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Today we are welcoming Chris Cozen! After you watch her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!
Tell us about you and your art journey.
Art has always been a part of my life. My dad was very artistic and he helped me see things through a different lens. I lived an ordinary life artistically for many years. A little dabbling when I wasn’t working, creative stuff with my students (teaching at school) and with my own kids. It was only after I retired from teaching that I indulged the creative soul that was waiting to be let out into the sun. It has been a whirlwind of a journey for the last 12 years. I believe so strongly that when life presents an opportunity we need to seriously consider embracing it. When the chance to work with Golden Artist Colors, Inc. magically appeared my life changed. I was uncertain as to whether I was “good enough” but I tried anyway and here I am today.
What are some of the things that nourish your soul?
Nature, especially gardens, old things, rusty bits, textures, color, these all nurture me. How do you decide what to create - where do your ideas come from? As long as I begin, the rest just happens. I don’t always decide. I believe sometimes that the painting itself decides. I embrace serendipity a lot and follow it where it leads me.
What is one piece of advice that you’d like to share with other artists?
Although art is very much an intuitive thing I do believe in educating myself and others on materials and their properties and possibilities. There is so much more that can be done when we understand what is possible with materials.
How do you re-energise yourself or your muse if you have a creative “dry spell”?
I take my camera and go for a walk in a beautiful place! I look closely at things, and capture them in the lens. These fragments are like small pieces of abstract art which can spark a concept or stimulate an idea.
How have the “rough spots” in life affected your art?
Rough spots are generally what create at least a few of the layers in my pieces. I have RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and there were/are times when I am in a lot of pain or have a joint that is in a splint or something or other. Art gets me through these things and the adjustments I have had to make have led me to learn to adapt. I can’t do repetitive things well so I jump from technique to technique to use different parts of my body or stand rather than sit. When my aunt died after long weeks of hospice in our home, I painted doorways for months as she talked so much about seeing the door open during her last hours. It still gives me goose-bumps to think about that. Art resolves things for me.
Tell us about the first piece you created that you felt really proud of.
I’m not sure of when that was, truly don’t remember. I’m happy with most things as I see them as investments in my process. If I don’t like something, it usually gets a makeover pretty quickly.
When you’re creating something, how do you decide when it’s finished?
I just go until there is nothing left to change. But I will admit that although something is done at one point, it doesn’t always stay done. I’ve gone back to something 2 years later and changed it. I just didn’t see or understand what it needed at the time.
What was the nicest compliment you’ve ever received about your work?
“This makes me smile…”
What drives your sense of validation or legitimacy as an artist?
I am validated when the work I do inspires others and the teaching I do reaches others.
What are some recurring themes/subjects in your work?
Seed pods, flowers, far away places
Do you have a signature set of colors?
Show us some examples in your work, pretty please! I don’t know that I have a signature set of colors. I LOVE color, so I use a lot of different colors, but in a pinch I can go a long way with just a few of them!
What are some elements that make your work “yours”?
Abstracted florals and seed pods are very much a signature at the moment, along with a combination of paint and paper, and little bits of invented writing.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
I’ve tried a lot of things and at my age I think I’ll stick with this!
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I walk the garden before I go into the studio and see what new surprises are waiting for me. When I am ready to work I’ll put on a book on tape and start to paint. Surprisingly my painting brain is not in competition with my listening brain. They both inhabit the same head quite happily.
What hangs on your walls? Do you collect work by other artists?
I have lots of my own work on the walls along with work by other artist friends and a few I have fallen in love with. I also have a collection of “outsider” art pieces that I’ve collected over the years. As a self-taught artist I have a great fascination with others who are untrained. There is an energy in their work that is palpable.