Our Flootie Reporter Ginny Brennan shares an interview with Spokane Artist Kay West.
Ginny – Please share a brief introduction to who you are and what you do?
Kay – Previously I lived and worked in California and was in a corporate administrative position. It was fast-paced and detail oriented. I burned out and decided it was time to reinvent myself, get back to my art, and escape Southern California traffic and congestion. I truly wanted to be near water and selected Birch Bay, Washington after visiting the area. I lived in Birch Bay for a few years, where I got into real estate, which didn’t leave much time for artwork. In 2011 I moved to Spokane to be near my sister who has lived in Spokane for over 35 years. I have resided in Spokane for five years. I also joined River Ridge Fine Association of Fine Arts, eventually becoming a member of the board.
Ginny – What were your early works of art about?
Kay – My mother was very much into arts and crafts; we made a lot of handmade items and gifts. As a child, I was always making things with my hands. In high school and college I took formal art classes, learning the basics and developing my own sense of art appreciation. I has extremely shy and introverted, so art became my reason for going to high school and college. Later, after college, I started with watercolors but soon explored other media. As an adult, my art education continued by taking non-credit classes and experimenting with printmaking, photography, acrylics and mixed media. In helping one of my sons, I became involved with silversmithing and from there still create a line of sterling and copper jewelry that I sell on Etsy.
Ginny – What themes do you incorporate into your work?
Ginny – What type of art are you involved in?
Kay – I’ve posted about 5000 iPhoneography close-up shots of “Rust” on Instagram. I’ve worked on a photographic “Bondo Series” over the years, showing metal deterioration and stressed surfaces of autos, trucks, buses, tractors. But with the Instagram posts, it’s usually these wonderful effects that happen on rusted surfaces. Rust is a natural process, and I delight in photographing it. I wander about Spokane’s alleys and side streets, just open to whatever I might find in the way of decay and rust to photograph. After getting involved with RRAFA, I got back into acrylic painting, although I still take a lot of photographs.
Ginny – Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre of art? How did it turn out?
Kay – I had a very good friend in California who taught painting at a local college. After she retired she focused more on her poetry, and facilitated a weekly poetry critique group in her home. I had just gone through a divorce and poetry gave me a means to sort out all of the emotions involved in that time of my life. Poetry turned out to be a wonderful adventure in wordsmithing and led me to meet other poets. Which then led to a sudden trip to Paris in 2004 for a poetry workshop. That was my first time traveling out of the country alone, what a wonderful adventure! That love of poetry continues here in Spokane with its literary growth.
Ginny – Where do you gather most of your inspiration for your work?
Kay – Nature is my go-to, even for my abstractions.
Ginny – What was the best piece of advice you have received?
Kay – Practice, practice, practice. You don’t acquire skill without investing the time. It’s easier when you make art every day. You get the juices going.
Ginny – What is your favorite piece of work that you have created?
Kay – A photographic triptych of seaweed and beach debris, shot while in Morro Bay, CA. Unfortunately, I no longer have those negatives or prints.
Ginny – What are you working on at the moment?
Kay – My art endeavor right now is in developing an art gallery that will feature mostly local artists, but might include artists from other areas, as well. Little Dog Art Gallery will be opening May 14, 2016 at 903-½ W Garland Avenue, Spokane.
Ginny – Professionally what is your goal?
Kay – At this point my professional goal is to throw myself into developing the art gallery, promoting artists and helping to promote the Garland District of Spokane as a destination for visitors and Spokanites.
Ginny – Do you have any tips or inspiring words for other artists?
Kay – Be true to yourself, paint, or create what gives you pleasure.
Ginny – What is your favorite color, your favorite animal, favorite season, favorite movie, favorite book?
Kay – Oh Ginny, I hate those questions. My favorite color is rainbow; dogs and horses are my favorite animals; my favorite seasons are Spring and Fall; my favorite movie is the thriller/drama “Memento” — I love sitting in a darkened theater with popcorn. My favorite book? I’ve seldom met a book I didn’t like.
Ginny – Where else can we find you? Do you have an online website, or blog”?
Kay – I have a blog at firstname.lastname@example.org , which is mostly about my photography. My Instagram feed is @kweststudio8 and now @little_dog_art_gallery . You can also find my paintings and photographs at Little Garden Cafe on N.W. Boulevard, Spokane, for the months of May and June. In June, my photographs of cars and rust will be part of the Liberty Building exhibit, above Auntie’s Books. Starting May 14th, you will find me at Little Dog Art Gallery on West Garland Avenue, Spokane, Washington.