22 August 2014

Artist State of Mind: KP |FUNISM|

Meet KP! 

So excited to introduce you to yet another amazing artist who goes by the name KP. Anonymity is a must in order to the protect the identity of KP who is also know in her town as "The Chalk Bandit of Hermosa Beach". Pretty intriguing right...??! She's been dubbed "The Chalk Bandit of Hermosa Beach" because of the positive + inspiring chalk messages she leaves all around the HB area. I discovered KP's work via her Instagram page @Funism + I instantly loved it! Not only does she spread positive + inspiring messages with her work, but she does so utilizing a medium/platform that is so unique + is for everybody in the community! Read on below to find out more about this inspiring + mysterious artist! :)

BSOM: What artist do you feel as influenced or inspired you the most?

KP: The first time I became aware of “Street Art” was when I would go to Hollywood at the age of 15 and see the spray-paint silhouettes of the “LA Phantom”.  They were like black hollow ghosts who stayed permanently on corners with messages scribbled across their chests like “Art Saves Lives” or “Lost Angeles”.  I love the idea of anonymously creating something as a gift to strangers. I feel that is different than simply marking property that doesn't belong to you as a territorial pissing. 

One of her favorite mediums of choice!

BSOM: What types of art do you prefer?

KP: When I see something that inspires me, invokes emotion, or makes me think, I fall in love with it.  This can happen with music, photography, dance, paint, poetry writing. There are too many types of art to mention. I love the Balinese saying “We don’t believe in ART, we try to make everything as beautiful as possible.”

BSOM: When you first began creating art, what medium did you experiment with first?

KP: I have a piece of brown paper with red ball point pen writing that says “When I grow up, I want to be an artist”.  I was probably 7 years old.  Unfortunately, I was told I couldn’t grow up to be an artist because I didn't know how to draw.  I was 15 when I started writing every day, so I suppose that would be my first medium.  When I was 20 I started taking photos and using them to make collages with magazine clipping and paint. So, perhaps that would be the medium I experimented with first.

BSOM: What is your favorite medium to use + why?

KP: These days I use chalk a lot, because I like to leave quotes, drawings, messages for strangers, but also want to respect the personal and public property of others.  Chalk is a great medium because it is temporary, so the pressure to create you epic masterpiece is diminished. There is nostalgia to using chalk; it is reminiscent of playing hopscotch on sidewalks on a summer day or a beloved teacher asking you to erase the day’s chalkboard lessons, getting to go outside to smack the chalkboard erasers together, watching the dust fly out like smoke.

Artist in action!

BSOM: What creative medium would you love to pursue but haven't yet? 

KP: I would love to paint a giant mural, something bright and permanent and public.  It would be fun to have the tools and ability to edit movies as well.

BSOM: How long have you been consciously creating art?

KP: I was 21 years old when my boyfriend (now my husband) said to me “I am a big fan of your art”.  Until then, I didn't consider I was “creating art” I just thought I was making stuff- stuff for me to hang on my walls, stuff for me to decorate my fish tank, stuff for my friends to do with me for fun. So, if we count from that moment when I first imagined my stuff could be perceived as “Art”, it’s been 26 years.

BSOM: Are you a self taught artist or did someone show you the ropes?

KP: Oh how I wish I had gone to art school, any art school, any classes about art.  (I did take two photography classes and miss the therapeutic benefits of the darkroom) I know it is never too late… But as of yet, I have no formal education.

BSOM: How has your work developed through the years? Where did you start? Where are you now? Where do you see your art going?/Where do you want it to go?

KP: This is an interesting question.  My photography has improved through trial and error and one Photoshop class I forgot to mention in the last question.  The wonderful thing about YouTube is that whatever you want to learn, you can find a lesson.  I started at the beginning, just making things as a means to express myself.  For a few years I even made a decent living as a photographer, but these days everyone is a “photographer” just by using a phone and some apps.  Where I see my art going is more of the same- creating to make myself feel good, to communicate, to express. I will continue to chalk the walls until I am arrested, and probably even more after that.

BSOM: How has your art changed over time?

KP: Different mediums, different moods, but always the same- Childlike,  childish, simple and uncomplicated.

BSOM: Do you have any other creative outlets?

KP: I think I covered them all, but just in case:
Funism: Chalking (The City of Hermosa Beach has a love/hate relationship with me) 
#RandomActsof Art # FreeArtFriday: Painting mini canvases to leave around town for people to find. 
I currently spend most of my time writing (I wrote a novel).

Pictured above are a few pieces she has abandoned around HB :)

"The second and third photos are small balsa wood canvases that I painted 
and glued magnets to and left on the beach strand for people to find."

BSOM: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

KP: I am inspired by my happiness and my depression.  If I am having a terribly difficult day physically, I may start telling myself “Better Today” as a secret mental mantra to stay inspired.  Then perhaps I will just grab a piece of chalk and write it on a wall somewhere in case someone else needs the mantra too.

BSOM: Have you ever suffered from artist block? If so how did you get past it? 

