Interview Questions & Answers May 2015

On May 11, 2015 Dianne Carroll Burdick interviewed me for an article in the June 2015 On The Town magazine.  Dianne and I had a fabulous time talking and enjoying my new rug collection at Design Quest in Grand Rapids.  I can't wait to see the joyous photos that Dianne took.  I thought her questions were really thought provoking.  It is always good to take a step back and look at who you are now, where you have come from and where you  and your art may be going...

Many thanks to Dianne and Design Quest for a really good time! 

Here are Dianne's questions and my responses...

With These Hands

By Dianne Carroll Burdick

Name: Kathleen Mooney

Medium: Multilayered Acrylic - usually on canvas

1.  Have you lived in Michigan your whole life? Where did you grow up? Is there anything special about where you grew up?

My current home of 30 years is 7 miles from where I grew up. As children, we had hundreds of acres of a conservation club with a stream, lakes, woods and trails across the street and freedom to explore.

I have lived in Tucson, been on all of the coasts, and spent the equivalent of several cumulative years in Ireland, Scotland, England and France. Like a homing pigeon I return to the west of Ireland almost every year. This was the first year in a long time that family has kept me anchored here.

2.  What kind of formal training do you have? What about informal training? Or, what other things have influenced your art work?

My art education has been very A la Carte. Locally I have taken serial art classes at nearly every college and university that offers whatever aspect of art that holds my fascination at the time. A formal art degree has never had any attraction.  I just want to make ART.

National and international workshops, classes and personal art retreats are my current mode because my schedule just doesn’t allow longer than three weeks at a time.

One of my favorite things is to decide what to study and go do that - historic textiles in London’s V&A, the Bath Costume collection and museum collections in the USA, Richard Diebenkorn for a whole week in Orange County, Prehistoric Pottery and the painted caves in France, Painting in Ireland.  Go, Do, Learn.

3.  How long have you wanted to be an artist? And why?

My mom’s story is that I created my first mural on the wall behind my bedroom door at age three! Art is inescapable. I have always been an artist.

4.  What inspires you to create new paintings/work?

The ancient Irish poem that I have been haunted by for years has a line about the “fire in the head”. That resonates with me. I have an ART fire in my head. It never goes out. It rarely even smolders. Nature, science, history, poetry, life and living provide constant inspiration.  Usually I produce work in series to fully explore an inspiration.

5.  Where or what do you draw your inspiration from?

Colors and their meanings, colors and the way they behave next to each other, a juicy line, a good shape or form and a perfect horizon, gifts of visual magic from nature, big ancient and prehistoric persistent human ideas and the poetry of life.

Abstraction holds powerful attraction for me. It has the strongest possibilities to explore the open, deeply intuitive and experimental way I work. My careful process starts with creating silk like panels of color rich acrylic paint.  These are torn, cut, layered, ironed, and carefully positioned on canvas. Think of quilts, historic clothing construction, and textiles. I am very influenced by Gees Bend quilts, Nancy Crow and Richard Diebenkorn.

6.  What shows have you in the near future?

I am preparing art for my solo show at Design Quest that opens May 22 and runs through July 12. The public reception is Sunday May 31 from 2-4pm. “Legends: Art Rugs by Kathleen Mooney” is the first local showing of a 12 rug collection inspired by my 2013/2014 Legends painting series and the Song of Amergin painting series done in Ireland 2012. The rugs are designed with and produced by Foreign Accents Rugs from Albuquerque. The wool and Artsilk Legends rug collection has been exhibited at the High Point Markets since Spring Market 2014. They have received wonderful success, taken a Home Accents Today editor’s award and been featured in national and international magazines including Cover and Interior Design. Molly Anderson the Design Manager for Foreign Accents Rugs will be at the reception and we will give a brief presentation about how the rug collection came to be.

The art was inspired by ‘The Song of Amergin’ an ancient Irish poem. The art inspired he rugs. The rugs have inspired new art. The Legends rug collection will be professionally exhibited by Design Quest and my “inspired from or inspired by” art with hang with each rug. I am excited to see the exhibit in the Design Gallery – it will be top notch! This will be an exclusive opportunity for the public to see the evolution of art inspiration to a signature rug collection by a local artist.

I am entering international competitions with National Watercolor Society, International Society of Acrylic Painters and International Society of Experimental Artists.  I have signature status in all three.

I am teaching at the Marquette Art and Culture Center in August. I enjoy teaching and always get a lot out of the interaction with my students.

I have a solo exhibit at One Trick Pony in 2016.

Exhibits impose deadlines, but really I just create all the time. Solo exhibits provide the opportunity to curate your own work and identify and narrate an overall theme.

7.  What do you think people like best about your work? What kind of feedback have you had?

They are usually responding to the same things I draw inspiration from - Colors and their meanings, colors and the way they behave next to each other, a juicy line, a good shape or form and a perfect horizon, gifts of visual magic from nature, big ancient persistent human ideas and the poetry of life. Mostly, they simply “know what they like” and respond through their own filter of memory and instinct.

8.  Who would be your ideal customer?

I really just want to take my own breath away and hear that audible “hummm” that happens when I get it right. Thankfully, there are art appreciators out there that get that same connection with my paintings.

The rugs opened up art in product design for me - clothing that features my art, home décor and who knows what will be next. I will keep loving the creation and be ready for the opportunities. I like using my art in product design because my responsibilities are focused to just creating the art.

9.  What would be the ultimate place you would love to have your work shown?

Foreign Accents Rugs does these great images of sleek modern rooms with incredible ocean vistas and my rugs. I get a real thrill every time the rugs are featured in national and international magazines.

Some of the wonderful places I have been in Ireland and Scotland would work – some craggy spot looking west over the Atlantic waves. There is this special gallery in Dingle, Ireland – Greenlane Gallery – Susan only displays local artists - so that would fulfill two dreams.

10.   Are you participating in ArtPrize? Have you ever participated in ArtPrize? Where would you like to show or are showing or have shown?

I am glad ArtPrize provides so many opportunities for so many artists and for the public to see and enjoy art. However, it doesn’t work for me on so many levels.

11. If you wanted a good cup of joe, where would you go?

I drink Chai soy latte and tea. Locally - Ella’s in Lowell. Or anywhere I can see the ocean…