The Artist Odyssey is pleased to announce our “What’s New” blog series. Each week, we’ll release an artist segment from the Emmy Award-winning television show, Art Pulse TV, accompanied by fresh new interviews and images, as we track down each artist to learn the latest. To kick it off, Barbarella checks in with oil painter Kelly Paige Standard to find out what’s been going on in her studio.
See Kelly Paige Standard describe how she strives to capture a person’s essence in a portrait, and then enjoy her Q&A with Barbarella below.
(Producer, Barbarella, Director of Photography David Fokos, Videographer Deejay Viloria, Editor David Fokos, Music Hall Hirshon, additional music Languid Summer 1 by Fireproof Babies)
BF: In this segment, you mentioned a show you were hoping to have some day called Exit Fairytale. Did that ever come to be?
KPS: I DID end up having my ‘Exit Fairytale’ show! On November 16, 2013, I got to display the paintings I’d been working on since the death of my husband in 2010. And because the biggest painting had a very obvious weed theme, I had to look around quite a bit before I found a place that would show it. Mission Gathering Cultural Center agreed to give me the space, and it was so worth the search — it’s such a fun painting, and it was definitely a crowd favorite. (As a side note, this was the large piece on the easel behind me when we shot for the Art Pulse TV intro sequence, and it’s an illustration of me as Pearly Sweetcake from Shel Silverstein’s The Great Smoke-Off.
See the intro sequence Kelly mentioned right here:
KPS: I did something different for the Exit Fairytale show — I wrote a little something about each piece. It was a way for me to explain why each of the paintings made it into my fairytale show, but it was also a matter of emotional kindness — some of these paintings were so very heavy with sadness, and while I was honoring David — still — it was a party. Instead of regular labels with dimension information and pricing, I gave my viewers an option: they could read the wall label as it was displayed with said information, or they could pull out the card and read about each piece before returning it to its envelope. This allowed people to have their feels without having to ask me what each piece meant. Also — I cried a lot less than I would have if I’d had to explain each piece to each guest all throughout the night.
KPS: All in all, the show was amazing, and I was so grateful for the way that everything turned out. People were incredible, and sales were made. Another of my favorites from the show sold almost immediately — a partner piece to Pearly. “Early Pearly” is a painting of three kids smoking weed in church in Jamaica, and I substituted an image of me as a kid, rendered the hair purple… wa-la. (laughing) …so much fun. Perhaps because we’re not recreationally weed-legal yet in California, people are still hesitant. Or maybe because walls in San Diego are not notoriously large (we do love our windows), the big Pearly painting is still available and looking for her forever home for $13K (price slightly negotiable since the only prospect I currently have is in London, and it would cost a pretty penny to get it there).
BF: What have you been working on recently?
KPS: Life still feels like an adjustment to me. It’s been six years but I still struggle with the loss of the best partner (and truest love) I’ve ever known to date. I’ve kept myself busy with projects (some might even say useless projects). For example, I hand-laid over a ton of rock, one stone at a time, in my front yard in an attempt to be drought-friendly and crazy-artistic at the same time.
KPS: I also got a friend to help me build a catio (closed-in patio for a cat), and I have spoiled the hell out of one amazing orphaned kitten.
KPS: I even did a mural outside my house (on my neighbor’s wall) with a friend of mine battling brain cancer. He wanted to get his mural on, so we came up with a plan that let the neighborhood kids join in. It was an unpaid project (like all my other ones!, lol) but it was very fulfilling. A woman on Nextdoor Talmadge posted about her 4-year-old son loving the mural and making her drive by it to read the text to him every day. He’s now able to recite it.
KPS: I did say to myself months ago that I’d love to work on something with a bit of weight to it — a project with additional purpose. I’m not the kind of artist that can listen to a description of someone and then draw them out of my head, so police work isn’t my groove. But I was hoping for a way to reach more people than just one family at a time with my portraiture. Not long after this realization, I was approached by a friend working on a project that will now include an exhibition of eight KPSTANDARD oils. The series will travel with him to universities across the country on his tour giving talks on the subject of human trafficking in America. I love the concept of beautifully exposing and illustrating a very ugly topic in a way that invites people in to the conversation, and ultimately, into a solution that contains any necessary recovery. I love the opportunity to be trusted with these subjects, and to reach a new and larger audience.
BF: In the segment, you talked about having an awakening, and taking action. Currently, what is your thorny forest, and your lily pad? The struggle, and the joy? The obstacle, and the hope?
KPS: As a decorated veteran of depression (ugh, I really hate the word), I think my roller coaster goes through the thorny forest and lands at the lily pad more often than most. In the last six years, I’ve had to re-learn to do a bunch of things, and it hasn’t been easy. I have realized, though, that I can still love and that nothing will take that from me — that nothing can. I suppose that’s a pretty groovy lily pad on which to land from time to time. The reality is that it’s super hard to go from expressing your love a million different ways in a day, to living a life quiet on that front. I guess my thorny forest is the loneliness theme.
BF: What is the best way for people to see your latest works?
KPS: New pieces for my own body of work pop up between the paid commissions and huge ‘on-spec’ projects like the one I’m on, so I tend to post them to social media (Facebook and Instagram). While it may not be as swanky as a website with a buy-it-now button, at least I have control over it. I truly am the biggest TOOL when it comes to anything technological. That was Dave’s thing. I’m lost, I tell ya. But I am currently working on another project with a programmer friend, and my hope is that it will bring my website into the now.
I will have a large painting (an old fave) in Sparks Gallery for their Animalia show, downtown at 530 6th Ave. Aaaaand my studio is pretty open (by appointment, of course) for anyone local. But the series of eight 30×40’s that I’m working on right now won’t be revealed as a whole until the spring. I’m sorry I can’t give more information on it now, but it’s not my ‘secret’ to let out of the bag.
BF: Has anything about the way you create your art substantially changed?
KPS: No changes. Pretty much same-same. My process is simply a part of me at this point. Sometimes I wonder how much more efficient I might be able to be, but even changing where I put my tools would just invite chaos, and jack with my muscle-memory. Lol.
BF: What is your current dream project?
KPS: My dream projects are the ones that start with big ideas and surprising imagery, real props, real budgets, and photographers. With control over lighting and narrative, I end up getting to work from the best of images, to bring crazy ideas to life that I otherwise couldn’t imagine clearly enough to paint. So my dream project might start as a collaboration between a myself and a photographer. Or maybe just a $$$ backer. But I dream about other projects, too. I think some part of my ancestry must have a clothing designer, a hair stylist, and an interior designer up in it, because I looooove doing projects of all kinds. I love to see old things repurposed and made new, and I love to create things I haven’t’ seen before — to have an idea and see it come to life is just magical. They say if you want to surprise anyone else, you gotta surprise yourself first. And I’m always down to try. 😉