Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sparkle 125: A Word from an Artist

As promised way back when I first posted the artwork for this year's Day of the Dead t-shirt, here's a bio of artist Kim Atkins. Even though I admit to being entirely prejudiced, I think she's a kick-ass artist and an awesome person, too.

I've known Kim for 12 years, give or take a little. We met when we were both working at an art supply store in Evanston, IL. I was finishing up art school & Kim was busy actively making art and corrupting young artists like me. We worked together at two different jobs and shared studio space for a short time in the closest thing to an actual artist's garret that I ever want to deal with. Oh, and she took me to my first Grateful Dead shows (kinda weird for me - I was a total art-school-babe-of-doom & didn't get the allure of the Dead...I learned). Anyway, here's what she has to say for herself about how she got started in the visual arts and what her process is like. To see more of Kim's work, you can visit her website. Scroll down her web page to see a selection of her mandalas - you can click on the images for a larger view (a must to see the kind of detail she puts into her drawings and paintings).

Kim Atkins: Artist's Biography

Raised in the small town of Middletown, Indiana, I taught myself to draw at a young age. As a teenager, the local high school art club encouraged my interest and development as an artist. One year, I traveled with the art club to New York City. We visited museums and attended theater productions. It was inspiring - I couldn't believe a fifteen year old could buy booze almost anywhere in NYC without an ID.

Anyway, I went on to attend Ball State University in Muncie, IN where I studied graphic design and fine art. I graduated with a BFA in 1988. Since then I have worked as a freelance graphic artist and completed fine art projects on commission. While working for a construction company in Anderson, IN that did not believe in hiring employees, I was required to start my own business, Sparkle125 LLC. I was one of their graphic design and marketing "vendors" for two years.

My favorite mediums are watercolors and colored pencils. I particularly enjoy white on black drawings like the one I did for Coyote Radio. When asked to do the drawing within a circle for this project, I was thrilled.

I am most fond of creating mandalas. Mandalas have different meanings depending on what religion or spiritual mythology you subscribe to, but for me they are drawings within a circle. The circle is a container for whatever you want to keep in it. Draw a circle, draw something inside of it and you have a valid mandala.

Carl Jung used the mandala as a therapeutic device and I suppose I do as well. I find more joy in mandala creation than any other form of artwork. I was inspired to do these back in the mid-nineties while staring at my Indian tapestries. I never got sick of looking at them. In fact, there is a tapestry on the ceiling above me right now.

My art has often been more inspired by music than other artists. A Grateful Dead show was an amazing moving art gallery of T-shirts. I would often take my sketchbooks into shows and draw before the concerts. Sometimes I would just draw on other people. Amazing how people on drugs will line up for the silliest things.

I am currently working on several drawings and a series of colored pencil mandalas. It's often difficult without motivation or a fire beneath my feet. I thank Coyote Radio for that.

We pick up the t-shirts this Friday. I'm so stoked!!!


At 9:40 PM, Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

Beautiful work, Kim. Do you ever come to Phoenix when the monks are in making their sand mandalas at the Scottsdale Center?

At 9:43 AM, Blogger dink said...

Very cool T-shirt. Fun to read about Kim.

Thanks, angie.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She creates some fantastic art.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger anne frasier said...

LOVE the t-shirt design. and the mandalas are beautiful!!

At 8:53 PM, Blogger angie said...

Yep. Kim's art rocks. I'm hoping she'll be able to come out to AZ for a visit soon!


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