British Artist, based in, Hertfordshire, UK, Painting & Drawing: Kimberly Bevan
I am a total art book fanatic - some close family members say addict, I like to think more idiosyncratic passion, sadly I don’t have enough money to be classed eccentric! Much like my drawings and paintings, I like to have more than one on the go at once.
Currently I am re-reading Robert Kaupelis “Experimental Drawing” and Mick Maslen and Jack Southern’s “Drawing Projects an exploration of the language of drawing”. I regularly recommend theses two books to fellow artists and students who find they are a little stuck and lost in direction. Time and again I hear that there are no new ideas within the creative disciplines and that everything is just a poorer impersonation of previous generation’s ideas. This attitude peeves me off and is simply untrue. Never before in the history of human race have artists had the level of access to both revolutionary new mediums/materials and existential networks spanning the whole of the planet. These books explore fascinating theories both old and new; they set out a mixture of simple experimental drawing approaches/projects that anyone can have a go at and explore. Maslen and Sothern book introduces the reader to some new cutting edge drawing artists, providing in-depth artists interviews and beautiful A4 examples of their art works. Meanwhile Kaupelis covers more traditional references to support and build excellent foundations to any artistic mind set.
2) What was the last truly inspiring Artbook you saw?
“Fantasy Worlds” Edited by Angelika Taschen is an amazing table top book to flick through. It is a collection of secret and hidden buildings created all over the world by the most unexpected of people from postmen to blacksmiths, large A4 pages show unconventional gigantic colourful building and sculptures spilling across hidden back gardens.
3) Give us the name of your favourite overlooked or underappreciated Artist ?
Oh where to start!!I don’t know if it’s because I’m English and he is American that you hardly hear of him here, but if I had to choose.......... Fred Tomaselli would be at the top of my list. Fred, if you’re reading this I don’t suppose you would swap one of your lip-smackingly gorgeous collages for an unknown Brit artist work??? I think it’s the concoction of crazy detail with mental colour that draws me to his work like a middle aged man to red soft-top sports cars.
4) What are your Artistic guilty pleasures? Do you have a favourite genre/style?
I don’t really see it as a guilty pleasure that’s more my chocolate fudge cake dependency I try to keep secret, but within the realms of art I guess what I really love 16th century Italian murals within Tuscan churches. If you were going to put the icing on the cake then fallen angles cascading down the walls of a candle light church while a performer sings Ave Maria will always make my hart flutter.
5) If we came to your studio what would we see? Chaos, don’t get me wrong I try really hard to be neat and tidy, but I just seem to have a magnetic attraction to clutter.
On my way walk home from a class I teach on a Wednesday morning there is a house clearance shop, it’s so bad I am on fist name terms with the shop owners (this is unheard of in the large town I live in, where shopping chains litter the 1950s shopping avenues and store assistants usually meta-morph into automatic faceless machines). I have this real attraction to rusty industrial metal things that have wheels and handles and move, I don’t know what I will do with them but one day I am sure they will be useful?
6) What’s the best Artbook on (Your nationalities) Art you’ve ever read?
This is going to be a hard one to admit, but it was David Hockneys “Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters”. By no means am I a David Hockney fan - as most of my students have learnt over the years from various rants, but this is a truly great book. There are various famous artists over the last five hundred years which have become gods within the art world, leaving us mere mortals to look on in sheer disbelief at their astonishing creative achievements, this book attempts to makes them human. Applying a forensic detective approach it pulls apart and deciphers strange elements within iconic art works, shedding light on the various smoke and mirrors approached these genius applied.
7) What subject other than Art, are you interested in? That nevertheless informs your work?
I don’t know if it’s the artistic temperament to do nutty sporadic things, but about five years ago I signed up-to to a leisure class randomly in philosophy, it’s never been a subject I had exposure to before. You see I grew up on a large 1980’s council estate, in what was then a relatively small town; school was more about survival than education. At the end I was happy to escape with any qualifications I managed to scrap by on – as such, I thank god for spell check!! Sorry, I digress; the philosophy classes stoked an unexpected interest in “what reality actually is”? I became particularly interested in time, space and light theories and over the last few years I have used scientific ideas to inform and push the direction of my art. However the problem with this kind of curiosity is that just when you think you have nailed down an idea a new question is unleashed by the answer. After a while you find that by asking a question about reality you begin to reveal boundaries and entrenched flaws within human perception. This fascinated me further and I started to research on the web coming across “The invisible Gorilla” by C. Chabris and D Simons, this fascinating book analysis how much of reality humans automatically fill in leaving a trail regularly leaving a trail of destruction.
8) What was the last Artbook that made you happy? This is going to make me look very unprofessional but it would have to be "The book of bunny suicides” by Andy Riley. Okay so it’s not high brow art but there is a lot of imagination that goes on in those illustrations – honest!
9) What was the last Artbook that made you sad?
I say read but it’s more like visual cruising when it comes to “Wall and Piece” by Bansky - fantastic book. At the end there is a Manifesto page, where Bansky quotes the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin DSO who was amongst the first British soldiers to enter a Nazi Death camp in Bergen-Belsen. They found horrific scenes: “It took a little time to get used to seeing men women and children collapse as you walked by them and to restrain oneself from going to their assistance. One had to get used early to the idea that the individual just did not count. One knew that five hundred a day were dying and that five hundred a day were going on dying for weeks before anything we could do would have the slightest effect.” It’s an amazing and unusual story that I would recommend any human being to read and hopefully learn from.