KP: Artist block.  Yeah, I suffer from all kinds of block.  I think it comes from putting pressure on yourself, expectations.  I usually get past it by not taking myself too seriously.  I remember that, at least for me, this is all about Fun-  FUNISM

Once I agreed to paint some canvases for The Grace Foundation so they could use it to raise money at one of their auctions.  As soon as I agreed, I couldn’t paint a thing.  I kept the guy waiting for weeks.  Finally I sent him a message saying “I haven’t produced any art because I am afraid what I make will not be good enough for your cause.  There are so many things in this world that are a struggle (like kids with cancer) that I am ashamed to admit sometimes I am a “struggling artist”. I am insecure I guess.  How can I put a price on my art- how can I charge a kids cancer foundation?  So, now you know, and I will be sending you some art, do what you want with it, I hope it helps.  If you can send me some money that would be incredible.”  Once I sent that email, the pressure was off and I painted for days without hindrances. I was happy with the work I sent and I was happy with the money I got. All I had to do was release the pressure, let go of expectations. 
Also, again with the chalk- it’s easy to not take yourself seriously when it is inevitable that your “art” is going away.

"The larger pieces were sold at an auction and the smaller pieces 
were donated for kids to leave around town as part of #ArtAbandonment"

BSOM: Does your art shape you? Or do you shape your art? (just want to hear your opinion)

KP: My favorite quote about art is: "Some people believe artists suffer to bring meaning to their art. I believe people create art to bring meaning to their suffering."

BSOM: Do you create art more for yourself or for others to enjoy?

KP: My not-so-random acts of art are purely selfish acts of survival.  I am just trying to make my immediate surroundings friendlier so that I can be happier.

BSOM: Is there a purpose to your artwork?

KP: Guess another quote is in order, this time from Tom Robbins "The purpose of the artist is to provide what life does not."

BSOM: What's your favorite subject matter?

KP: Inspiration.  Survival against the odds.  You don’t have to fuck people over to survive.

A lady of many talents! 

BSOM: Are you currently working on any projects? If not, do you have anything in mind for your next piece?

KP: I would like to get my book published along with a compilation old school punk rock CD.  I want to paint a mural.  I want to learn how to disco skate and double Dutch jump rope- those are my ambitious artistic goals.

BSOM: Have you sold any pieces, or would you be willing to sell any pieces?

KP: I have been lucky enough to make some money from photography, writing, painting canvases and selling greeting cards.  Everything is for sale. None of these things pays the bills. 

BSOM: What's been your favorite experience as an artist?

KP: One time a lady came up to me while I was chalking in the streets and said “I have always wanted to catch you in the act, so I can thank you.  Your messages mean so much to me and have helped me in my darkest days.  One day I came down and read “Don’t stumble over something behind you”… she couldn't complete her sentence, tears welled up in her eyes.  I stopped chalking, stood up and hugged her.  “I am so glad you like it.  Thank you for telling me, YOU just made MY day brighter.” 

BSOM: Do you have a favorite art gallery?

KP: I enjoy looking at what people are inclined to hang on their walls.

BSOM: Do you have a favorite art blog you'd like to shout out?

KP: I have a dusty old blog : http://funzonehome.blogspot.com/There is a “secret link” on it for other stuff. I also love Uncustomaryart.org.

BSOM: Which social network has been the most successful for promoting your art?

KP: I didn’t know anything about instagram 3 years ago when my (then) 12 year old son typed in #Funism and said “Mom you are instagram famous”.  At the time there were probably 50 Funism posts, there are a lot more than that now, and I am still definitely NOT famous. Facebook has been an awesome way to share all the “global maid” photos, as well as W.L.B. photos.  Hopefully you will be intrigued enough to look on my blog for more info about that stuff.

BSOM: If you could see any piece, that you haven't seen before, in person which piece would it be?

KP: None come to mind at the moment, but I will say that looking at the actual Jackson Pollock mural is way different than seeing it in any book.  The longer I looked at that piece, the more I saw.  I was also blown away to see a David Hockney mural at a museum and it was way more impressive live. 

BSOM: If you could only look at one piece of art for the rest of your life, what piece would it be?

KP: My son.

BSOM: If you could meet any artist from any period of time who would it be? What would you ask them?

KP: So many questions for so many people come to mind.  
Stephan Elliot- How are you so brave? 
L.A. Phantom- Where are you now? 
Banksy- How does it feel to be so emulated? 
Leonardo Da Vinci- Are you tired of everyone making a big deal about the Mona Lisa?
Mark Ryden- can I pay you to be your muse?
Barrett Glenn Jr- When do I get my mermaid pinup painting.

BSOM: Any advice for fellow artists?
"Do what you love and forget about the rest. You were born good enough and EVERYONE is an artist."- KP

Want to learn more about KP's FUNISM?! Check out the links below!
Blog: Fun Zone Home 
Facebook: FUNISM
Instagram: @ KPFUNISM

BIG thanks + shout out to KP for her contribution to this blog!! 

Until next time friends...Cheers!!!

<3 Noonie