Grace Kisa Interview
GRACE KISA is a multi-media artist most known for canvases that are full of energy, warmth and strident purpose.
Born in Kenya, Grace says she knew as early as 6 years old that she wanted to “make pictures” and has used her experiences living around the world with her father, who was a diplomat with the United Nations, as a touch stone for creating art that resonates with collectors and critics alike.
After studying Fine Arts at York University in Toronto and the Atlanta College of Art, Grace realized that in order to expand her reach as an artist she would need to be open to breaking the rules and that has led to critical successes for her in the fine arts, graphic art and photography.
Many of you may remember that I featured Grace on Zavvi Rodaine last year, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Grace about the creative process and her current inspirations. As I’ve said before, understanding the artist allows me to appreciate their art work that much more and Grace was no exception. An added bonus? Accompanying the interview is a preview of her latest work. Thank you, Grace!
Grace, when did you first realize that you had talent as an artist?
I realized that I had a talent for art at the age of six.
How would you describe your artistic point of view?
My work as a whole references a place in time, whether it be in the past, present or future.
Which artists have most influenced your work?
Lee White, Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier, Wangechi Mutu, Maurice Evans, Christopher Porche-West, Chakaia Booker, Lilian Baleds, Radcliffe Bailey, Kevin Sipp, Alexander McQueen and the list goes on and on…
What is more important to your work: light or color?
Light is more important because I need light to perceive color.
Grace, you paint in various styles from impressionism to abstract, when you approach a blank canvas do you always know which direction your work is headed?
I usually have a vague idea as to how I want it to look. However I am very open to the idea of improvisation in the creative process.
What has being an artist taught you about life?
The main thing that being an artist has taught me is the practice of faith in action and not in theory.
So many people dream of Africa, and you grew up there, what do you remember most?
The sounds, smells, tastes, and beauty in many forms, the colors, diversity and sheer vastness of the continent.
Obviously you’re well-travelled, so describe one unforgettable place you’ve traveled to.
The Rift Valley in East Africa, it felt to me like land before time.
Name one place you’d like to see before you die.
Jakarta in Indonesia
What song takes you some place special whenever you hear it?
That song, in my heart and mind, would be Nature Boy by Nat King Cole.
How do you create balance in your life?
By taking small pockets of time for myself in order to get centered. I love to read and to experience well-crafted, creative expression through live music, great plays, stunning artwork and spending time with very old people as well as the very young, and of course traveling.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being at peace.
What advice do you have for younger women?
To thine own self be true.
Asked to write your memoirs, what would the title be?
Grace Under Fire.
Interviewed May 2012 by Yolanda, editor of Zavvi Rodaine.
Artwork and Images used with kind permission of Grace Kisa.
© Zavvi Rodaine.com 2012. No part of this interview may be used or reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the Editor of Zavvi Rodaine.com.
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