in the studio with kelly inouye

sometimes i really like how small the artworld is. kelly inouye came to see my show sen. she happens to be a writer for SFAQ and wrote a review

prior to writing she sent me an email with a few questions - questions about feminism, materiality... they were GOOD questions. and of course i gave her a lengthly long winded response [with thoughts on 3rd wave feminism, the personal is political and conceptual craft.].

her name was familiar to me and i thought she might be an artist beside a writer, so i looked her up. and i really liked her work.  in the process of communicating i asked if she would want to trade studio visits and she did ! [although she can't come to mine until post kitchen fiasco].

kelly's studio is two rooms tucked into the basement of her adorable SF home.
it is the perfect example of how you can manage to make work in all kinds of spaces.

she has this great closet door moving wall system so she maximizes her wall space. she can move the panels as she needs to ... it's brilliant. 

her lovely desk/work area.

in room number 2 she has a nice clean space which she appears to use more as a gallery/hanging area to look at the work. 

i was lucky enough to see work from 2 series. the company you keep was one.
here's her statement on that work [and i also remember those mutual of omaha shows/ads SO well]

"The Company You Keep" references Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, the archetypal nature show I watched every Sunday evening as a kid in which Marlin Perkins sends Jim Fowler to study animal behavior in particularly dramatic made-for-TV ways. The show first struck me as an odd advertising mechanism for insurance. I found many of their slogans simplistic and hilarious, especially in light of the state of the US healthcare system. By viewing this show as a time capsule reflecting the mentality of the era in which it was created, the drawings have evolved to examine: the application of science to investigate mysteries of the natural world, the use of language to elevate the importance of a project, having the best intentions but being unable to foresee unintended consequences, and above all, Man’s classic literary struggle with Nature.

and also work from her sitcom series

Sitcom Series was inspired by the perverse, nostalgic relationship I felt toward the television shows I watched as a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s, a bygone era that was not that long ago. The idea came about through conversations with co-workers and friends about why we remembered so many trivial details from these shows, yet frequently forgot more important things like social security numbers or impending deadlines. I started using watercolor in its loosest form to depict these characters in an effort to amplify that sense of odd sentimentality and test the boundaries of just how much information was needed to make a recognition. As time passes and these images become dated, their complexity and cultural significance evolves.

i love how stunningly beautiful her watercolor paint application is. it's so attractive and seductive and sort of "wrong" [in the best possible sense] to describe what ultimately end up being [in hindsight] very wacky shows [fantasy island and charlie's angels being my personal favs]

i was particularly drawn to the shifts in scale she made... small and large figures. how she removed them from a scene and simply presented the character to you. in a void more or less. the negative space is so lovely [yes yes i'm a broken record about negative space]. it's almost a guessing game sometimes as to who is who [if i was a better fan of the show i recognized them faster].

the other thing that was fascinating was how emotionally connected they felt. to her... to me... i've seen other artists who work with film/tv stills and often times there is a removal - a coldness - that's inherent in the work. sometimes this works to the artist's advantage, but more often than not it leaves me wanting more.

with kelly's work i definitely felt sucked in. it didn't matter if i knew who the characters were - there was such grace and also tension in the way that they were rendered that i easily begin to see them as nostalgic members of my own family. which in way they ARE - because whether or not you watched the shows they have somehow seeped into our collective pop culture conscious.

we also had a great time swapping kid stories. she has a daughter almost the same age as mine. the mother artist tribe is a subset community... i feel like when we find like minds in this smaller set of makers we have to hold on for dear life.

i also had the STRONGEST urge to arrange her colored pencils in color order. but i refrained. although it did give me the idea that perhaps i should do this as a side project. go into artist studios and arrange their supplies for them. one - it would be funny, two - it would make for some really pretty photos, three - i could use it as an excuse to get into more artist studios. 


Anonymous said…
Thanks for sharing your experiences with Kelly. She really makes one realize just how powerful those TV images from childhood really are. I recalled watching some of those shows with my daughter when she was growing up around that same time period.

It must be interesting, and often times instructive, to see how different artists set up and work in their studios.
Julie said…
Its so nice popping over here after so long!

I enjoyed reminiscing via Kelly's works. They seem to be so 'simple' yet the characters are immediately recognisable!!

I hope you are well xx
magali catteau said…
I just love the first one "Charlie's angels". Those were the collest and teh most beautiful ladies for me as a child!!
Thanks to share her work with us.
Blair said…
I love the sitcom pieces!! That whole period in my life was defined by sitcoms like those. And please feel free to come and arrange supplies in my studio any-nee-time!! :)
Tiffanie said…
Wow. I am stunned. This work is incredible, thank you for introducing her to me! :)

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