“Everything at once”, the latest solo exhibition of new works by Dave Kinsey will open at Joshua Liner Gallery in New York this December the 13th. Curbs & Stoops had a chance to do a small exclusive interview with the artist prior to his exhibition.
Who is Dave Kinsey?
A workaholic spinning around on this rock in the middle of nowhere; painter, designer, slacker.
What do you hope to achieve with your work? Could you talk a little bit about the meaning and message behind the beautiful paintings?
I like to think that people can get something positive from it. Creating art is like writing a book in a sense—if there’s an audience out there that enjoys reading it, that’s inspiring to me. I guess I’d like people to see what I’m trying to convey and let those ideas come together as they contemplate the work. But all-in-all, every piece has its own narrative depending on each person’s life and experience filter.
Regarding messages and meaning, my work tends to be a loaded visual dialogue. It’s my attempt to decipher and communicate what I see in the world by exploring social, political and even environmental issues. I like to think of my paintings like intersecting planes of glass sandwiched altogether into one story. For me, this kind of menagerie of images creates depth and perspective as well as exploring various narratives or dimensions of an issue.
How has moving away from Los Angeles after living there for many years changed your lifestyle and how does it affect your work?
I have to say it’s been one of the more unexpected moves I’ve ever made, but I’m glad I did. After almost 15 years of primarily focusing my attention on BLK/MRKT studio and gallery, my life’s taken on a simpler and more intense focus, which is synonymous with living in here in the Sierras. Having so much quiet around is kind of strange and inspiring all at the same time. I’m able to get closer to my work as a result and I’m finding it becoming more and more intricate. I love California. To me, it’s cool that I can live in the mountains between LA & SF and be only a few hours drive from both.
How did you develop your trademark palette and why such a precise palette for such diverse work?
When I was a kid, my Dad had a factory that rebuilt AC & DC electric motors. The place was a shit hole, and the only thing that brought life to this dingy chemical infested hell was the bright red/orange primer they used on the new motors. It was so intense and vibrant that you couldn’t help but be drawn to it—and it stuck with me. So that’s how that came about. The blue is the cool to the hot and I love the energy and clashing that happens when those two colors collide—the feeling of discord and tension within the environment of the painting says a lot about the state of things to me.
You were one of the pioneers of the Street Art movement in the 90′s. How do you see the current street-art scene and where do you think it’s going?
That’s starting to feel like a long time ago, heh. In a nutshell, I think street art is a constantly changing and evolving animal that’s here to stay. Artists just keep moving it forward and some, like JR are even reinventing it. It’s good to see.
The title of your new exhibition is “Everything at Once”— it suggests our more and more insane consumer attitude in all fields in life. Could you talk about the message of this exhibition?
Consumerism is definitely one aspect of it. Now throw in the clashing of the civilized and natural world, climate change, social identity, the complexities of political systems, religion, war and protest, human rights and you have it—a bombardment of everything we create and are therefore subjected to. You know, all the fun things…
Along this vein, I’ll also be exhibiting some new, almost entirely abstract pieces based on the dissemination of information via modern media. I’m attempting to create a visual testimony to the constant influx of information that is becoming more and more abstracted and addicting—even standard news is taking on an entertainment-like format these days, vying for our (limited) attention. At what point do we turn into zombies?
With your design called “UNITED”, you actively participated in Obama’s reelection campaign. What was the major motivation to have this political engagement? Or as somebody who has history in the street art movement during the 90s did it actually come naturally?
I really wanted to try and do something to inspire the younger people who I feared had become apathetic since 2008. Also, there’s been so much appalling rhetoric toward President Obama by media conglomerates like Fox “News” and the extremist asshole right wing in the U.S. that I was troubled enough to try and do something about it.
I feel that if Obama lost the election it would have had major consequences. I’ve heard people say it doesn’t matter who’s in the White House, but that’s total bullshit. This election in particular was a huge decision in the direction we want to go in as a nation. Right now the establishment is fighting for its life, trying to go back to a time when no one but the rich white men had freedom. Fuck that! I’ve always been unnerved by fucked up things I see in the world, so I can definitely credit my street days—graffiti, hip hop, punk and skateboarding—for helping fuel my self expression.
Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
After my upcoming show in NY, I have solo shows scheduled in both Berlin and Zürich in 2013. I’ll also be making a trip to Ghana, if the funding works out, to teach art to kids and paint murals with them as part of a program to help bring modern art to children that don’t have the same exposure as some other kids around the world. I’ve got my new bottle design coming out that was commissioned by Absolut Vodka, set to be released early next year, and a few other things in the works that are on the dl for now.
To learn more about Dave Kinsey please visit www.kinseyvisual.com
Interview by Linda Lendvai.