10) What kind of person were you as a child? And what were your favourite childhood memories, which made you an Artist? How have you grown over the years what has changed what remained the same?
I was a very quiet and reserved child, blissfully content with paper and colouring pencils over a period of hours. However I did have my moments, regularly borrowing my mum’s lip sticks to draw animals on her cream bed room carpet when no-body was looking. I have always been very curious about the natural environment and some-what mystified by the marvel of nature; as a toddler I would sit in the garden, remove the grey concrete drain covers and collect snails which would run all over my arms.
I’ve always had an amazing imagination and l still day dream, probably more than I should as a responsible adult! I remember thinking as a teenager than some-kind of enlightenment comes with age and that everything will make sense; however I now feel more confused as an adult than I ever did as a child – where did it all go wrong?? On another note, I recently meet a old childhood school friend who said that I was the kindest and most compassionate person they had know as a child – I really hope that is still remains true today.
11) Whom do you consider your Artistic Masters? Do you believe in mastery?
I personally see Art Master as an elite relinquished to the past (Caravaggio, Courbet etc), which is a pity. To have a Master you must have apprentices, which in this day and age is usually a low paid (if you’re lucky enough to be paid) position where you become part of an industrialised process. Maybe is a golden age thinking but “Mastery” seems to be dying out in the upper high brow arena of the art world? But there are a few contemporary artists who break through the glass and offer sublime skill – Jonathan Yeo is a good example.
12) Which Artists have had the most impact on you as an Artist? Is there a particular Art Work that made you want to be an Artist? Please upload an image to justify your statement?
When I reached secondary school – early 1990’s, I became aware of how rarely female artists where documented in art history and that was a ‘red flag to a bull’ for me to change things. As an idealised eleven year old I have no-idea that thirty miles down the road in London, the art scene was being forever radicalised by the YBAs (who consisted of a group of strong females, strange how things work out!). The internet was in its infancy and generally consisted of an empty white void so all I had to go on was the local library who had only one female artist book, Bridget Riley so she became some-what of a rebel icon for me. I was also studying the old English masters and trying to master how to control and mix acrylics and found Constables paintings a particular draw for some random reason.
13) What gear do you use, and how does your gear, support your Artistic vision. How would you describe your Artistic Work flow what software, hardware, storage, & materials and processes do you use?
I originally graduated as an Applied Medium Artist in 2004 where I had spent three years of my life exploring and learning every possible three dimension medium I could get my hands on (to the fear of many a male model maker); from willow weaving, glass casting to various forms of welding. In recent years my work has gone more towards two dimensional mediums probably due to practically more than anything however my directive is still the same ‘break the rules’ and try to ‘be original’. My recent drawings explore a concoction of metal point, sepia powder, graphite powder, carbon, charcoal, gesso and turps. Whereby my paintings are about mixing chemicals with the paints and forming fascinating effects through un-orthodox applications to the canvas, hopefully this contributes to the ideas encapsulated in the subject matter. As for software I love my digital SLR camera and use it in collaboration with my digital overhead projector regularly, these tools allow a sense of experimentation that saves me time and labor.
14) Do you have any regrets with regards to your Art especially when starting out. What would you do differently? Yes. I was unrealistic and refused to hear people’s options that I should have valued. I made lots of mistakes but then I also kept to my ethics and did things ‘my way’ which I kind of admire – looking back at a younger stupid me. The harshness of the industrial especially in London is brutal and upon average it takes from 10 years of work to get any form of recognition, being an artist is more of a calling than a job and I don’t think many people realise this until quite a few years down the road.
15) In your genre style of work, what are the challenges/opportunities to your business. How do you envision yourself 5 years from now? The difficulties in my genre are mainly being noticed in amongst a sea of visual fine art these days. However I am determined not to sell out and start pumping out chocolate box images for the sake of money. I really hate five years questions, in the art world five years is the equivalent to five years in politics – a very long time! Basically who knows and then again - who wants to know?
16) In your Artists Imagination, how do you perceive India. What painting/Drawings would you like to make of Her?
There is lustre to Indian, a golden glow of sun light and a spicy eastern breeze on the horizon. I see vivid reds and oranges, elephant calls echoing across the dense jungle planes and the hum of natives embracing their religious calling. I would like to first watch to absorb the variety of environments that spread across India, to become part of the hustle and bustle in the towns and cities while finding a soothing calm wash over me in the tranquil countryside. I would like to draw in Indian ink, allowing the pen to lead while my eyes absorb the fascinating nature of this magical country. I would fill in using coloured charcoal – spurting colour spontaneously across the page, allowing a sense of freedom and spontaneity.
Biography In Her Own Words
My paintings study the idea of time passing and how we optically record the information and then contaminate it with emotions as it is stored as a memory. The first stage of my work is observing reality which is very difficult practice to analyse - as it is a natural instinct, firstly I try to separate myself from reality and assimilate the moment into a logical progression of segments.
I then become concerned with the overall composition of the work and the flowing movement across the canvas, the segments I created at the beginning are heavily edited and played with (you can see the looseness of paint I use at the early stages as I like to keep it seeping through certain parts of the painting). I award merit and importance to certain factors while I dispose of what I deem useless. I want the artwork to fits the canvas in scale while echoing an overall sculptural form as I perceived occurring in the moment that I am trying to capture. I am concerned by the space between forms and interlocking stages of the paintings focus, keeping a consistency of things like the direction of the light on the subject and how the form interlocks with the background.