Interview: A Devotion to Art with Kim Keever

Kim Keever is an abstract artist living in New York City who uses water and paint to create otherworldly scenes exhibited in prestigious galleries including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Nassau County Museum of Fine Art, George Washington University Gallery, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and many more.

When did you first start making art?

We would occasionally make art in my kindergarten class but it wasn’t until I got the first grade that I felt like I was making art. We were given an assignment to paint a tree and my tree was better than the other kids. It was then that I knew I had some talent. Though the art periods were always my favourite times in my later school years, I never took it seriously even though I was able to major and minor in art at the excellent high school in Chicago, Lane Technical High School.

Would you describe it as a calling?

Yes, you could say that. Having finished most of my Masters degree in engineering, I made an absolute decision, come hell or high water, that I would make art for the rest of my life.

I have always felt like this is my best talent.

I can’t say I’ve ever really looked back regrettably. It’s been rough going for many years but I am finally having some real success.

Did you find it natural to think of yourself as an artist?

Not only did I think it was natural to call myself an artist but I felt like it was a real profession. It wasn’t something that I felt like I could pick up every now and then. It has always been true dedication for me.

Were you surprised that other people liked your work?

Maybe the opposite is true, I was surprised that people didn’t like it more. Having thrown myself into the life and feeling like I had real talent, I was convinced that success would come easily. Perhaps that was my way of subconsciously making the plunge without really considering all the details.

Have you ever been nervous about releasing it?

Not really. Though my father often tried to convince me that I was someone special, I didn’t really think of myself as being special. Perhaps it was his attitude towards me that I was special that made me believe that my art was special.

What inspires you?

At this point I have taken over for 35,000 photos in the last four years in the abstract series. Of those I probably feel like maybe I have 100 that are amazing.

I’m always looking for that 101st photo that fits in with the very best.

The continual search for something wonderfully surprising in a random way is what inspires me. When I say in a random way, what I mean is that I have very little control as to what will happen when the paint hits the water.

Do your pieces tell a story?

I think if they tell stories, they are short stories but they are beautiful and poignant stories. I’m always looking for color combinations and forms I haven’t seen before.

Is the act of a creation a spiritual one for you?

Yes, it is a spiritual practice. I have always been guided by the beauty and awe of art in general. Perhaps you could say museums are a temple for me.

Do you feel creating is integral for a happy and healthy life?

In my case, yes. I would have been a mediocre engineer because my heart wasn’t into it. But the constant striving to make the best art I could make has always made me feel happy.