Artist Co-op. You evidently still have time to create art. What benefits have you found from being as active as you are in the art community?
I have benefitted both professionally and personally. I have learned many skills in marketing, networking, and promoting. I have learned the discipline and organization that it takes to be a professional artist. I have also had the privilege of meeting and working with so many creative, inspiring, open-minded, hard-working people. I am very proud to be a part of such a great artistic community here in the Twin Cities.

By being so involved in the community, I feel more connected to what I am doing as an artist overall, rather than merely being stuffed up in a studio by myself. It’s always beneficial and healthier to be a part of something that is bigger than your self.

acrylic and oil on multiple canvases, 70” x 60”

The building where you live is an artist co-op. What role does this play in your art and creativity?
• It is very important for me to live in an arts community where people respect each other and care about what they’re doing, and have an interest in each other. I feel valued here, and that’s very encouraging for the production of my work. It’s inspiring to me when I see new projects that my neighbors and co-op members are working on, and inspiration from other artists is very important for creativity.
We also have open studio events –
Art Crawl and Lowertown First Fridays - which is a guaranteed solo exhibit in my own studio, in case I’m not exhibiting in a gallery at the given time. It’s good to have these events so that I have deadlines to keep producing fresh work!

Parallel Revisiting

Parallel (left) silver gelatin print & acrylic, oil, enamel, ink on canvas 40” x 58”
Revisiting (right) silver gelatin print & acrylic, graphite on wood 16” x 20”
Mixed media collaboration works by Kara and her father Joe, a photographer

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?
• I live in an artist co-op, where the spaces are live/work lofts – large enough to accommodate a studio setting as well as a home. My space is where I eat, sleep, paint, and dream. I love working late into the night, when it feels like the rest of the world is asleep, because that is when I feel the most awake.
I may not always be painting, but the wheels are always turning - I’m always observing, sketching things in my head, absorbing information so that I can later let it all explode on the canvas. The starting stages of my painting process are raw, intuitive, and unpredictable. I begin very abstract, just letting things kind of happen within the painting. I’m constantly changing my mind as I’m working on a piece. I like not having complete control because it’s more energizing and less inhibiting. There is something very magical about the creative process, especially when you really learn to let go. Sometimes it isn’t until the final layers of the painting that I begin to know what the piece will really look like, or what it is that I want it to say. Then I apply more detail and steer it a little, but I like to leave parts of it unspoken. I like for the viewer to be able to have their own dialog with the piece, without me telling them what they should be thinking. It’s part of the mystery of a painting.

Installation painting for Cult Status Gallery’s Equinox show
approx. 120” x 100”

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
• Stay true to your own unique expression. Don’t change your style or technique because you think it will sell more or appeal to more people, because people will sense that you are not being genuine. People want to see what is ‘you’.

acrylic and oil on canvas, 40” x 36”

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?
• Not fair, there are too many! So many awesome artists in the Twin Cities. Well, here some artists who I have had the pleasure of working with or collaborating with, and I enjoy both their work and their commitment to the arts scene:
Erin Sayer (http://www.erinsayer.com),
JM Culver (http://www.jmculver.com),
Gina Louise (http://www.divergentlayers.com),
Todd Peterson (http://www.toddsartsite.com),
Louisa Greenstock (http://www.louisagreenstock.com),
Rhea Pappas (http://www.rheapappas.com),
Daniel Choma (http://faithisanactofanarchy.com),
Toneski Love (http://www.toneski.com),
and I could easily list a LOT more.

acrylic, graphite, oil on panel, 8” x 10”

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
• I love Northeast Minneapolis and all the artist buildings and studios. We would probably spend half an afternoon there, visiting studios and local galleries. Then I would want to visit some galleries that I have wanted to go to, but have not made it there yet:
Tarnish and Gold.

What was the last local exhibit you saw and what were your impressions?
• I was at the Ae Presents: Hitchcock exhibit this past weekend at
Altered Esthetics (artwork inspired by Alfred Hitchcock). It was really great to see the different ways that artists took to the topic. A topic like this forces artists to push the boundaries a little more with their style and imagery. I like to see artists do something different, something that they might not normally do.

Under the Thinking Tree
mixed media on wood, 24” x 20”

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
Mnartists.org and Springboard for the Arts are good for local open call listings or work opportunities. For events and galleries, mplsart.com or l'Ă©toile or NE Minneapolis Arts District. I also like to check out gallery sites in other cities, just to see the kinds of art and types of shows that are going on elsewhere.

Do you have any upcoming events we should know about?

I am pretty busy trying to accomplish my goal of getting my work outside of Minnesota, but I do have a couple local events coming up. I will be opening my studio for the spring 2012 St. Paul Art Crawl, April 27-29, a self guided tour of artists' studios in Lowertown and downtown St. Paul.(http://www.artcrawl.org) I have been participating in the event since 2004, both exhibiting as well as helping to organize the event for the Northern Warehouse. 
(http://www.nwacartists.com) It is a tremendous amount of work to put on the event, resulting in very long hours and many sleep deprived nights, but I love it. I like being involved 'behind the scenes' and the event itself is such a great opportunity. I get to share my work and current projects, and meet new people as well as stay in touch with the people who have been following my work for the last few years, who continue to visit my studio and support me each Art Crawl.

At the end of May, I will be exhibiting work in the Cult Sisters group show at Cult Status Gallery (http://www.cultstatusgallery.com) in Minneapolis along with very talented fellow female artists: Erin Sayer, J. M. Culver, Rhea Pappas, Louisa Greenstock, Amina Harper, Gina Louise.

Dreaming Tall Dreams & You and Me In the Big Wide World
small mixed media pieces, 4” x 14” & 11” x 14”

1 comment:

brandon kuehn said...

Kara's work dances back and forth somewhere between narrative and figuration and then quickly dissolving into abstract colors and patterns that evoke a more surreal dreamlike quality, moving back and forth from these seemingly disparate modalities gives the images their unique flavor and really brings the viewer inside the artist's mind.