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The art of Kim Hambric
October 11, 2010 - Emily Dimov-Gottshall
I wanted to share a wonderful artist from State College, Kim Hambric. I first learned of her through her blog and later was able to see her work, first hand when she displayed at a local children's museum in Altoona.
I thought I'd find out more about Hambric's work:
When and how did you first become interested in art?
I’ve been doodling ever since childhood. I could spend hours with crayons and markers and just be happy placing colors side by side. I couldn’t actually draw anything realistic, just areas of color and perhaps a few stick people.
I’ve actually been creating fiber art for about 15 years. I started with bed quilts, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished anything that large. My pieces have gotten progressively smaller.
What are your art influences?
I’m not sure there are particular artists I’ve tried to emulate. Many of my favorite pieces of art are by the most famous artists - Van Gogh, O’Keefe, Matisse, Monet.
What I’m most influenced by are patterns, whether man made (as in architecture) or in nature. I like rows, grids, squares. My favorite sight is a bookcase chock full of books, all lined up in rows.
What do you do besides paint?
I consider what I do painting with fabric. At first, I used only commercially-printed fabrics, but now I paint or dye my own fabrics and stamp on these fabrics with my own hand-carved stamps. My fiber art now incorporates paper.
How do you describe your art?
I used to call my work fabric art, then as I added stamping, fabric painting and embellishment, I called it fiber art. I guess one could now call it mixed media art since I’ve begun adding paper. I just prefer to call it art and let others decide if it needs a label.
Why did you decide to create your artwork using nature?
Several years ago, I would say that my work was mostly inspired by nature. I love to incorporate images of leaves, sky, trees and birds. Recently, my work has been more influenced by the built environment. My Signs of the Times series is my interpretation of the urban environment claiming nature, and nature’s attempt to reclaim the built environment.
What do you think your art is trying to convey?
A – that I like to create
B – that I find joy and/or importance in the little things
Do you have a piece of work that you find especially meaningful?
I really want everything I create to be meaningful to me. When it no longer feels meaningful, that’s when I go through a dry spell. One recent series which is especially meaningful is the New Orleans series. As I’ve watched and read about the residents’ struggle to rebuild their homes and their city after hurricane Katrina, I’ve been inspired to create several pieces. I’m hoping to find a way to have these pieces auctioned off or donated to raise money to help these residents. I’m still researching in hopes of finding the right organization. Perhaps someone out there has a suggestion for me.
What makes that a Kim Hambric artwork?
Squares and rectangles. No matter how much I try to free up my artwork, it always comes back to squares and rectangles. I love rows, grids and squares! Also, bold colors. I seem unable to work with pastels. You are almost always going to find a little bit of black and white somewhere in each piece. I love contrast.
What is it about your art that makes it different from other artwork?
Perhaps its lack of subtlety!
What makes this kind of artwork “good” to you?
There has to be a little bit of good in each piece. While some of my work may look a little bleak, there’s always a spot of comfort in each piece. No matter how black and white a piece might be, there is going to be a happy color in it somewhere.
Why did you choose to make artwork in this style?
I think my style chose me. Or perhaps it is such a part of me that it will come through regardless of what style I attempt. No matter what I do to explore and break away from what I’ve done, in the end I come back to rows, grids and squares. My artwork must always have texture. If I can’t feel my own artwork coming together, then I don’t feel that I’m creating at all.
Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/kimhambricart
Aside from displaying at the Children’s Museum in Altoona, I have had my work on display this past summer at Happy Valley Optical in downtown State College. I also had a piece juried into a show at Schlow Library in State College this summer.
"The Benefits of Sunshine"