Thursday, December 2, 2010

Artist Interview: KIMBA'S CRITTERS

Today I want to share with you one more of my favorite artists! Welcome to my December Artist Interview! Kimba is a talented artist based in North Carolina, US. She works under her own brand Kimba's Critters. Please see Kimba's wonderful and sweet Kitty Fairy in my previous post of June 12. She creates wonderful paintings, mixed media collage cards and painted pendants, specializing in animal subjects. An engaged animal lover and animal rights activist, her artwork reflects her deep love for animals and cats in particular. A part of her sale profits goes to animal rescue organizations. She is a member of Etsy for Animals (EFA), Vegan Etsy Team, Etsy Veg Team and Cruelty Free Etsy Team. This is how Kimba describes herself in her blog: "artist, animal lover, birdwatcher, homeschooling mom and best friend to my husband. I am a pet portrait artist, specializing in whimsical paintings of cats and other animals, I also create Kitty Collage Cards (ACEO collages featuring my hand painted kitties). I currently live in High Point, NC ~but my heart still lives in New York where I grew up."
Here she shares her artistic journey and inspiration with us! Welcome Kimba!

Kitty Fairy (my own treasure by Kimba)

- How did you first come to art and creativity? How did your journey in art and creativity begin?

My Grandfather was a wonderful artist and encouraged me to learn to express myself through creativity. He gave me a supply of oil and acrylic paints, canvases and brushes when I was around nine and I've been painting ever since!

- When and how did you realize this was your real life path?

I decided to show my work several years ago while living in Florida and was very pleased with the outcome so I began to sell my paintings online. When I realized that my work was hanging in homes and offices in Europe, Australia, Canada and across the US and was also able to donate some of my earnings to charities to help animals I realized then that I found my calling.

- Your main sources of inspiration are animals, in particular cats. Is there a particular reason for choosing them as your “muse” for your artwork?

I love, love, love cats! I have had many feline friends through the years and they have always been a source of inspiration and never ending affection. I would rather play and spend time with my cats than doing most anything in the world!
Painting portraits of pets has been such a rewarding experience--the feeling I get when someone cries with happiness because I have captured their beloved pet's personality is just something you can't put a price on.

- We share a great love for animals and cats in particular, how do you express this in your artwork?

I try very hard to capture an animal's personality in the portraits and paintings I do. I want people to see that animals are so much like us in many ways and learn to treat them with love and respect, because that is what they deserve.

- Apart from animals, what are your main sources of inspiration?

As a person who has been diagnosed with mental illness I am very inspired and influenced by other artists, living and deceased, who have also found a way to express themselves through creativity. It would be very hard to live if I couldn't create and paint.

- You actively engage for animal rights, don’t you?

I am a vegan, I use no animal products in my life - not for food, clothes or anything else. I also donate as much as I can to animal rights organizations and try to educate others to the plight of animals and how they are treated by us humans. I believe that all creatures should have the right to a happy life, free from oppression and cruelty. If most people were educated on where their food and clothing come from and the horrible things done to animals in the name of vanity and greed, I believe they would also become vegans (at least I hope so!).

- How has life affected your art and art affected your life?

I have met so many wonderful people through my art, people I wouldn't have met otherwise. I think that is one of the coolest things ever! I also have the opportunity to show my children that they can make a difference in the world through creativity-- without art in my life I wouldn't be able to do that.

- Art is about light and color! What are your favourite colors?

I love bright yellows and reds, I really love to paint bright, colorful flowers in my work because they make me feel happy. I also love the colors of fall, particularly orange, brown, red and yellow leaves.

- Did you have a formal training in the arts or attend art courses?

Besides what I learned through watching my Grandfather, I am self taught. I tried taking art courses in high school and college, but I'm not very good with following directions...

- Do you have a studio or home studio or particular part of your house you have devoted to your artwork? Where do you create your artwork?

I spend my time painting at a little table in our living room surrounded by my cats, kids and husband. I would get too lonely sitting in a studio by myself, although it would be nice to have one to keep all of my supplies in! Right now paints, brushes, paper, clay tools, and tons of other items I use can be found in almost every room of the house!

Thank you dear Kimba for this wonderful and warmhearted interview, and for sharing your artistic journey and inspiration, as well as your great love for animals! It is a joy to meet such a lovely person who is a talented artist as well as an animal lover, expressing her love for animals through her art! Thank you for the beautiful message you are giving with your artwork, we wish you continued joy, success and inspiration with your art and with animal help. And thank you once again for the sweet Kitty Fairy, she is a really cherished treasure!
You can find Kimba's artwork in her Etsy shop Kimba's Critters and you can get to know more about her world in her blog.


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