Allison Kunath Art

FAQS

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about the artist

 
 

BASICS

- Born in Ventura, CA in 1987

- BFA, Graphic Design, Minnesota State University, Mankato 2009

- Commonly used materials: Watercolor + Acrylic (studio), Exterior Latex (murals)

 
 
 

motives

 

why did you begin making art?

I started making art as a child, thanks to my mother. We always had supplies available, and I was encouraged to play using my creativity. .

What inspires you?

The short answer - connection. I find most of my inspiration in the people around me, and my relationships (both to myself, and others). I'm inspired by the process of understanding myself and finding ways to be as fully expressed as possible. It's all in the name of more meaningful connections. Starting with my relationship to myself, I'm practicing honesty, clear communication and compassion. The deeper my art takes me in my self work, the easier it is for me to go there with other people. Being a part of a self aware world, that is liberated and connected keeps me going. 

What determines the various styles of yourwork?

While my visual vocabulary can sometimes shift based on where I am in the world, the largest factor that influences my work is where I am in my life. Self-reflection has been my main source of inspiration over the years. Often times, my reflections bring me deeper clarity on my relationships, both with myself and with the people closest to me. I love finding new shapes, tones and textures to share the abstract experience of introspection and meditation that can often be hard to describe using words.

What feelings + emotions DO you want to evoke in people when they look at your art?

I'd love to move people to a state of stillness and quietness while they observe my work. Similar to the state I'm in when I'm working. I'm more interested in bringing people to the doorway of their own unique feelings than I am in trying to manufacture an certain set of feelings for them.

What Is the meaning of your work / why do you make it?

The reason I make my work is 2 fold: one part exploratory (of my own process and understanding of self) and one part in hopes that it will encourage others to spend more time on their own self awareness.

I make work as a tool in my personal journey. As I become more aware of the ways my brain and heart work, I look for opportunities to grow - getting rid of the tendencies that I've inherited or learned that are not helpful, and replacing them with choices that lead to richer experiences and connections. As I understand myself better, I understand others better. The reason for my work is part exploratory, and part encouraging of others to do the same so that we all may enjoy clearer communication, richer interactions and a more connected world.

What world issues are you personally affected by? How do your beliefs and views influence your art?

I think we're all affected by every issue in our world. But the bits that touch me most directly are that of women's rights, gender roles, and the redefinition of relationship. I paint the things that swirl in my head most commonly, so I use the work as a place to make sense of ideas I have, or illustrate experiences I've had.

Why did you switch styles?

I spent the first 5 years of my career as an artist working mainly in one style. That specificity was such an important part of my creative journey that I became really attached to it. My attachment made it difficult to be honest about my motivations. It got tricky to discern if I was doing it because I loved the work, or because I loved the response to the work. Eventually it became clear that my ego had taken over making me overly concerned with how others would feel about the work. I knew it was time to reorient my compass, and take the focus from external to internal.

favorite artists?

Agnes Martin, Cy Twombly, Keith Haring

 

process

 

How would you describe your creative process?

My process used to be very much about saying something. Using my work to provide an answer. But I've taken a distinct turn towards art making as inquiry. I get more out of the process when it's about asking a question and letting the work reveal something interesting vs. imposing my will upon it. My work is often a response to meditation, and a meditative act itself. When it's really working, I'm striking a perfect balance between commitment (clear choices) and surrender (pure intuition.)

Are there any brainstorming exercises that you practice when coming up with concepts?

When I sit down to specifically prepare to work (or brainstorm) it's typically not in search of a concept. In fact, it's usually the opposite - instead of looking for something clear to make, I try to empty my brain as much as possible so the marks come out free and uninhibited by ideas of what it is that I'm trying to make. However, my work orbits a couple main themes, so sometimes I'll catch a clear vision of something representational that I want to explore. That usually comes after I've been doing a lot of writing or thinking about a particular topic - so journaling and meditation play a big role in idea generation for me.

How do you overcome mental blocks?

I love writing as a tool to get through creative resistance. For me, I can almost always link a mental block to a fear that I am carrying. The fear is usually buried pretty deep, so it can take a bit of work to unearth it. But once I've found it, I can debunk it, move it aside, and get back to work.

What does it mean to you to be creative?  How big a part of your life is it?

To be creative is our truest essence. To be human is to be creative. The mere act of breathing is creating life within us, and every moment of our day is in one way or another, creating something - if nothing more than our current experience. To me - it is everything. The practice of being creative as it relates to art, is the best way for me to practice creating every other element of my reality. The most valuable playground for shaping the life I wish to lead.

Describe the role travel plays in your work

I started to incorporate travel into my creative process as a tool to shift into a new series when I'm feeling a bit stuck. I find that traveling to a new place gives me the permission to embody different elements of myself that I really like, and want to practice accentuating. There's something really liberating about being surrounded by strangers, and able to be whatever version of yourself that you choose, without the expectations of people who already know you keeping you fixed in a static expression. The same thing applies to my work. A new environment always helps me loosen up, ditch expectations I have of myself as an artist, and experiment more freely. 

favorite supplies and materials?

Paper: Arches Watercolor Paper 300gsm (rough or cold pressed)

Paints: Golden Acrylics / Van Gogh Watercolors

Pens: Micron by Sakura 

 

 

ADvice

 

What advice would you give yourself as a younger artist?

Make a lot of work. Make as many mistakes as you can. And forget about trying to make 'good' art - aim for experimental, different, and honest. Tell the truth in your own language instead of trying to master someone else's.

advice for aspiring artists

Etsy is an amazing community, and a great place to start selling your work. In the beginning it's the perfect place to direct interested customers before you've set up a fully functioning e-commerce website. When you're got a body of work that you're proud of, build yourself a portfolio on Squarespace (or similar platform).

Embrace Instagram. Treat it like a scrapbook of your process, and the most up to date version of your portfolio. It's admittedly harder and harder to capitalize on thanks to their updated algorithms, but don't let it discourage you. It's still a great way to gain exposure, meet potential collectors and an essential tool for the emerging artist. 

Write about your process as much as you can. Write about what you want to communicate. How you want people to feel when they experience your work. Where you want your work to live long term. Find your purpose as an artist. What is driving you? What is your core message? It's okay if the question is intimidating at first - but it's an important one to answer because you'll need a strong north star to keep you on course when you get distracted, or hit rough patches that make you want to slow down or quit. 

Most importantly - make a lot of art. Plain and simple. Try new things. Get bold. Follow what pulls and excites you. If something scares you, that's probably worth exploring too. Ignore what you think good art is supposed to look like. Find what your voice looks like, your truth, and make work that feels more and more honest to the authentic you. Increase your prices incrementally as you sell more. Remember that art creates real cultural value and should be paid for, but you first have to value yourself. When you get stuck, ask yourself what you're afraid to say that's keeping you from just diving in. If you don't own it already, call yourself an artist. Be grateful, generally - but especially for being privileged enough to walk the artist path at all. Talk about your work, a lot. And be nice to people. 

Art shapes culture, and we're in desperate need of passionate voices. This path ius not for the faint of heart - but if you're committed to it, there's really no other life that will make you happy... so go for it. All the way. It is possible