C. Kirk is an urban contemporary painter concentrating on figurative art. For more than a decade, he rambled across the country consuming legendary amounts of booze, drugs, sex, misadventure, and jail food. In 2005 he sobered up, settled down, married and turned his insatiable appetite toward becoming a successful artist. After stampeding the Dallas art scene, kirk’s art quickly became a sought after commodity by local collectors, visitors, and those just passing through.
Since then, C. Kirk has turned his focus toward a broader global audience. His work has been featured in publications (both in print and online) worldwide. The art of C. Kirk hangs in corporate and private collections across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. He lives and works in Texas.
Q. We would like to know how everything started for you… What triggered your interest in art? In painting?
A. My mother began to teach me to draw characters from my comic books probably when I was around 5 years old. I drew until I was probably 13 and then suddenly stopped. I guess art became less important because I was too busy seeking out pleasure, excitement and escape from reality. I had a brief stent in art school in 2000, but soon dropped out and didn’t pick up a pencil for at least 4 or 5 years afterward. In this time I worked every kind of job you could think of and even underwent pro wrestling training. I traveled the country for a year or so. I probably either stayed or passed through every state in America. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it was during this time on the road that picked up a pencil and began to fill sketchbooks full of distasteful, psychotic, autobiographical illustrations. Toward the end of my nation wide spree, I began to develop an interest in fine art. Like I said, I have no I idea what happened…I just remember that I was living in a furniture warehouse in Hickory North Carolina and decided that I was going to do everything in my power to become a successful fine artist.
Q. Are there any contemporary painters you admire?
A. There are so many contemporary painters that I admire that my list could become incredibly long. I have collaborated with a few artists who admire including THH70 and George Morton Clark. I’m also due to collaborate with the Canadian Stencil artist Indigo sometime this summer. I’m a fan of Guy Denning and many of the British figurative artists working today. The Berlin based painter Jaybo Monk is a huge inspiration for me, and a pretty nice guy to boot. I actually helped pick many of the artists for an upcoming group exhibit witch will be held at Seven Minus Seven in the US Virgin Islands toward the end of April. It was cool to be included in this process because many of the artist including Indigo, Jaybo Monk, and George Morton Clark, are some of my favorite contemporary painters working today.
Q. Are there any other artists that interest you?
A. Sure. Jenny Saville is a phenome. I’d give my left nut to be able to paint like that women.
Q. How do you choose your subjects?
A. A lot of the subjects I paint or draw are people that are close to me. My wife and my son both have been portrayed in my work on more than one occasion. I did two portraits of Indigo since late 2010. I did a portrait of my friend and mentor THH70 last year that turned out to be one of our collaborative pieces. I stay pretty busy nowadays so I don’t really get out much for social calls, so many of the subjects I draw are from various publications…basically everything from Vogue to old French nudie magazines.
Q. What are your inspirations?
A. I have a few inspirations for sure. One would be for my name and my work to wind up in museum collections and textbooks someday. I think it would be great to be remembered and put in that sort of league.
Q. Does ‘time’ and ‘space’ mean anything to you?
A. Time and space do mean something to me. Time for sure because that is something I have very little of today. Between having a wife, young son, and being self-employed, I stay pretty busy. I recently thought how nice it would be to have an assistant, but then realized that I would micromanage things way too much and really wouldn’t trust anyone else to handle things for me.
Space is easy. Space and depth is what I use to visually create works.
Q. Is there a story behind your work?
A. Sometimes there is. Other times my work is based on observation. What I think really tells the story in my paintings is the different uses of media, technique, texture, line, ect… Many of my works are based strictly on a character defect or human experience. I don’t like to tell people what they should get from viewing my work. I like for them to walk away with their own experience and hopefully identify with some aspect of the piece. I think that is what great art does for people.
Q. What materials do you use?
A. I use a slew of different materials. I use oil, acrylic, spray paint, charcoal, chalk, prisma, tape, and paper. I guess that’s primarily what I have used to create my current body of work.
Q. Are there specific techniques that you prefer?
A. I find many of the traditional techniques to be very helpful and fulfilling. One that I started to use last year would be to either paint your surface first to create a mid tone or to work off of Darker toned papers. When using white paper or primed canvas, I still generally create a mid tone very quickly. For me, having a mid tone is easier when building a composition. Occasionally I’ll create my mid tone later in the work using thinned out paint and rubbing areas with a rag to lighten them up.
Another technique that I like to use is one I call “The take away” method. Basically I just rub out areas of the paint/charcoal to create highlights or sometimes abstraction.
Q. Have you ever collaborated with other painters?
A. Yes. Like I mentioned above, I have collaborated with THH70 on several occasions and last year did a piece with London based artist George Morton Clark.
Q. How about your first exhibition? Did you face any challenges?
A. My main challenge early on was my ego. My work began to sell very quickly when I began showing in Dallas. There were some occasions when my art would sell out during a show. I was so driven but still very GREEN, that when a gallery owner didn’t sell my work, I would become angry. Nowadays, I realize that sometimes art doesn’t always sell. Sometimes as an artist, you go through ruts or slow periods.
Q. Do you have a favorite piece among your works?
A. Last year definitely. “Manone” was the star of my 2010 body of work. There were some other good pieces, but “Manone” topped the all in my opinion. From my current collection I can’t pick favorite piece. I put a lot of effort into not putting out any filler this year. I wanted every piece to be able to stand on it’s own as a top quality piece of art. I don’t believe there is one star of the collection this year.
Q. You documentation pieces quite impressive! What pushed you to actually do this?
A. Thank you. Vimby.com did a video interview over a couple of my 2009 pieces that received an amazing number of hits. Later THH70 began filming me during the creation of my 2010 body of work. I enjoyed the documentation, but didn’t necessarily like how THH70 edited the videos. I wanted to film/edit the videos myself to have complete creative control. Also, I don’t do live paintings anymore, so I guess I just wanted to find a way to allow people to see how my pieces were created in the most entertaining way that I could.
Q. Did you prepare them yourself?
Q. What materials were used while filming?
A. I used a Cannon Power Shot SD3500 IS. Also, some of the photographs were taken with a Cannon Ultrasonic thanks to Clay Jones of Seven Minus Seven
Q. Are you working on new projects currently?
A. Actually for the last 3 or 4 weeks since releasing my new work, I’ve been doing interviews, sending in info/jpegs for features in magazines and blogs, gathering and preparing info for business collaborations, shipping art to buyers, etc… I haven’t been able to paint or draw since releasing the 2011 collection. I’m not complaining though, because things will eventually slow down and then I’ll be complaining because there’s nothing going on.
Q. What are your professional ambitions and your projects for 2011?
A. I have a few goals and plans for this year. I want to get started on phase two of my 2011 work. Right now I have a very limited number of paintings available. If I don’t get to work on more, things are going to get pretty slow pretty fast! I want to independently release some limited edition prints this year. Hopefully the first run will be successful and I can release a print once every month or two. I hope that my collaborations with 5 pieces gallery in Switzerland will be a successful one. I have also recently started a partnership with a company in Austria called Baloome.com. They will be offering a selection of my works as T shirts and digital prints on canvas. I hope offering my works in capacity will be successful as well. I am also looking for more galleries around the world where I might find opportunities to exhibit my available works. One of the most important things for me is to keep moving.
Q. How do you hope Pelime can help with this?
A. I hope that my membership and participation on Pelime can be beneficial to everyone I work with. Thanks again for the invite.