Interview with Artist Kimie Flores on Nov. 29, 2016.
A young artist filled with ambition and guts as she finishes her senior year at Texas State.
Marlene: Why art? What is your background?
Kimie: Well I’ve always done art for a really long time since I was a kid. It was something I was gravitated towards because I was a really quiet kid so drawing was really there, it amused me.
K: But I’ve never thought like… because originally I was going to school for animation. That didn’t work out so I end up coming here to Texas State and they introduce me to the Com Des program which is the closest thing —It is a lot of digital stuff like in compass of that program. So, I started doing that and maybe when I was half way finish with it I took a painting course here. I painting at home a lot and drew a lot of things but I’ve never have done that here. So when I took the course it was what people thought I was a painting major or the teacher was like, “Are you in the program?” and I was like,“no”,and he was like, “What the fuck is wrong with you.”
M: He was like you should!
K: I know! So that day I said, “I guess I’m going to double mayor.”
I was halfway finish but I took on more. It just happened that way. They both give me satisfaction in different ways. So is kind of nice to find the harmony in them.
M: Yeah, so in graphic design do you use your own paintings?
K: Yeah, I use elements of my paintings in them. I feel like as long as you have that touch it will come across in whatever you do. So, I guess it is what relates them or keeps them kind of connected. And too I’m a gemini and I feel like i’m forever seeking balance!
M: Do you see them sometimes fighting each other?
K: Yeah! Because it is like graphic design there is too many rules with type, the golden ratio, compositionally fix. Then, in painting you have the old masters and pre historic times that you can’t do this and that. Then, there is like this contemporary point now where you throw that out and you have to make it fresh because everything has been done. So, now it is just finding things you like just like if you are going shopping. Finding things you like that you know it will look good on you and then trying to make it match with things you already have.
M: Oh my gosh, so it is a lot of balance. Do you sometimes get stuck?
K: Oh yeah! I like, get stuck a lot. Just when I feel I’m pressured into a certain thing. And when I get my own idea going it’s pretty good. Because I know what my aesthetic is and I know what influences me. Whenever I feel somebody else forces or corners me in a direction that is when I feel I get stuck. It is like they are taking a whole on my idea. They try to manipulated into something it isn’t yet, because they don’t fully understand it quite yet. So, that is where I get kind of like, “okay hold on I have to stop”, and reevaluate it and find a compromise. A bit of their feedback —because I do appreciate what people say and I think it is important to know who your audience is. And two, to really stick to what you like, you have to make it. You know it has your name on it you have to love it at the end of the day. It’s not like you’re making it for someone else expectations. It’s good to keep it in mind but not to completely have them to guide you through the whole process.
M: It’s a lot to take in consideration. So then, how did you come up with this concept [in the thesis project]? Were you struggling?
K: There is like a painter called Roy Lichtenstein and he did a lot of like comic book based style in like the 60s. It was during the abstraction expressionism, and people kept on looking at this like, “What is this?”. And I remember I saw some stuff of his and I really liked it. Just how it was flat and really graphic and I like comics and stuff so I was super into that. I like painting with figure it always been like that. I’m a people person and I like talking to people and getting to know them so I wanted to play around with a picture of my tattoo artist and putting him in a flat geometric environment to see how the contrast would be. The push and pull and I painted that first one and the idea kind of kept going. So with each one I tried to do it in a very different way.
M: So talking about that artist, do you identify with him a lot in your work?
K: That was someone who like in different phases in your life or trends that kind of come and go. So you just go through different things. So even with each painting I felt like I would find artist that would be inspired by the previous one and then I would use the influences in that painting and then just to the another one. Thenn find another artist they like and then tweak it and then the next and kind of use the ones I really liked. So it was a whole of things of different things.
M: Is there like a favorite one that you have? Artist? Or things you grab pieces of that style?
K: I love, love, love Eric Jones. He like an artist of today. He is super big in New York. And Patrick Caulfield has been somebody who I have been interested in. He can paint like his fucking ass off. Perfect, so prestige just beautiful work but he would do like basic forms. It’s like in painting, people think if you can paint realistic you obviously made it. But that is not the case, you can easily corner yourself into this weird little like “that is all you do and that is what you are known for.” You have to find different things to kind of keep it interesting or it will be stagnant. You don’t always want to make the same thing.
