How do you describe yourself as an artist? Throughout my life I have been interested in many creative pursuits: drawing, painting, collage, knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, sewing, and crafts too numerous to list. Currently my art is all fiber related, so I call myself a fiber artist.
Please describe your work. My current fiber art falls into three categories:
- Mixed media: Painting and drawing images on canvas with water-soluble media (crayons, pencils, paints), enhanced with machine stitching.
- Fabrics (hand dyed and commercial fabrics) assembled in pieced or applique style, enhanced with machine/hand stitching
- Using digital devices: combining iPhone photography and iPad drawing/painting apps, iPad images printed onto fabric that are then machine and hand stitched.
Describe the path you have taken to develop your art. As a child and teenager I found great joy experimenting in arts and crafts, but I unfortunately lacked the confidence to major in art in college (choosing history instead). While being a full time mother raising three daughters, who have all become artists themselves, I filled our home with many art projects for the four of us to explore. Chaos often reigned as we always had a project or two going! I took classes along the way in drawing and painting, giving myself the strong art foundation I missed taking during college. When my youngest left for art school, I too spread my “wings”, no empty nesting for me! With a new sewing machine in hand I revisited my long lost love of sewing and textiles. Discovering art quilters for the first time in 2005, I found a new passion that has propelled me ever since. How wonderful it has been to combine textiles and fine arts into one pursuit!
What inspires you? Portraits have always fascinated me. I love the human face and its mysteries. I find myself often as the quiet observer when in a large group, imaging the stories behind their faces. As a teenager I would copy images of faces I found in magazines on my drawing pads. In museums, I am most fascinated with the portraits. My interest continues with my current work, which is primarily portraying the human figure. I take a weekly life drawing classes, working from artist models. I like to tell stories with my work. I will place my figures in a scene, often an ordinary moment that the viewer will relate to.
What do you want to communicate with your art? I want the viewer to be compelled to look a little longer, drawn into the image, using their imaginations to recreate the story as they see it. I hope the viewer feels my passion for my visual form of story telling. It is gratifying when one of my pieces provokes a thought or memory for the viewer. At shows I enjoy standing behind people when they view my work and listen to their comments. It is gratifying to hear their responses, as each person brings along their own life experiences in their reactions.
Do you teach? I have enjoyed teaching at various times and I like to share my techniques and ideas. Since I’m a “late bloomer” to the fiber art world, I want to concentrate on my studio time and creating a body of work.
Please talk about your associations with art groups and how you promote your art. My fiber art journey has been populated with the artists I’ve met along the way in the various groups I have joined, enriching me along the way.
I am a PAM (Professional) Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). The group has offered me opportunities: from meeting other artists to entering both local and national juried exhibits, to being published in the annual SAQA Portfolio that goes to galleries and collectors. I’ve made contacts both locally and via the Internet. I am looking forward to attending the annual SAQA conference in late April in Santa Fe to actually meet a lot of people I only know via my computer! I am a member of the California Fiber Artists, an eclectic invitational group of textiles artists (art quilters, weavers, basket makers) from around the state of California. We show our work throughout the state in gallery exhibits.
I have joined local groups as well. Quilts on the Wall is a group of Southern California art Quilters from LA, Orange and San Diego Counties. I also belong to the Westside Quilter’s Guild based in West Los Angeles that features classes and quarterly meetings with speakers.
In addition to the groups I have mentioned, I promote myself through my website/blog http://sherrykleinman.com/ and via Facebook.
Please talk about your artistic journey, art education and your work with portraits & figures. Being an artist means I am compelled to create, it is part of my DNA. Exploring an idea, trying a new technique, and seeing what is possible fuels me in whatever art project I start. Colors, textures, shapes, designs are eye candy that I have an endless appetite for. My “AHA” moment came to me when I figured out I could combine my love of textiles with my passion for fine arts. Instead of simply taking yet another art class for the fun of it, I found I “needed” to work at home between classes. That led me to make a real studio space in my home and get “serious” about making art. With my daughters grown and gone, their empty bedrooms took on new roles: one is my studio and one houses my mid-arm machine. My husband is my tech guru and personal photographer.
I have shown my work in both juried and invitational art quilt and gallery shows nationally and internationally. I am one of the 21 featured artists in Martha Sielman’s latest book Art Quilt Portfolio: People and Portraits: Profiles of Major Artists, Galleries of Inspiring Works published by Lark Books this month. It is a thrill to have been chosen to be in this book along with artists whose work I admire!
See more of Sherry’s work at: http://sherrykleinman.com/