Kip Deeds: Art and Design

Artist Statement: January 2014

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My artwork has grown out of a spiritual sense that deeper meanings are available beneath the surface of events. At a young age I felt that posters and other work I considered art had qualities beyond the direct content they represented. It was this other level of consciousness, brought about through symbolic representations, that intrigued me. However, beyond knowing this feeling and being aware of this artistic dimension, action and contemplation was needed to shape my art.

The artwork that I create is informed through direct experiences, stories (from history and literature), as well as by looking closely at work of other artists. Although I am guided by structure, I am not bound to it. I believe that showing my hand in art is a valuable marker of my humanity. In this regard a wobble or error can be seen for its beauty. This sentiment allows for a measure of intuition and chance necessary to be liberated from more calculated outcomes. Artists such as Paul Klee, Odilon Redon, Lyonel Feininger, Alice Neel, and Charles Burchfield are role models because they have been able to tap the imaginative self while reaching for an organizational logic. Further back in history, I would also count the illuminations made by monks, the work of William Blake, and the paintings of Edward Hicks (an artist from my hometown) as visionary influences.

Though my artwork uses collage and abstraction, the figure has playing a prominent role in an ongoing study of narrative themes. Among current investigations, I am considering the metaphorical implications of memorials, monuments, and architectural structures (e.g. the column and spire) and how they can act to hold our soulfulness and collective aspirations. The excitement of art making for me is found in the possibility of discovery. In a way, art making is easy. I can load a brush with paint and start. The more difficult challenges include reframing quotidian subject matter to reveal special or hidden qualities and turning situations that seem impossible into visions of possibility. This broader more complex effort requires discipline, trial and error, and an open mind. Art may not always be pretty or perfect but at its root it provides reminders of who we are at our best. It is this center (values that preserves us when faced with adversity) that leads me to search and create

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