M: Do you find yourself doing that, sometimes?
K: You know, I feel like if I’m doing the same painting for more than 2 to 3 paintings, I feel like I am crazy! It’s like I jump into something else. I’ve always been kind of known for that as a jumper. I jump styles. It’s like a do realistic paintings and then jump to this weird thing I made (sculpted) out of foam and this frame and then there is this little painting inside of it. It’s just weird. Then I’m like okay I did that now I’m going to jump back to this— and it’s like a cartoon. It is just so weird and I feel like I keep jumping. It is to kind of keep me satisfy because if I keep doing the same thing is just boring.
M: Yeah, and then it also has a lot of variety.
K: Mhm, it’s good. It’s just like shoes. It’s like having different shoes who wants to wear the same dam shoes all the time.
M: Yes! It’s so true though.
K: Right, it is like that. You need different things so like whenever you’re like “no, i’m going to wear these shoes from two years ago they look good again.” It’s kind of like that, where I feel like that is how my brain works. Where this is cool right now and then no and “jump”, and it’s like okay I like this, “Jump”. So it’s like the work I’m going to do after this is like not even going to be like that.
K: Yeah! So i’m jumping into something else.
M: So, is it going to be a different concept?
K: I think I want to do video stuff. Just of… like the animation, go back to the animation and then play around with that. With geometric shapes but in the real world. So like record just people interacting and then placing these things around them and having that overlap I think will be really cool.
M: Oh my gosh, wow! So then, why didn’t you go into animation then?
K: When I graduated I was sixteen I went to this art institute and I saw all these people’s work and I was still like a baby. In my small town I thought I was “oh my God”, but then when I saw their work it scared me into wanting to be better. They were so good at what they did and it was really amazing to see them being so confident in what they were doing. And I didn’t have that yet because I was still really young. So then I took some time off from school and painted and drew. Because honestly, I never want to feel like that again where my work wasn’t…It was obviously high school compared to people who knew what they wanted to do with their career. They were just so focused on that and I didn’t have that yet. Then, when I came here I already had that idea that I’m going to do that stuff but then painting came along and it side swipe me and it just changed everything. I didn’t think that I would take something I did as a hobby so seriously.
Especially it’s really hard whenever you have something you hold precious and you put it out in the world and people judge it. They don’t know you, your aesthetic or anything about you. They just know of what they see. So it is kind of hard to get the point across. You have to know that as an artist, what they get is what they get and that is okay. So, it is that weird acceptance of people don’t completely understand you. At the same time be open to suggestions, be open to their thoughts and it is okay that not everyone like it. Always kind of want to get better don’t ever want to be in the same spot. If you are too comfortable then you are not really pushing yourself as an artist. You always want to be uncomfortable if you want to grow as an artist. So, that is kind of maturity to grow up and learn this.
M: Was it hard at first to understand that?
K: It is a learning process. Of course when you get into critiquing and stuff—it sucks! It feels like you are getting picked on. You feel like people are attacking you but you have to realize it is honest opinion. That is just the real world people don’t agree on the same thing. That is okay because if people agreed on everything even the world would be stagnant. There is a need for disruption or conflict for room for change. So, it just takes learning and experience in that. Nobody can really teach you that.
M: As an artist, what do you want to be remembered as?
K: As a badass paint slinging no..I dont know. I would like to be remember as somebody who did their thing and kind of an inspiration to others. Like I got to consume my life into something that I love. Maybe more people should do that. For example, you don’t have to do something you hate and think that is making it in life. You can still have what you love and still be happy.
M: Is there any advice you would give to another artist or people who are struggling in the art world?
K: Don’t compare yourself to somebody else. Don’t do that because you will never going to be happy. Be yourself because there is one you and they are just being themselves too. So don’t try to copy because they are already taken. Just do your thing. That is just from experience I remember I used to do it a lot— it just makes you miserable. So fuck it, don’t do it.
(Word Count: 2068)