A Talk with Master Painter, Kimberly Brannon
Baton Rouge Business Journal caught up with an amazing abstract painter, Kimberly J. Brannon on August 12, 2013, whose work is found in the coveted Shaw Museum collection in Baton Rouge, LA. Kimberly also had the top selling design at Art in Motion for several years running. She was very generous with her time and shared what has made her a success in her craft.
Kimberly comes from a family of artists and tried to venture out in other directions, only to come back to the area where she is extraordinarily gifted. Her experiences are wide, having graduated from LSU and attending the Illustration Academy in Liberty, Missouri where she learned artistic rigor. Many days, Kimberly will go on only four hours of sleep and, when she is in production/creative mode, typically puts out one to four unique works in acrylics per day.
Commercial Works vs. Works for Herself
“Half the time, I don’t know how the piece will evolve, it’s a response to the request for colors from publishers, designers, decorators or reps. Once I hit a color combination that’s working, I’ll jump on that train and paint as many as I can. The variations are my attempts to keep the process fresh and infuse part of myself into the work. It’s possible to become ‘bored’ with a style or series, so I shift hues and the look slightly to see if we can hit on something different. This is how the works grow, evolve and change over time, by incorporating both the elements that customers respond to and the feedback I receive from those selling the pieces.“
“What I do for myself is entirely different than what I would do for the commercial market. When I am painting for myself it might be ‘out there,’ something sculptural, or figurative. The time taken to explore my own ideas and styles has been invaluable in business, and the techniques and imagery discovered often become interchangeable and indistinguishable from the work I do for a living. To my personal work I’ve brought the efficiency and tricks I’ve learned to quickly achieve the effect I desire, and in my commercial work I’ve incorporated personal touches. The two sides of my work feed and build one another.”
What People Want in Figurative Art
“I tend to lean toward figurative work that’s more fantasy and dreamlike. I’ve found that people respond to figures that are romanticized, that suggest love, like lovers in an embrace or images of a mother and child. With straight portraits, the market is limited, very few want a painting or drawing of someone else hanging in their home. If you’re going to sell, you’ve got to consider expanding the scope of what you’re doing to include more universal themes so that the audience can relate and interact. I love doing figurative and portrait work, I just don’t do it for a living unless the client is a close friend. I’ve discovered that most people don’t want an accurate portrait, they prefer it idealized, with wrinkles and blemishes removed- they want plastic surgery!”
“Now, when I’m doing it for myself, and throw ‘convention’ out the window, I have to expect there are people who will respond to a piece and love it, but they might not love it enough to take it home… and that’s OK. For me painting figuratively is more about the challenge. I can paint an abstract and if a square or a color ends up in the wrong place, no one’s going to look at it and say, ‘Oh, you messed that up!’ But, if I paint an eye in the middle of someone’s forehead, and I’m not aiming for a Picasso, people will notice. Again, I enjoy the challenge. It makes the work rewarding when I draw someone’s face and it resembles that person enough that others can look at the painting and respond, ‘Oh, did you use so and so as a model?’ That’s thrilling to me, but it takes a longer time.”
See Kimberly’s Art on her Facebook page or at The Foyer in Baton Rouge
If you would like to see some of Kimberly’s amazing art, you can add her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kfinearts where she updates with new work, events and art related activities, or stop by “The Foyer” on Perkins near Acadian. The Foyer Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Foyer/136575426356265