Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Artist Shannon Kringen, Poured Out

“Fortune favors the bold.”
~ Virgil, The Aenid

When I discovered her blog, I sensed a free spirit filled with a longing to express herself and share it with the world. As it turns out, when I interviewed her, she said this very thing. Her name is Shannon Kringen, the creative offspring of artists. I do not know her future trajectory, but in her short life she has certainly lived an interesting past.

Ennyman: How long have you considered yourself an artist?

Shannon: Since about age 6. I remember being in kindergarten and really getting into finger painting and loving how the colors mix together and make textures. My mom is a visual (clay and metal) artist and I grew up surrounded by art supplies and hung out with my mom in her art studio a lot making things by her side.

I was also very sensitive to music and took piano lessons when i was 9 and wrote a few songs. My dad wrote comedy and music so I was influenced by him in that way and was exposed to lots of music and movies.

Both my parents taught me in their own way to focus on the arts.

Though they both have very strong opinions about the arts and I sometimes feel like I need to break free from being aware of what they think and find my own space and separate myself from them and fully explore my way of seeing and share that full force, letting observers of my work have whatever opinion they want knowing I followed my heart in creating it: thus making it valid and sacred in itself regardless of others interpretation.

Ennyman: Why do you create art? To become famous? To send a message? Because you feel compelled to?

Shannon: I think mostly I create art to have a voice in this world. I've always been very expressive and sensitive/emotional but also very shy and introspective and a bit unsure of where I "belong" or "fit". I have a rich inner world that I want to express outward. somehow with my camera and paints and microphone/video camera and piano I feel more brave and free and like i have "permission" or i am "safe" to express outward through these "tools".

It's a relief when I feel confident and express freely. Being "shy and timid" is very uncomfortable and I seek out ways I can feel more relaxed and open to the world around me: where I can feel connected and included to that which is beyond myself. I am also learning to value and love my need for solitude and quiet time. Our society doesn't really encourage this but part of being an artist I think is to have the balance of solitude with outward expression.

Ennyman: I agree with that statement.

Shannon: I have always had a fascination with famous artists. Especially those who stand out, have charisma and are bold and expressive and passionately driven to share through the media. so, yes, I would like to be famous. Meaning I'd love to create in my own unique way and have it seen by many and hopefully inspire people with it.

I create art and share it because it's my bliss and joy. it's my outlet where I am free from being shy. I also feel driven to send a message of "be yourself, no matter what they say.” I believe everyone has unique gifts that can enrich the world. I'd love for people to value themselves highly and follow their passion in life and share their "spark" with others. I'd love to be known as someone who encourages others to be creative and trust their gut and not listen to those who discourage that which is "unique" and "unusual".

I also create artwork because I love getting feedback and learning about myself, how I affect others and how they affect me. I see everything as a reflection and mirror for something else. I think in metaphor a lot.

Ennyman: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Shannon: Travel inspires me greatly. I've had amazing travel adventures fall into my lap and have been to Mexico, Australia, Italy, Norway, France, UK, Austria, Switzerland, Spain. So far I've traveled to Europe five times. I love roaming the globe and seeing how other people live and photographing and writing about it. I hope to see Asia, Africa, more of Europe and Australia.

Mostly I'm inspired by light! Literally the light I see when walking or riding my bicycle around the city or through the woods. The way the sun shines on metal, glass, water, through trees. Or at night the way street lights or any man made light source interacts with everything: especially my own reflection! I like to use myself as a model and actor in my photography/video. I love the city at night in the rain. The way neon lights reflect on the wet street is thrilling to me. I take a lot of distorted self portraits in chrome on cars or any reflective surface I can find including water.

I see all this "light dancing" around and have to photograph it. I'm also inspired by my own sadness and pain. Grief compels me to try and heal myself. When I create something with my camera or a paintbrush or I write a poem and record it (KringSPEAK I call it) and I share this, I feel a huge sense of relief. It soothes me. I feel less alone and grateful for life itself.

It's also this amazing feeling of exploring and discovering something new. The quest for the unknown. I'm very improvisational with every medium I use. I never know exactly what I am going to make but when I see it I know it's the right direction in that moment. It's always a thrill when I take a new photograph that works or write a poem and record it or paint something I feel is solid and "meant to be". Sharing it online, TV or a gallery wall excites me. I feel like it's a luxury to create something and share it publicly. It fascinates me to see how people respond to it. Love it, hate it or feel neutral about it. I'm learning to appreciate the effect my work has on others and on myself.

In a way criticism and praise both inspire me to keep creating. When someone doesn't like my work I wanna "prove them wrong" or try to "win them over" or "tune them out and keep creating/sharing no matter what they say" and when someone enjoys my work I feel grateful and "fed" by this appreciation and like it's "permission" to keep going. I also feel like I wanna be independent from needing others to approve of my work but of course I want to find my audience and be connected to the world around me. I want people to get something out of my work. I like affecting others. I like being useful.

I'm also inspired by the people I model for. (Since 1992 I've been a figure model in Seattle.) Over the years I have listened to so many artists talk about color, composition and traveling... I've seen so many paintings and drawings of me and always find it fascinating how many different ways there are to draw and paint and sculpt the model. Before I became a model I mostly appreciated abstract and surreal artwork. Now I have more appreciation for realism and impressionism. I love the atmosphere in the room when I model for groups of artists. (Sometimes I get bored and day dream of all the creative things I want to do when done modeling or I have to endure a painful pose and find my stamina to keep with it. I once did a pose for 6 hours a day times 15 days. that was a real challenge in self discipline to stay still for that long and try and keep projecting good energy) and sometimes I am very inspired and love posing and projecting "muse" energy for the people painting/drawing me. I use my time modeling to meditate, daydream, trance out into my creative realm. Words come into my head in a musical way and I write them down on my breaks when modeling and they become spoken word poems later that I record and add echo too. so I guess I'm also inspired by being useful to others when I model. I feel a circular flow of energy between model and artist in addition to feeling this energy flow between artist and audience when I share my own artwork.


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