Artist: Kelly Billette

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Painter

I love to see an artist whose vision goes beyond the representational. To represent ideas, emotions, free flowing thoughts and even sub conscience inspirations that leak out of the mind and onto the canvas.

Some of us are not brave enough to delve that deep into our psyche, well, not yet anyway. Maybe someday I will be able to search the inner reaches of my brain and see what I find. For now, I will stick to what is sitting close to the surface. Kelly Billette does an excellent job of letting her brush be the vehicle for her inspired thoughts. A mixture of pure abstractions and a dash of recognizable imagery tossed in for good measure. Billette describes her process of creating below in the interview. Her work comes across as unplanned, unorganized at times, and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.

Free flowing subconscious drives this artist’s work. She says that the work comes first and a title then emerges. It’s interesting if you look at the pieces without knowing the titles, your mind can wander in and get lost finding more and more “meanings”. Once you know the title it forms a different impression. I asked Ms. Billette several questions that do explain more about her method and motivation when creating her work.

I love work that challenges me to think about what I have been taught about art and the infinite possibilities for what it can actually mean visually, intellectually and emotionally.

Her technique is as open and undefined as the subject matter of her work. So many different brush strokes, so many textures executed in different ways. It’s exciting to experience such honest work. I would like to see some of her work in person, to get the full range of what her work does for the viewer. I will have to be happy with the 2 dimensional images on the web. Those images were enough to peak my interest though, so her work has the power of getting a viewer’s attention. I admire any work that can capture the eye and the mind.

Allegory

Think By Numbers

Wrought

Shimmerock

25 Minds

Sun Asleep

Siamese Minds

Seeing Things

Weight of Thought

Ytyyx

Interview:


Cid:
When you were growing up, did you feel that your creativity got special attention?

Ms. Billette: Yes as a child I received much attention from my skill in representational art. People are generally impressed by anyone who can draw or paint realistic images.

Cid:
I admit to the lack of better phrasing for this question, but: Is Art the way you make a living?

Ms. Billette: No I refer to artists who make a living from their art “commercial artists.” Dead fine artists often make money from their art but can you really call that a living?

Cid:
Have you been a part of the “art scene” where you live? Do you attend gallery openings, check out the latest offerings of local talent, hang out where the creative community migrates to? How would you describe the art community where you live?
Ms. Billette: There is no “art scene” in my city. I have some affiliates from New York and I am represented by Agora Gallery in New York but I prefer not center myself around the art community for personal reasons.

Cid:
As an artist, do you feel people see you in any certain stereotypical way?
Ms. Billette: Yes there are those that see artists as strange or bizarre because artists typically have a different perspective than most people, but their are others who see the different perspective as a blessing.

Cid:
Do you feel there is a stigma or blessing attached to being an artist amongst the “normal” people of the world?
Ms. Billette: Hahaha “Normal” people try to force their idea of order into the world, an artist sees the order God has set. I’d call that a blessing.

Cid:
Are you an adventurous artist, trying new tools, mediums, ideas to keep your passion for creating alive? Or, are you reserved, preferring to stick with what you know, what makes you feel comfortable and safe in your skill “zone”?
Ms. Billette: A true artist can create with any medium and sees the outcome as an end in itself not the medium.

Cid:
Are you interested in computers and the internet? If yes, how does the technological world come together with your creative thinking?
Ms. Billette: A computer is merely a tool. I am an imaging specialist so I am more than familiar with them, still when I create a painting by computer I make sure it is I who created the painting and not the computer.


Cid:
What plans do you have for the future? Any new mediums or areas of the artistic world that you would like to explore?
Ms. Billette: It is my goal to make digital art considered more legitimate than it has been in the past. I think it is the work itself that matters and not how it was created. I plan on further exploring the digital medium.

About Your Work:

Cid: On your site you write that you work from the subconscious and that once a work becomes inspired by conscious thought it loses its integrity. “Allegory” is an interesting juxtaposition of ideas in that the title implies that there is some sort of representation or symbolism, yet the images are presumably formed from mental images that are anything but symbolic or representative of any specific idea, shape or purpose. When you are in the process of creating a work like Allegory, are you aware of shapes and images that might be emerging and then give the work some definition by the title?

Ms. Billette: No a name emerges when the work is complete. If forms can spring from the subconscious so can a title. I find it becomes a key word for the mental visual code of the work. They are usually words that are vague or even contradictory to inspire thought. A springboard of sorts.

Cid: The drawings on your site that link to your different galleries are interesting. Do you sketch ideas that eventually become images in your paintings?
Ms. Billette: All of my paintings are unplanned and come from the subconscious and there are no preliminary sketches.

Cid:
“Think By Numbers” is a departure from the more abstract images you have done. Is a piece like Numbers also created from the same subconscious approach or do you have a more intentional design in mind for some of your work that becomes something more designed and less free association such as pieces like “Wrought” and “Shimmerock”?

Ms. Billette: I know that some of my paintings look very planned because of the compositional structure but I assure you none are intentional.

