A VISIT WITH ANDREA KEMP AT HER STUDIO IN GOLDEN, CO
Text by Bonnie Gangelhoff, Photos by Marc Piscotty
Describe your studio. The studio’s north face is almost entirely made up of French doors and windows that give me as much light as possible. The studio has a slight pitch in the ceiling and has tall, 10-foot high walls. It is a clean-feeling space with white walls and floors. I have a small cove for my office along with a bathroom and storage closet. For the exterior of the studio, I used mostly recycled material—old barn wood and corrugated metal.
What elements were important to you in designing your studio? I wanted a space that allowed a lot of north light. The high ceilings were important for hanging paintings and also creating a feeling of a larger space. My studio is fairly clean, which helps me to stay focused. I work best with minimalist surroundings.
Do you have a favorite subject matter? The figure is my favorite subject matter. It is universally understood and easy to relate to. The figure’s beauty is vast and relative. It reaches an audience in the most personal way. The technical side of painting the human form is very enjoyable. People come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors, and that allows me the opportunity to paint form and volume.
What attracts you to still-life painting? There are aspects of still-life painting that keep me coming back to it. For one thing, it has a subject that never moves, which makes working from life that much easier. It is also intriguing to use objects as characters in a story. It’s a challenge to do this in a powerful and unique way.
Describe your style of work. This is one of the toughest questions for me to answer. Not because I do not know the direction of my work, but because I do not want my work to be misunderstood or pigeonholed into one particular style. So, having said that, I will say my work tends toward the representational side of art with a hint of surrealism. Usually, I use elements in the painting to dictate what the warped sense of reality will be, suggesting the idea that nothing is as it seems.
What do you keep in your studio? I keep objects that I find interesting for future paintings, photographs of art that inspires me, books on art, and a chair to read in. My dogs are also regulars in my studio. They like to hang out on the cool floor. In the summertime, I leave the French doors open for them to come in and out.
Do you listen to music while you work? I am very sound sensitive, so I really have to be in the mood. I listen to talk programs and books on tape. I am typically not as sensitive to classical music, so that is what I listen to often.
What impresses you about other artists’ works? I am always impressed with how painting is reinvented and done in a new, fresh, and inspiring way.
If your studio were on fire, what one thing would you save? A painting Daniel Sprick did of me when I was 16 years old, or my photographs.
What is one place people will never find you? A shopping mall.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not painting? Being with my family, mountain biking, running, and practicing my Italian.
Where do you like to take people when they come to visit? It depends on who is visiting. If they are interested in art, I will take them to my gallery here in Denver or to local exhibitions. There are so many places to enjoy outdoor activities near Golden, and the town has a great Wild West feel to it that is fun to show to out-of-towners.
Saks Galleries, Denver, CO.
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