Sunday, August 25, 2013
ARTIST INTERVIEW WITH KIEL KAGAN
I have the extreme pleasure to bring you this interview with artist Kiel Kagan.. Born in 1977 and schooled in Chicago, IL., he came to Houston, TX., with his family in 1995. I met Kagan while studying at the University of Houston and followed his career as he has honed his skills and matured as a young artist.
As a contemporary artist, Kagan embraces abstraction. He deftly uses a visual language of form, color, and line to produce compositions that are quite independent from his world of visual reference. His work often expresses scale and line in unique geometric shapes. He utilizes patches of intense color that give his creations a somewhat psychological depth and feel. His works are truly unique commentaries.
PK: "Let me begin the interview by welcoming you to the world of Vision and Verse and
thank you for agreeing to share with our readers."
Kagan: "It's my pleasure and thank you for inviting me."
PK: "Let's start with an easy question. Did you always want to be an artist?"
Kagan: "No. When I was 4 years old I wanted to be a mailman because one of our
neighbors was a mail carrier and I thought it would be so cool to drive a
PK: "When did you discover your calling as an artist?"
Kagan: "I got a huge box of crayons when I was in kindergarten and there were all
these amazing colors. The first one I picked up made me forget all about
being a mailman....I just wanted to color EVERYTHING!" I maintained an
interest in art as I grew up. When it was time to go to college I decided to
study ancient history. I changed majors 2 more times before settling on
art. So I would say I was about 28 when I got the call."
PK: "So what then IS your favorite color?"
Kagan: "I don't have a definitive answer for that...it changes with my mood. Right
now I would have to say it's purple."
PK: "What is your medium of choice?"
Kagan: "I paint primarily with acrylics."
PK: "What inspires your work?"
Kagan: "Ha, it sounds so standard, but, everything in the world presents some
kind of visual stimulation for me. How my brain interprets it is the basis
of the inspiration."
PK: "Name some of your favorite artists?"
Kagan: "I'm inspired by the classic Expressionists like Kandinsky and Rouault.
I also like the works of Max Beckmann."
PK: "Switching directions here, what cuisine do you like most?"
Kagan: "Wow, well I'm a traditional guy when it comes to food, I'm not really into
exotic foods. I like everyday stuff that's prepared fresh and with love, you
know, from the heart....I guess you call that 'home cooking'."
PK: "What is one activity that you enjoy outside of your craft?"
Kagan: "Tending to my flower garden."
PK: "And what is one thing that you dislike doing or avoid doing?"
Kagan: "Laundry...I spend a lot of money on new clothes."
PK: "Is there a foreign destination that you want to visit?"
Kagan: "Not really. I haven't discovered all that I want to see here in this country.
There's so much in my own backyard yet to explore."
PK: "Who is/was the biggest influence in your life?"
Kagan: "Without a doubt my Nana, my father's mother. She once told me to
'imagine the life that you want, then go out and live it'. That advice is
foremost in everything I do."
PK: "Back to your work. You paint very large compositions...why is that?"
Kagan: "It has to do with giving visual importance to things or ideas that appear
relatively insignificant. I think life's little things should scream at you."
PK: "Prior to this interview, you told me that if it were possible, you'd want to live in
an art museum. What museums would be your top picks?"
Kagan: "Growing up in Chicago I favor the Museum of Contemporary Art and The
Art Institute. Here in Houston I would say that the Menil Collection ranks
PK: "What excites you?"
Kagan: "Oh now that's a loaded question. (laughing) Life....life is very exciting."
PK: "What makes you sad?"
Kagan: "The lack of happiness in people."
PK: "What do you do to relax?"
Kagan: "I like to walk in my neighborhood park and go for bike rides."
PK: "What makes you laugh?"
Kagan: "Reruns of I Love Lucy."
PK: "What is the name and author of the last book you read."
Kagan: "The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain, by
PK: "What music do you listen to?"
Kagan: "The Wanted, Bassnectar, Velvet Underground, Selena Gomez,
Evanessence, Neil Young, Lady Gaga, Skrillex, and instrumental
PK: "Name one person dead or alive that you would most like to meet?"
Kagan: "Roman emperor Nero."
PK: "And what would you say to him?"
Kagan: "I'd ask him what melody he was fiddling when Rome was burning."
PK: "As an artist, what would be your dream come true?"
Kagan: "That's easy, my own studio filled with an endless supply of canvas and
PK: "What is your philosophy for life?"
Kagan: "Well, I've been given a great gift of artistic talent. I would hope that I
wouldn't waste it, so that by the time I die I would have used it all up."
PK: "Do you have any new projects in the works?"
Kagan: "I'm working to finish all current projects to clear the way to move in a
new direction. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to collaborate
on a series of works with a close personal friend and fellow artist. The
merging of two widely diverse styles into one work of art has long been
a dream of mine. I'm looking forward to this new adventure."
PK: "Kiel, that was my last question for you. It's been an awesome interview, great
to have you here on Vision and Verse. We wish you the best in your future
endeavors. We also invite you to come back to give us a peak at your new
Kagan: "Thank you so much, this has been a great experience, I've thoroughly
Due to a recent hacking, Kiel Kagan's website has been shut down. Hopefully in the near future you'll be able to access his work via my website. We'll keep you informed.
Image above: "VOIDS" 2012, acrylic on canvas, 7' x 9', by Kiel Kagan.