All of her paintings are a piece of work on their own. However, there is a recurring pattern of certain colours and forms in the art of Canadian born artist Kayla Plosz Antiel. She is driven by colour and the way it can manipulate a painting. The abstract work is approachable and created in a playful setting, leaving interpretation open to the viewer.
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Could you tell a little about the process of your paintings — what happens from idea to final work?
I paint in that sort of ‘call and response’ method that a lot of abstract painters share. It’s about making an initial mark or colour and responding to it. I’m motivated by colour and the materiality of paint, so my process involves an on going dialectic between, on the one hand, my initial and intuitive bodily response to colour and texture and, on the other hand, my more logical decisions regarding form. I’m often working on several paintings at once, so the dialectic unfolds in works in isolation and across pieces. Because of this, I often find myself reworking pieces I was certain were resolved. It’s a frustrating process. In between there’s a lot of looking and reflecting.
Which art direction inspires you most?
Painting in general. In undergraduate school I first encountered good abstract paining, which influenced my direction. At the moment I’m very inspired by late 19th and early 20th century French painting, traditional folk art, textile work and contemporary minimalist painting.
How did you know you wanted to make a living out of working as an artist?
I was very fortunate to have a family supportive of the arts, so I can’t really think of a time when I considered doing anything else. I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Of course, sometimes you do what you need to in order to be able to do what you want to do. Hope that makes sense. So I also teach art as a means to support making my own.
Do you ask feedback on your work from people around you?
I have a couple close friends and mentors who are talented artists. I respect their work and they have a good critical eye. I appreciate honest feedback and I usually get that from them. Critique is absolutely necessary in order to grow as an artist.
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All your paintings have bright colours and are fresh and playful. Is this also the feeling you want to bring across with your work?
Lately, I tend to use more vibrant colours. As an artist I'm concerned with what goes into my paintings. Hopefully people see what work I’ve put in them. I'm less concerned with what feelings the viewer might come away with. I suppose that's the viewer’s concern. Mine is with the artefact as such.
In what ways do you play with colour and form?
In both a literal and a figurative sense. At it’s most basic, I play when I paint – it’s fun. I try to recreate colours in the studio that I’ve seen elsewhere, and I enjoy manipulating the substance and texture of paint. On a more serious level, play involves my process. I often proceed by free-play or association. I know colour theory and rules of painting, but sometimes I deviate. That’s play, too.
Which tools can you not work without to create your paintings?
I have used R&F brand pigment sticks for the past six years and won’t stop any time soon!
Is there a certain subject or theme that keeps coming back in your work?
Not consciously. Each painting becomes its own thing in the process. They may initially reference a specific subject but that tends to get lost by the time they are completed. Maybe that’s what recurs in my work. I do, however, often repeat certain colours and forms. Right now I’m using a lot of geometric forms, and lighter, higher key palettes.
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How has your style evolved over the years?
My paintings used to be a lot more organic and figural in form but are now becoming more geometric and structured.
Did having a child change your perspective on art – seeing how freely they work in their drawings?
Absolutely! It is inspiring to watch a child create and, in so doing, learn about the world around him. It has helped me to look with a closer eye at otherwise mundane things around me. I’ve become more intentional with my artistic decisions. I also think its changed the way I look at my own work: my paintings are much more precious to me, now.
Do you have an advice to give to other painters out there?
Keep making work despite the most difficult of circumstances. There are always roadblocks, perhaps even long periods of feeling like you’re failing. However, almost always, if you press through, something good comes out of those times. It’s absolutely crucial to keep making work. Bad and good.
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