by Daryle Dickens (July 2006)
If you have been to a coffee house in Fort Collins this summer, any coffee house, chances are you’ve seen kEith kimmel’s work. At one show it was especially hard to miss the 15 foot high painting of Christ. kEith is definitely an artist with a mission. One that consumes his life. He has published a novel, performes live music, writes poetry, and paints a lot. A man that is walking many roads.
ZAF622: So what road are you on now kEith?
kEith kimmel: I am on a road of artistic exploration, creative journey. More specifically I am focusing on my visual arts and attempting to make a career and develop.
ZAF: So is your primary artistic outlet painting in oil?
kk: Well I paint, I have my studio, I make music and I write and I do visual art. And within the painting there is all these different levels. So that’s the thing, you can do one thing and get really into it or you can keep going around and doing a bunch of different things and keep drawing and sketching and painting and this and that. And that is where the challenge comes in, trying to find a focus with all this stuff around us and technology and everything the way it is. And so what I have been doing ever since the Truth and Lies Experiment is been experimenting and trying to find which medium is it for me. I enjoy writing, I wrote that novel, (Jeremy’s Prophecy), I enjoy visual art, I enjoy music, and I enjoy words. What you asked is about painting. I use acrylics, I use oils, I use pastels or any sort of medium, visual art medium, I can use ink. I may put words into it. So in essence its always just a creation.
ZAF: You seem to be an artist that pulls mediums together. Like in your novel for example where you pulled in the internet to the novel.
kk: It’s called an over active mind. A lot of thinking and taking things to multiple levels, I really enjoy that. Like with the series of paintings I have on display now. It is not just the paintings and what they look like. It’s the paintings, what they’re saying. They’re social commentary, there is spiritual exploration. There is contrast between beauty and destruction. There are all these things. And again they’re all just like “hits” and over time, over years of doing this they’ll all really be like clear as day to exactly what is going on. So it is continual development and refinement of this inspiration. That is what I am doing. So with the book it is obviously a story but it is also an interactive novel. It was a concept too. It wasn’t just a story it was a concept. It was a book about the creation of a website. So not only was it a book but it was a new medium that I was exploring back in 2000. And I don’t even think it has even really been pulled off yet. That type of medium that I was attempting to do back then.
ZAF: How long have you been an artist?
kk: My whole life. Jeremy’s Prophecy was when I was like I really gotta be doing something big. Or profound or in the public. It was like time was up, it was like I gotta get started here. I was just a graphic designer and I was not happy, I could not function being just a graphic designer working for somebody. I was working in post production in Florida. But I still say my whole life. I used to make videos. Music videos with our video camera. And I would do animation with my brother, like stop motion animation stuff. Used to take tape recorders and do radio shows. So it is literally like I am 5 or 10 years old again now doing the same thing though its more advanced equipment and in the public arena.
ZAF: Was it hard for you to step into that public arena?
kk: Well what happened was Jeremy’s Prophecy taught me a lot. Before that book I wasn’t as public and out as I am now. It was much more I had a book and that book is gonna be read and its going to be great. Then I realized no one cares and no one in the book industry wants to read my book. And no one in New York is willing to take me on as a publisher and all this stuff. And I had to make a living and I gave everything I had into this thing. And everybody just kept on walking as if it didn’t even matter. It was amazing to me in my world view. Because I was innocent and naïve enough to think you know you write a book and you know your done. I was like isn’t that enough? Haven’t I done enough? So it has been a gradual development and gradual experimentation.
ZAF: So let’s talk about fear. That is a big part of an artistic life.
kk: It is. It really is. Ultimately what you’re doing is paving a road that is external but it is also internal. So when you express yourself your just a revelation of yourself. And it leaves you open to interpretation and criticism and all sorts of things. And also on some level there is also a defined status quo that we all each day function in. But it is only defined, it is not necessarily fact. It is very rooted so it almost seems like fact so what you do when you attempt artistic expression is you begin to stray from that and pave your own path. That can be frightening because your now no longer, your reality is not as well engaged in the fabrics of what is the status quo. The funny thing about the status quo is that it is quite illusionary. But for me personally I find that one of the motivating factors is the injustice and disharmony in the status quo. And that can really push me to want to go beyond that. Just the fact that life can not be as beautiful as it is. As an artist there are profound moments that are beautiful and it is like why not all the time?
ZAF: So what do you have coming up next?
kk: Well I have the studio tour coming up. I don’t think I am going to do any more coffee house shows. Now I am just going to find my way. I really want to get into my studio and develop a little more before I have another show. I want to try and sell some of my work. I’d love to sell some work. I’d sell cheaply and paint things that people want just to sell a piece of my art. Because I do feel like I am going somewhere and over time have a career. And they may be worth something so it may be good to get in now. So if anybody’s interested I will sell stuff cheaply. But right now I really want to get back into my work rather than promote.