Inspired by the Disney films from her childhood, Illinois-based artist Beverly Kedzior creates her work using both traditional and non-traditional tools and printing techniques bringing together the elements of color, texture, and space.
In this interview, she shares how her favorite childhood movies influenced her work, the most important tools in her studio and what she enjoys most about meeting collectors of her work.
When did you first become interested in art?
When I was in 1st grade, the teacher displayed the individual snowman pictures the class had created. The pictures were hanging above the blackboards and banners on 3 walls of the classroom. When I spotted mine, I was surprised to see how good it looked among the others. Throughout grade school, I was put to work making posters and banners for my teachers. It felt right and good. I still laugh today when I think of how many classes I was excused from so I could make those posters.
Share a bit about how Disney films from your childhood have influenced your work.
As a child, I was in love with Disney films……Snow White, Peter Pan, Dumbo, and Bambi to name a few. I had books from those movies and traced and drew the images in those books over and over.
Years later when I went to art school, I began to realize the effect those movies and books had on me. My abstract drawings and paintings looked like abstract backgrounds for those movies with a few bulbous images (think seven dwarfs) invading that background.
Some time ago, I discovered that a genetic disorder lay deep in my family history. In searching for answers, I scoured medical and DNA books and found a correlation between the illustrations there and the organic, cartoony images I was already using. So I made a conscious decision to combine these disparate sources. Even though it seems that animated movies and cartoons have nothing to do with medical illustrations, I see a strong relationship and that is what turns up in my work.
The Shape of Me
You graduated from Barat College and the Art Institute of Chicago. Was there a professor who influenced you as an artist?
There wasn’t a particular professor that influenced me, but rather a focus on getting the basics down. I have always appreciated the fact that I learned to draw and paint in the traditional way. Drawing classes had live models and we learned to draw the figure. The painting classes stressed color theory. And, of course, there was art history. Even though I have chosen to be an abstract painter, I have always felt those classes honed my skills in a way that allowed me to chose my own way as an artist.
What do you consider to be the most important tool(s) in your artist studio?
In a way, my paintings have a lot in common with printmaking. I use masking tape to cut through to reveal my images and I use squeegees to pull the paint through. So I would say my most important tools are masking tape, cutting knives, and squeegees.
Is there a particular color palette, or palettes that you find yourself using often?
I like to mix it up when it comes to color. I usually start with a sketch showing the values of the images. That usually suggests a few colors since there are colors that work only as light values, such as yellow or white, and other colors that only work as dark values, such as black and navy.
In your recent artist catalog, you feature three series (The Spatial Series, The Geometry Series and The Process Series) out of the three series, which brought you the most joy?
I loved doing the Spatial Series. Those paintings go right back to my infatuation with cartoon backgrounds as in The Jetson’s cartoons with a mixture of Disney, DNA, and/or Medical illustrations. They are such fun to do. Each time I lay a color down and pull off the tape, it is like opening a treasure chest. The revealed image and color then suggest the next image and color.
What do you enjoy the most about meeting collectors of your work?
Usually, a collector is first attracted to the aesthetics of a work. Once a dialogue is started with them, they are amazed and delighted by the origins of the images. It is fun to hear what they perceive in one of my paintings. Since the work is abstract, the viewer brings their own impressions to the work. Sometimes, I am surprised to hear what a collector “sees” in a piece. I think my work releases the inner child in the viewer and allows them to embrace and revel in it.