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ArtTalk: Local artist produces textured paintings, most recently of animal eyes

Friday, April 11, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
Scott Kronk uses texture and acrylic-based paints to produce his works.

The Columbia Missourian is relaunching a project called ArtTalk with the goal of celebrating and discussing local art and artists. To submit one yourself, fill out the form at the bottom of the story.

This story was contributed by Missourian reader Scott Kronk.

I realize that most people when they hear artist, assume out of work, lazy individual, using art as an excuse not to be employed. Well, I am employed.

I work hours every day in creating, studying, marketing, and more creating. I am the same as any other small business owner — I have a product to sell, but my product is my heart, soul, and love. A little of each of these goes into each piece of art I produce, my technique is nothing new, my medium is nothing new, but my style, is mine and mine alone.

My medium is acrylic paint. I use a large range of acrylic paint from the middle range to the expensive, as they all have qualities that I find essential in creating my masterpieces. The objects I use to create are the same as any other painter, brushes, pallet knives, fingers, really any object that I can find that gets the desired effect. The dominating element in most all my work is texture. I use different mediums to achieve my effects, but for the most part I use a thickened acrylic-based medium. I use a variety of objects to get the desired textures, but most often it is a pallete knife or my fingers that do a majority of the sculpting. The amount of hours varies on each size of piece, from an hour to days, to build all the desired texture, as well as drying time comes into play as to how thick the medium is applied. On average, each piece will dry for 24 to 48 hours before being ready to paint. From hours of trial and error I have learned in most cases it is easier to sculpt the material then paint after, for mixing in the paint thins the material, defeating the purpose.

What makes my style unique? Well, I would have to say my number one driving factor is being true to myself, doing subjects I love, enjoying, finding fun, or sparking creativity in myself. I don't try to be like anyone else, I do not try to follow anyone's style, I don't strive for realism, I don't strive for pure abstract. I just do what comes natural. Sometimes I'll find myself trying too hard to get something to look like a photo, or an actual object, and just can't get it quite right, but once I relax, take a deep breath and just let the paint flow, I am rarely disappointed in the outcome. Also, I work on many paintings at a time, because of drying time and sometimes, frustration with one I can bounce around from one painting to another. Some, I finish perfect on first attempt, some, I struggle with, but it is all part of learning.

At any one time I will normally build 6 to 10 paintings in one day. Then, after a day or two of drying, I then have that many paintings to paint on and bounce around between. So, I may not finish any paintings for a week, then in one day, finish ten.

I have had people say, "Scott, I have seen some textured art work that looked so close to yours in this place or that, but it was not yours." This is true, I am not the only person doing textured art work, nor am I the first person ever to do the things I am doing, but as an individual, I have my own style, and each person will judge if it is a style they love or hate. This is the beauty of art. If you have a billion artists and you will have a billion different styles, some I will like, some I will hate, but if the artist is happy doing that work, then the enjoyment side of art is accomplished.

I create art for the fact that I love it. We as individual people all have that one thing that makes us happy, that makes us feel fulfilled, I receive this feeling when I produce art.

My calling for art didn't come until early in my 20's when I started work on a degree in art at William Woods University. My degree took me 6 years, but in that time I learned a lot about honing my craft and the basics of art, as well as language and craft. Through great art professors I learned to be true to myself, follow my art and my passion, and beautiful art work will be produced. I also learned to take criticism in stride. We all have opinions, but must learn not to take offense and find the good in every bit of criticism.

My current series started a little over two years ago. I didn't realize at the time that the painting I was working on would lead to a two-year endeavor that is picking up speed every day.

The series of animal eyes started one week before my senior show in 2012. I bought 12 6 in by 6 in canvas cubes and started a series of animal eyes. I started out with 12 eyes ranging from the domestic house cat, to reptiles, to birds, really whatever happened to catch my interest. I finished the 12 paintings about an hour before the opening of the show. I never imagined they would be such a hit. By the end of the one month gallery show, I had sold half of the eyes and had lots of feedback on possible other subjects to explore.

The eye series itself takes a close up view of animal eyes, from common animals such as house cats to, wild animals like zebras and tigers, to reptiles, fish, and dragons. The only area I have yet to explore is human eyes, mostly because I do not have much interest in the subject matter as an art form.

There are several sayings that go with eyes, such as, "the eyes are the window to the soul," "through the eye of the beholder," and "you can see the truth in his eyes." I like to think I am exploring a bit of this soulfulness, yet playfulness in each of the eye paintings I do.

I currently produce the eyes in two sizes, the 6 in by 6 in by 1.5 in canvas cubes, to a 10.5 x 10.5 cabinet doors that I paint on, which means the art is framed and ready for selling, once completed. To date, I have completed 40 eye paintings and hope to have another 40 to 100 done by the end of the year. And with luck, many will sell, so I can continue to produce my work.

I hope to have an individual show in Columbia or somewhere this year with only my series of eye paintings. I also do landscapes and mix media paintings, often including copper wire, or wire of some form, really anything that sparks an idea, and I try to find a way to make it a work of art.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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