I'm so excited to share the first Creative Mothers interview in it's new place here on Megan Gray Arts. Thank you for making the jump, and for reading, sharing, and supporting these amazing women. Today's interview is with the talented Diana Kohne. She is not only an artist and mother, but a creator of art community, and curator in Los Angeles.
FYI make sure you all read and re-read the last paragraph over and over. Let it sink in. Let us be that change along with Diana!
Thank you Diana for sharing your insights and work today! Thank you for changing that story!
I'm Diana Kohne when I'm a fine artist, and Diana Kohne Kenny when I'm a mom or an Art Cricket.
My websites are as follows:
If you want to know about me as a person I created www.dianakohnekenny.com so those interested using Art Cricket LA could learn about me.
My visual art site is www.dianakohne.com.
My business that helps people learn about and collect Los Angeles artists is www.artcricketLA.com.
I also started www.getlocalLA.com to help people shop local in Los Angeles online. It just launched that this month.
Follow @dianakohne on twitter for updates on my art and attempts at wit at odd hours.
Follow @artcricketLA in twitter and instagram for all things local art in LA.
Follow @getlocalLA on twitter and instagram for all things small business and handmade in LA.
Since becoming a mom, I have been using gouache on panel or gessoed paper. Gouache can be revived if it dries out, which it does when you have a baby. I have a little bit more time now, so I'm trying acrylic gouache.
My art isn't a business. I paint because I can't not paint. It's not in response to supply and demand. I've had some luck in that people seem to like my work, which recently has been a series of rooftop landscapes. I also completed a small series of still lifes of stuff on the back of buildings, like fire hose hookups and alarms.
1. What is your earliest memory you have of creating?
I remember coloring, of course, and during outside time in kindergarten I'd go behind the bushes and thread a bunch of leaves onto a stick so that it looked like a rose.
2. When did you realize you were an artist, writer, creative etc.?
I had been under the impression that I was an artist through all of my school years. I was a new student 10 times between K-12, and I was always the artist. When college applications came around I toyed with the idea of studying something else, like history and humanities, but I copped out on my meeting with the department and went with art.
3. Why do you create? How would you feel if you could not create anymore?
I've always felt as if I have to pay for my time here by at least making something. After years of living with myself I've begun to notice that when I go too long between paintings I start to feel insecure. The only way to cure that sort of empty, dissatisfied feeling is to get to work.
4. Did you create before you had children? After? How has becoming a mother changed or enhanced the way you create? (Diana, I noticed on your Instagram an artwork you said was pre Calvin and noting the detail. Do you feel your work now is less detailed? Do you feel rushed with your studio time? Has this influenced your work in a positive or negative way, both?)
I had been pursuing painting full time for about 3 years before Calvin made his entrance. Having him has made me more efficient with my time than ever before. It may have been the pain med free first 30ish hours labor, or maybe it just comes from caring for a whole person, but since having him I have felt like I can do anything, or at least try. I recently began aiming my creativity towards business with Art Cricket LA.
As for my art, my paintings are a little less detailed than before, and also, somehow, more complex There is less modeling of shapes and more focus on color balance and shape and composition. I like my paintings much better now. I used to have time to make intricate etching plates, hand press them, and even cut glass and make my own frames. I've had to cut out anything that isn't efficient. My direction has improved a lot. It's funny, because I was told that women artists who have kids don't stay artists. It really isn't that way for me.
5. What does a typical day/week look like? Are you a morning or night person? Do you stick to a schedule or create whenever you can?
Lately, my husband has been getting Calvin ready for preschool and dropping him off on his way to work. My work this week has been with Art Cricket LA. I had to purchase an artwork for a client yesterday morning and hang a mini art show for one of our artists at a local salon we're going to do rotating installations in. I also had some social media to squeeze in, and showering. Right now I just race to complete as much work as I can before noon.
I pick Calvin up at noon, and the rest of the days is spent together. Michael comes home around 7. Sometimes I hang out, but usually I go to work until 9:30pm. Then my brain really stops working. I make mistakes and forget what I was doing. So Michael and I hang out and watch something and pause it a lot to talk until bedtime at 11pm. Sometimes we are rebels and won't go to bed on time. I'm not sure why we do that, but it feels good at the time.
8. Do you feel that now that you are a mother your connection to the art world, especially in LA, has changed? If so, in what ways?
Sometime after I became a mom I decided which section of the art world is for me. I decided to shift my focus to local artists who are not (yet) represented by big galleries. If something is really interesting I'll leave the local bubble, but, for the most part I focus on what I consider to be Art Cricket artists. We're all free agents.
9. What have you sacrificed in order to make art? What have you gained?
I've sacrificed a lot of showers. I'm also not as close with some friends as I'd like to be. But, I've gained a feeling of contentedness and satisfaction. Not from shirking showers, but from making a few good paintings. There isn't really anything as satisfying as making something new in the world.
10. Where do you want your art to go over the next few years? Goals?
I'd like to show new work twice a year. I don't have anything lined up for the spring, and it makes me a little anxious. I'm also hoping to continue to be in shows that require some traveling. A few years ago my husband and I went all the way to Ohio for a show I was a part of at the Ohio State University Urban Arts Center there. I'd never been to Columbus, and I loved it. The show also gave me artists friends Aimee Sones and Rebecca Rothfus who I hope to visit in Austin one day.
11. I love Art Cricket LA, can you talk a little about it, and what your and Rhiannon's motivation was behind it?
Sure, Art Cricket LA is something I thought of when Calvin was about a year an a half old. We started daycare 2 mornings a week so I could paint, and that left me with enough time to organize my thoughts. I decided that in my spare time I would think about how to make art buying more accessible. It seems really hard for people to find and buy art. By spare time, I mean that I found I could get some thinking done when I read to Calvin. If you read a book enough times, you can actually put your moth on autopilot and thinks about things. I came up with the idea of a quiz to assess visual taste and link that taste to local artists. I began talking to people to see if they could use Art Cricket LA. Rhiannon agreed to meet up with me and we've been friends since. Rhiannon is the people's interior designer. She wants regular folks to have access to good design. I want them to have access to good art. It only makes sense that we should work together.
Are you a Creative Mother? Would you like to be interviewed? Contact Megan via email at email@example.com.
I'm no longer doing Creative Mothers interview, but this will remain as an archive. Thank you for all of the love!
About the Series
Let's face it, being a mother can be the most challenging, and the most rewarding thing. Being a mother who needs to be creative can be even more challenging, it can even feel lonely at times.
So let's dig deeper into the lives of creative mothers, share their amazing work, and get some insight into creating while parenting. Hopefully, inspiring other artistic, creative mothers, and women who may one day be mothers themselves, along the way.
Explore Past Interviews
Suzi Banks Baum
Shelli Bond Pabis
Elizabeth B. Borowsky
Kellee Wynne Conrad
Kisco Print Shop
Art by Megan