Saturday, August 8, 2015

Connectile Ceramic Symmetry - Let's meet Artist Kevin Harney

I met Kevin at Jan Kasparec Solo Art Exhibition a month ago. 

Kevin is an local artist and he always travels to Mexico to explore for more inspirations. His primary work involves contemporary and unique digital prints on ceramic tiles called "Connectiles" and I wish to share with you his beautiful work.

His Art includes large print installations, fine line drawings on various substrates, artworks incorporating recycled materials, photography and mixed media art.

Let's learn more about him...

1. When have you realized that being an Artist was going to be your path?

Creativity was a big part of growing up, especially the act of drawing. This recreational pastime founded the way to graphic design in my early 20's. Working with my hands and crafts have always played an integral part of my artistic endeavours. My love of the arts has evolved through my passions for Art Deco, interior design, fashion, art and graphic design. I always knew I loved the arts but it wasn't until the advent of computers and design software did I finally realize that this digital environment might be the true path to becoming an artist.

2. What inspires you or stimulates your thought?

I derive my inspiration from experiences both past and present. A window display, a man made or naturally occurring pattern, a magazine, art history, industrial design etc. I also believe that “Everything is Connected” and that this energy has inspired the artist in me and has an dominant presence in my art.

3. What is your average day like?

Or rather, what would a typical day encompass as a full time artist? A cup off wonderful coffee while contemplating on my day, dreams or future existence.  Then checking my email, social media, news, following up with clients and responding to important emails. I would then prepare for heading to my studio gallery. Work at the gallery would vary based on priorities; hanging new art, client/supplier follow ups, finishing projects, planning new works and shipping art work....  The most important aspect of the day, having fun!!

4. Why do you think it’s important to work as an artist?

- essential to the whole
- necessary for a sense of completeness

I believe that in order to live a complete existence one has to strive to work at something that one has an immense passion for. This is truly epic or bliss as one third of our days are spent towards monetarily sustaining our existence. There will always be joy, suffering and pain in our lives, this is a fundamental part of life. However, doing what you love will surely help to “Look on the Bright Side of Life”, and bring joy into our lives.

Integral Art
- Art allows artists to know ourselves better, to explore our human nature. To share the deepest parts of our being with others. Art is integral in the sense of the perspective of the artist who creates the art, the perspective of the viewer, and the perspective of the outside cultural context in which the work of art is a part.

5. What kinds of story do you like the most? Why?

I used to be an avid reader as a child but over the years this has decreased significantly to education on particular topics. One day in high school, I was reaching for a book on a shelf in the library. As I grabbed the book, the book beside it fell to the floor. I was “The Man Who Fell to Earth” by Walter Tevis. I read that book. Which to my surprise was made into a movie in 1976 starring David Bowie! A wonderful book and an amazing movie.

6. How has your practice changed over time?

Architectural drawings in pencil of futuristic houses and structures were my first artistic creations. I loved to use shading in a big way.  I was in awe of th technique of using a very soft HB pencil to create mesmerizing gradients. Illustrating plants, buses, flowers and trees was also very alluring. I then discovered that India Ink and a quill tip gave me the precise control to create very fine lines. I was enamoured by the symmetrical patterns and floating islands of Earth with stands spiralling downwards as if it was ripped from the planet. These were inspired by an album cover of the 70's band Yes.

From there, I used the old cut and paste method, literally, to design graphics until the dawn of personal computers. I taught myself the basics of design software and became an expert in Photoshop. I combined my interest in photography and image manipulation to manifest my current style of artistic expression. With my new found creations, I wanted to showcase my art in a different way. In researching various substrates I was attracted to printing on ceramic tiles. Thus, the “Connectile” Collection was created. In addition, while spending much time in Mexico with my husband over the last five years, I looked back to my past to start drawing styles to begin large scale pattern illustrations that I titled the “Women of Mexico” series.

7. Who’s your favourite Artist? How does this Artist inspire or mentor you?

There are so many talented artists. MC Escher was one of the first artists I was attracted to. Incredibly talented. Art movements, periods and styles have inspired me more than individual artists. These include Baroque, Classical engravings, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus, Retro, Pop Art, to name a few. I keep a large collection of art, photos, designs and patterns from which to draw inspiration from. Currently I have a collection of high resolution scans of 16th century master engravers that I am restoring by removing the “aged” discolourations. I then remove the background and manipulate the colours of the engraved lines. I can then add any background colour or image to great effect. I have coined these works “Digital Clarity Reproductions”. A current project that I am working on involves printing the engraving on translucent mylar and layering over one of my digital prints. The result is very unique and contemporary.

8. Specially in today's climate, there are many emerging artists looking for the kind of direction and passion that you, as a successful artist, clearly have, what kind of advice you will give to those who are also looking for the direction and path?

Follow your passion. What do you love? Be aware of what the Universe presents to you, as there are signs all around you. Most people are to busy to recognize them. They are presented in response to your thoughts. To quote Buddha, “We are what we think”. Immerse yourself in art through art openings, visiting galleries, museums and design/art magazines. Anything that will inspire you. Be creative by exploring and experimenting with different techniques and mediums.

9. In your opinion, what role is the Artist playing nowadays?

Artists today, in particular, contemporary artists are appealing to a wider and younger audience and communicating their beliefs in extraordinary techniques and technologies.  Art is becoming more accessible and mainstream. Perhaps this is happening from the observation that contemporary art is becoming more political and delving into social issues. Perhaps this is happening from the observation that contemporary art is becoming more political and delving into social issues. The proliferation of public art is playing a very educational role in the awareness of artists as well. Art fairs are also creating a market of new art enthusiasts.

10. What is your 5 year goal?

At present I am focusing my energy on opening a studio gallery where I can work while exhibiting my art. I wish to diversify my artistic creativity and explore painting , various printing techniques and large format collage works. I would also like to spend some time on collaborating with other contemporary artists to create an artist collective. Who knows where this journey will take me but I do know that I only want to have fun, be happy and have each day be EPIC!!

Thanks for sharing with us. Check below for more of his other work. Feel free to contact him for any inquiry on his art, he is super nice and will gladly show you more of his inspiration.


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