Kerry Rowland Avrech – A professional artist based in California
Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I currently reside in Northern California, and was raised mainly in the beach town of Venice, California. I have always had the compulsion to paint and draw, and while art has always been a part of my life, recently I have been very busy not only in my studio, but working on several mural projects in Davis.
When did you decide to pursue art as a career?
I think it chose me, after moving up to Northern California. Although I had several chances and opportunities, only those that involved my active creation and involvement with art seemed worthwhile.
Venice was full of artists, muralists and musicians in the early sixties and seventies, so there was lots of inspiration. But it was my arrival in Northern California, with the Bay area, Davis and Sacramento being the capitol that helped me evolve further than I had in Santa Monica and Venice. I started in watercolor, moved to acrylic, and oils. I still use quite a bit of acrylics, due to the mural projects I have been involved with.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
My first exhibition at the John Natsoulas Gallery sold out. That was a once in a life time event, but it did solidify the fact that I was on to the right choice for myself. And the response to the murals has been amazing. Public art is a challenge but has it’s own type of reward, although you won’t become wealthy doing murals.
What’s your favorite quote?
There are many, but most are from Picasso and Salvador Dali. I loved Dali’s book.
Who is your favorite artist?
It would be hard to pick a favorite. Georgia O’Keefe, Diebenkorn, Stuart Shils, Edvard Munch, Gustav Klimt…
What are you aiming for?
I wish to continue to strive for innovation, freshness and vibrancy in my paintings. As an artist, to be productive in producing work, and continue to assist my fellow artists and art communities in the support, creation and education of public art.
How will you get there?
Through dedication to the craft, attention to building the resume, and involvement with those groups and artists that I feel are on the same wavelength. I’m old enough to know there are no guarantees! Just do my best..
Is anything holding you back?
I think our own beliefs can be our biggest challenge. Bringing the creativity to those challenges is what makes life interesting.
You and art
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
I don’t look to create a response from people, unless it’s a commission with specific goals or mural that has impact in a public environment. For that type of work, it is nice to feel that you have brought a positive experience to the table. But for my paintings, once I have felt I’ve achieved creating that specific piece, it’s about using the medium and the color to let the viewer find what they will.
Emmy Lou Packard as a muralist (She was Diego’s assistant). Van Gogh for sheer determination. Picasso for his genius, de Kooning for his nerve and work ethic. Munch for the way he brought his unique color and sensibilities into his art.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
For paintings, smaller ones can take several days, but the larger ones can be a week to several. As to murals and commissioned pieces, those can go up to a month depending on size, research and the dialogue with clients and other artists
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I’m very eclectic in my tastes, so everything.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I am scheduled to have another showing at the John Natsoulas Gallery in December 2013. And a mural project in connection with Community Built Association, Davis Mural Team, and the City of Davis in May, 2014.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
The natural world has no boundaries for inspiration and beauty. All of life is fodder to me.
Being inspired by art
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Van Gogh for sheer determination. O’Keefe, Shils for their colors, de Kooning for his work ethic. John Pugh, and Emmy Lou Packard for their work as muralists.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
“Nocturne”, which was a large acrylic painting that was painted in 2012. It is a night scene, obviously, with vague flame and shadow shapes. But it has a timeless quality to it, and wasn’t like anything I’d ever done before.
an artist’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for art into a career, could you give any advice?
I think there are many resources out there, especially with the internet, so use them. Be strong, be creative. From creating your own work, to championing the works
of others, there is broad spectrum of careers out there, but don’t count on getting wealthy. Count on getting the satisfaction of doing your best in something that motivates you.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
Be sure to create a website, and materials for your own promotion. Galleries don’t want you to sell yourself if they are representing you, but it helps to direct prospective clients back to your rep or dealer. And gives them a place to look at your current works if you are looking for representation.