Cid: “25 Minds” is one of your pieces that I had a definite first impression of. My eyes and mind see an urban birds eye view of a seething city with roof tops and the various levels of buildings, streets and other structures. How do you respond when people attach their own meanings and see things in your work that you never intended? Do you feel that art is basically at the mercy of the viewer or is the original vision of the artist the only true meaning a piece can have?

Ms. Billette: Since I have not intended an image in the first place, perhaps they are correct in what they see. Or perhaps the work is a thing of many meanings much like God communicates in many different ways.

Cid: “Sun Asleep” is really lovely. I was drawn to it instantly. As much as I love abstract images, I admit that the defined partial circle does plant a certain kind of comfort in my mind that can then allow me to explore the rest of the work. The tension between the geometry and well defined edge of that circle and the jagged and blended edges of the different lines with the added lower left corner being elevated by yet another distinct paint effect makes an infinitely interesting composition and design for my eyes to jump right into. Do you start a piece with a few shapes and lines and then add elements to create this kind of visual stimulation?
Ms. Billette: I start by distracting myself from the painting and putting the paint where it must go instead of where I think it should go. Eventually it emerges and all unites.

Cid:
How long does a painting take for you to complete? Do you do them all in one sitting or do they happen slowly over many different sessions as the ideas come and go for each piece?
Ms. Billette: A painting for me can take 25 minutes to three hours. Usually when I stop I cannot return to the painting and it is scrapped as a failure.

Cid:
Can you describe your interpretations of “Ytyyx”, “Siamese Minds”, “Seeing Things”, and the Artsubreal logo for those of us who love your work but want to know and understand it from your point of view rather than attach our own misinformed ideas?

Ms. Billette: I have no interpretations of my work. I do have feelings or suspicions about my work that it is actually “other worldly.” I think that there is a world beyond this one that our physical senses cannot detect but our mental faculties do sense every now and then but this mental sense is not as developed as our physical sense. I think I am channeling into it.

Cid:
On your site you write that you work from the subconscious and that once a work becomes inspired by conscious thought it loses its integrity. “Allegory” is an interesting juxtaposition of ideas in that the title implies that there is some sort of representation or symbolism, yet the images are presumably formed from mental images that are anything but symbolic or representative of any specific idea, shape or purpose. When you are in the process of creating a work like Allegory, are you aware of shapes and images that might be emerging and then give the work some definition by the title?

Ms. Billette: No a name emerges when the work is complete. If forms can spring from the subconscious so can a title. I find it becomes a key word for the mental visual code of the work. They are usually words that are vague or even contradictory to inspire thought. A springboard of sorts.

Cid: The drawings on your site that link to your different galleries are interesting. Do you sketch ideas that eventually become images in your paintings?

Ms. Billette: All of my paintings are unplanned and come from the subconscious and there are no preliminary sketches.

Cid:
“Think By Numbers” is a departure from the more abstract images you have done. Is a piece like Numbers also created from the same subconscious approach or do you have a more intentional design in mind for some of your work that becomes something more designed and less free association such as pieces like “Wrought” and “Shimmerock”?

Ms. Billette: I know that some of my paintings look very planned because of the compositional structure but I assure you none are intentional.

Cid: “25 Minds” is one of your pieces that I had a definite first impression of. My eyes and mind see an urban birds eye view of a seething city with roof tops and the various levels of buildings, streets and other structures. How do you respond when people attach their own meanings and see things in your work that you never intended? Do you feel that art is basically at the mercy of the viewer or is the original vision of the artist the only true meaning a piece can have?

Ms. Billette: Since I have not intended an image in the first place, perhaps they are correct in what they see. Or perhaps the work is a thing of many meanings much like God communicates in many different ways.

Cid: “Sun Asleep” is really lovely. I was drawn to it instantly. As much as I love abstract images, I admit that the defined partial circle does plant a certain kind of comfort in my mind that can then allow me to explore the rest of the work. The tension between the geometry and well defined edge of that circle and the jagged and blended edges of the different lines with the added lower left corner being elevated by yet another distinct paint effect makes an infinitely interesting composition and design for my eyes to jump right into. Do you start a piece with a few shapes and lines and then add elements to create this kind of visual stimulation?

Ms. Billette: I start by distracting myself from the painting and putting the paint where it must go instead of where I think it should go. Eventually it emerges and all unites.

Cid:
How long does a painting take for you to complete? Do you do them all in one sitting or do they happen slowly over many different sessions as the ideas come and go for each piece?
Ms. Billette: A painting for me can take 25 minutes to three hours. Usually when I stop I cannot return to the painting and it is scrapped as a failure.

Cid:
Can you describe your interpretations of “Ytyyx”, “Siamese Minds”, “Seeing Things”, and the Artsubreal logo for those of us who love your work but want to know and understand it from your point of view rather than attach our own misinformed ideas?

Ms. Billette: I have no interpretations of my work. I do have feelings or suspicions about my work that it is actually “other worldly.” I think that there is a world beyond this one that our physical senses cannot detect but our mental faculties do sense every now and then but this mental sense is not as developed as our physical sense. I think I am channeling into it.

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