KEVIN KILLEN

Paintings - Drawings - Sculpture - Lithographs - Mixed Media - Poetry - Photos - Textiles - Constructions - Community Projects

 

ARTIST'S STATEMENT

I develop sculptures from my imagination, the process of creation and found objects; allowing the work to evolve and spread into its own environment. I enjoy making beautiful forms out of scrap and found objects that other people have stopped using or don't need. This is what my work is about, pure, simple creative forms that dominate their environment.

I am based in the South East part of Northern Ireland. I was educated at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design, studying Three Dimensional Design for one year, then Fine Art Sculpture for two years. My first interest in metal came from working in my father's scrap yard. I was always interested in creative metal work and was astonished at all the scrap metal lying around the yard; the term 'one man's junk is another man's ‘treasure' had a strong meaning for me.


The scrap yard was full of cars, lorries and old farm machinery, items that people had thrown out. So I decided to salvage some of the scrap metal and recycle the material into sculptures. Because of my environment, where I saw scrap metal every day, it's only natural that it would get into my imagination and my subconscious.

One of the first scrap metal creatures I made was Dip; followed by Dragon Spirit. After that I started my studies in England for three years. In the Degree my work changed, it became weighed down by heavy deep visual languages; the lecturers pushed the idea that you must know every aspect of your work, theoretical and practical. I had a problem with that from day one.

After my studies, I travelled to Australia and New Zealand, drawing on inspiration from my travels, putting together and collecting images and ideas for my work. I'm interested in the way different cultures can influence my work: for instance, the 'imbrace' piece has its roots in New Zealand where I spent a bit of time travelling around. Now that I have settled back in N. Ireland for the past year and half, the freedom I had in my work when I was seventeen and eighteen years old has come back. It's great to work without the need to explain my work and the hassle of a heavy visual language. You can see a steady development in my work from the first few; Dip and Dragon Spirit to my most recent work OXI 3463 and Imbrace.

My visual language is simple and pure. I'm not sure that my work has some deep meaning behind it; nor is it in line with the contemporary scene in London, New York or Sydney. Imaginative, fun, funky, individual and strong in my view best describes my work. My work makes no intellectual requirements on the spectator, but simply presents the creative process. It rejects the mandate that artists must define precisely what their work is about, or base their work on some theory or other. It's not that I've forgotten my college training, but I want to find my own visual language that is not shaped by trends in the art market. Nor am I turning my back on the contemporary art world, but I want to explore pure creativeness without visual language rules attached to it - making art outside the mainstream art world.

The exhibition in The Market Place Armagh N. Ireland in autumn 2002 was my first solo show. It was a continuously growing and evolving experience with more sculptures added to the space during public workshops held in the gallery on Saturday 14th September. I worked in collaboration with the public, asking the local community to generate ideas, drawing on the rich local history and traditions of the area as the source or theme for the start of the workshops and I used my own sculptural style to bring those ideas together. Building on the community's existing skills and interest, beginning with found objects as the basic medium for the work, participants had a personal connection to their work. The objects were recycled into imaginative creative creatures: the end result being an exhibition combining the work of the community and the artist, both benefiting from the experience of the other.

(This text is from Artesian Magazine No 5, p21, 2003)

recommend this page to a friend

back to top