m.paul kirby: september 14th
This month we are please to feature busy local artist M. Paul Kirby. You may recognize the infamous "birdie" character he paints or cuts from wood. He has created a very special and exclusive $30 birdie series just for his show at DNA. These are especially targeted to you art collectors on a budget, so come snatch them up, only 30 will available!
How would you describe your work?
The aesthetic of my work tends to lean towards the visionary and the otherworldly. It's unexpected dreamlike nature borrows from the surrealists while its allusion to the familiar could draw comparison to the lowbrow comic culture of the 1930's or the pop art movement of the 1960's. While it's impossible to escape all visual influences, I strive to create a world that is distinctly my own.
What inspires you?
Thematically, I'm influenced primarily by my experiences throughout life, by my interactions with other people and by the environment in which we live. The themes within the artwork are delicately intertwined with memories from the past, emotions of the present, and the fears and hopes of the future.I strive to use my work not only as a cathartic tool for myself but as a way to communicate the indefinable feelings of being human. I never felt like it was my job as an artist to always make the viewer feel comfortable, but I do feel obligated to illicit within the viewer something visceral and unexplainable. What is beautiful to one viewer will be grotesque to another, but a very important aspect of being an artist, for me, is to initiate creative and progressive dialogue between different schools of thought. All of my work is an effort to grow and evolve, to rise from the ashes and begin anew, to progress to a higher level of thought, to disconnect and reorganize. Everything inspires me.
How did you get started?
I initially used it as a means of self exploration and as a dissociative activity. I did it as a kid to sort of pass the time and take my mind on journeys because I was always a loner. I was totally the quiet weird kid in school much like I'm the quiet socially awkward adult now. I started getting more serious about it around 2004-2005. It got a lot more "professional" around 2007 when I started doing more touring and small exhibitions. Creativity and producing artwork are a lot different than doing exhibitions and shows. So while the essence of what I do has been there for a long time, the shows came much later in life. I've been so fortunate and honored that people relate to whatever that thing is that I do. Seeing the response is extremely humbling. Hearing other's explanations of my work are one of my favorite guilty pleasures in life. People have amazing imaginations and it's so cool when they take an image or an idea that you've made and run with it mentally! The fact that something as simple, in theory, as Bird can be a catalyst for creative dialogue is a gift I could never explain in words. People see the works and read the titles and then completely make up their own stories. They get tattoos, they do fan art, they write fiction, they relate to it in ways only known to them and it becomes a very intimate experience. Seeing all of it unfold sometimes brings me tears. The fact that I can somehow share in a moment with the viewer on that level is... magic. If I know one thing it's that nothing in life is guaranteed to last, so I'm sincerely thankful from the bottom of my heart for every moment.
What are your goals for the future?
I hope to perfect the art of guacamole making. I've found that only the greatest of people make great guacamole. So, when I reach that peak I'll know I've truly become one with the totality of all things.