WRITTEN BY Bek Mitchell-Kidd
Most families would be lucky to have one artist in the family…let alone a successful sister duo which is taking on the art world and spreading love and empowerment through their creative process.
Kim, who studied art at the University of Georgia, says, “Like any artist, my goal was to paint and sell my paintings. However, I realized that it was going to take time and a plan. I worked at a gallery, went back to school for an art education certificate, and landed a coveted job as an art teacher in Atlanta. I would not trade that experience for anything. Teaching taught me how to communicate, how to manage time, and how to always be prepared.”
While teaching, Kim also entered art shows and pursued gallery representation. “I have been honored to see my art in the most amazing places, and yes, these successes are energizing and validating,” Kim says. “Still, I am always questioning myself…how can I improve my work and grow as an artist?”
Kim’s work usually features figures and layered surfaces that both suspend and anchor the viewer in the space. Kim describes her work as “detailed except for the faces. I want viewers to see themselves or someone they know in my painting. When the faces are void of features, it allows viewers to fill in the details. I use color, texture and positioning to communicate joy, happiness and other emotions.”
Christy Kinard, Kim’s sister, focuses on floral still lifes that burst with color. She also paints the occasional bicycle. She explains her inspiration: “As a young girl I cruised on my bike every day. I love my memories of these days, and I always had freshly picked flowers in my basket.”
“I start with a color,” says Christy, “and go from there. My vision flows from my mind to my hands and into a visual song,” she says. “I let the fabrics choose me and layer them with paint. It is a process I cannot even describe very well—it just happens!” Traveling, living abroad and being with international artists informed Christy’s process. “I would find fabric and paper shops and eventually started mixing and layering them into my work. It was a real game changer.”
Kim has also had the opportunity to live in many incredible places. “Once my family is settled,” she explains, “The first thing I do is set up my studio. It does not matter what the space is—what is crucial is that I start painting in my new location as soon as possible. I am inspired by colors, textures, patterns, fashion, people and relationships,” Kim continues. “I am also inspired by entrepreneurs, Instagram and visiting galleries and museums online.”
One of Kim and Christy’s big breaks came about a decade ago when Sara Blakely, SPANX founder, began collecting their work for her home and corporate office. Kim says, “Shortly after purchasing my work, Sara was featured in a magazine lounging underneath one of my paintings. People wanted to know who the artist was and where they could purchase a similar painting. Sara continued to support my work by commissioning three paintings for the SPANX boardroom.”
Christy says, “SPANX was a huge deal to me as well. I was getting my career started in Atlanta, and SPANX had a painting of mine in their corporate office. Actually, every time I make a sale, I’m excited to know someone chose my work and paid their hard-earned money for it.”
Last spring, SPANX asked Kim if they could collaborate, printing her art on bras. Kim says, “With Sara’s insight I learned it was a perfect location: close to the heart. My art is about the heart of women, their strengths, their relationships and their incredible ability to hold one another up and offer support. The process of putting a flat image on a bra cup was a challenging, but the SPANX team mastered it.”
Just like these talented sisters have mastered their craft!
The Sister Show
Shain Gallery, Charlotte, NC
Kim and Christy’s work will be featured at the Shain Gallery beginning on April 27.
According to Kim, “My work for this show is bright and filled with enthusiasm, and the series is called Love Life. Titles include, ‘Love Life: grab a hand,’ ‘Love Life: follow that dream’ and ‘Love Life: loosen the grip.’ The paintings feature vibrant, courageous and confident women wearing whimsical clothes. I am hopeful that these paintings fill the gallery with energy and a LOVE for LIFE.”
Christy adds that her paintings will include a series of signature floral bouquets but with “much more layering, light and a modern twist. The paintings have been inspirational and have gotten me through this cold, damp winter into the season I love—spring. The colors are meant to bring joy, happiness and hope.” Christy concludes, “Shain Gallery has supported me throughout my entire career. They work with me on a weekly basis, and they are constantly involved in my process.”