Exclusive interview with Steven Kenny

Steven Kenny in his studio
September 2, 2016 | Author: webSman

Q: Tell us about your beginnings as an artist, when did you begin to draw or paint?

A: Like all children I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. However, once I began school, I started to attract attention to my work and was complimented on my talent. My first real recognition was when I was seven and won a prize from my town for a safety poster contest they sponsored. That early award was a huge incentive to create more art.

Q: Do you have a formal education in art or are you self-taught?

A: I received a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. My major was illustration but found the assignments frustrating and unchallenging. I tried to transfer into the painting department during my junior year but the administration wouldn’t allow it. The focus of the illustration curriculum was not on painting, per se, so I basically taught myself how to paint after leaving school.

Q: You have a very unique style, what inspires you to make this art? Tell us a little about your why you use animals and nature to adorn your human figures, how did this come about?

A: I believe strongly that we can come to understand ourselves and the nature of living by studying the natural world. All the answers to our questions about birth, death, growth, decay, and change in general can be found there if we look and listen. My paintings most often blend the human figure with animals and plants as metaphors for my own struggles to understand who I am and, in a broader sense, how humans find their place in the world.

Q: Who is your biggest supporter? Is there someone special who has helped you along the way?

A: I rely very heavily on my wife. She is the person who truly understands me and my motivations. In addition to providing moral support she also is a very good critic. She knows when I can push myself to do better and questions my intentions when necessary.

Q: Is there an artist in history who influenced your work, or is there an artist with whom you feel an affinity?

A: I’m constantly being influenced by a wide variety of artists, both historical and contemporary. I enjoy all forms of art and each has its own impact on my work. But I have to say that the Dutch and Flemish painters from the 15th to the 17th Centuries have a special place in my heart. Their way of looking at the world, their humor, and their attention to detail all appeal to me.

Q: If you could do any project with full funding, what would it be and why?

A: The idea of having unlimited funds comes up now and then. I can imagine many possibilities but my conclusion is always the same; I would keep doing what I’m doing now. I believe that my job is to do the best work I can do and send it out into the world. Sometimes my work deeply touches a single person and sometimes the ripple effect is much broader. In my 32-year career I’ve learned that bigger isn’t necessarily better. My job is to spread wonder, create beauty, and demonstrate the power of art.

Q: Was your family supportive of you becoming an artist?

A: Yes, my parents and three older brothers were all unified in coaxing my development. I was free to follow any path I chose and they would have encouraged me no matter what that was. Luckily, I chose to be an artist and they’ve stood behind me all the way.

Q: What if anything has strongly influenced your art?

A: So many things! Nature and the environment, my childhood, religion and spirituality, perception, illusion, the nature of reality, 1970s progressive rock, psychology, the unconscious mind, art history, and surrealism. All those subjects factor into the subject matter of my paintings.

Q: Has your published work in the print issue of Miroir Magazine helped your career as an artist in any way?

A: Absolutely! It’s a great honor each time I’m invited to display my work in Miroir Magazine. It’s one of the classiest art publications available today and regularly showcases artists whose work I respect and admire. Having my paintings appear in these pages is the sort of precious validation that nourishes me and provides incentive to continue. I’m a firm believer in the power of advertising, promotion, and exposure. Having my work in Miroir is like planting a seed. The fruit that it bears may come quickly or I may have to be patient and wait for that fruit to ripen. Either way, being published in Miroir is a powerful gift that I cherish. So, thank you!