We visit the studio of artist Kindah Khalidy, whose joyful, hyper-chromatic, expansive works will bring you all the feels.
How did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I originally was on track to do fashion design, but was unable to find the fabrics that I wanted. I then studied textile design and painting, and now these two fields are my main focus. I love making tactile things for people, and painting is more expressive in that you don’t worry too much about creating a product.
Tell us about your use (and love) of color.
Color drives my process – I’m constantly scanning throughout the day for striking or odd color combos. It could be someone’s outfit or scattered recyclables on the ground; inspiration could be anywhere.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your career?
Being an artist is my full time job, and it is tough sometimes to balance being creative and also being a businesswoman. Most of my time is spent on the business side, so I usually end up having to work overtime to get that creative time in too. It’s truly special though, because I get to call all of the shots.
What part of being a painter brings you the most joy?
I get to express myself, in an uninhibited way. When I start painting, it’s not about how much makeup I have on, or how much my outfit costs—I think women especially need a break from all of that . We’re constantly being bombarded with ideas of what we should be like. Making art allows me to step out of my body for a bit and translate my ideas visually.
Can you tell us about your studio?
I wanted a light space and a blank canvas so that everything else could be a pop of color. When I’m working in my studio, it feels like I’m inside of one of my paintings.
Do you consider yourself an artistic descendent of Helen Frankenthaler?
Wow, thanks for asking! I love her work, and as a woman creating expressive paintings I hope that I can carry the torch for women painters before me.
Is your personal style as bright and colorful as your paintings?
I love to pile on prints but there are some subdued moments in there too. LR shoes have such a clean physique and can balance out a crazy print or fancy up something super casual such as a mumu. I like to pair casual clothing with a sophisticated shoe.
Is there a message behind each work you make?
My paintings are a lot like life; there’s the chaos, the moments of quiet, the humor, the humility, perfect and ugly. Everything would be boring if it was just perfect. So, I try to show the realness of how we live.
With abstract, non-figurative work, you hear a lot of people say, “my five year old could do that.” Even greats like Cy Twombly have faced that critique. What’s your response?
Art is a complicated language, and while a lot of it is subjective there is a longstanding history that helps us learn how a piece speaks to us and what it’s trying to say. I think when people say that, they are having a hard time understanding the context and process behind something. When you can read the language, it’s a lot more enjoyable to look at; you can see and appreciate the technique and experience that goes into making something “easy” looking. It’s really not that easy at all.”
Favorite artist quote of all time?
“If you can talk about it, why paint it?”- Francis Bacon
What’s next for you?
Next year I have some exciting projects coming out, one of them will be things for your home…hint hint!
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