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Anett Kilén Kennedy   Contributor -- Norway




Artist statement:

 In the process of creating a painting I shift back and forth between abstract and figurative work. The abstract is based on improvisation. At some point, with any luck, a compositional constellation begins to emerge and a connection takes place between me and the painting. Philippe Guston once pointed out that there is a mysterious element to the picture plane –“an imaginary plane that defies any traditional explanation”. I believe that the moment we become lost in a painting, we are closest to the space between heaven and earth that the Japanese describes as “Nakazura,” the silent place of all and nothing. An inexpressible place, between dream and reality, for escape and solace which hopefully, ultimately heals and leaves the viewer with a fresh way of seeing Home Base. 

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Glass Transparencies


Luciole Press Interview:

Anett Kilén Kennedy speaks with Karen Bowles



LP: Anett, your paintings draw the viewer into a world where figurative and abstract art collide to create a mélange of colorful creativity and revelation. The first time I saw your work, I was quite impressed with your mixture of technical skill and exuberant improvisation. I immediately wanted to learn more. So, first question I ask, is what was the first stirring of artistic impulse for you? Did you like to draw and paint as a child? Are you primarily a painter, or do you also engage other art forms like photography and sculpture?


AKK: I have always been drawn to color, drawing, painting and creating, but as a child I also played the piano and spent a lot of time in dance studios. In my late teens and early twenties I got more involved with photography, a way of creating that I later combined with writing. I have a degree in Fine Art but I also have a degree in international studies and journalism. I my late twenties I worked as a fashion editor and a lot of my creativity went into my work as a stylist travelling all over the world shooting fashion series. It was during this time that I started to feel that my creativity got stifled and I returned to painting, oil, which has been my main focus since then. More than anything I love the process of experimenting, and see it almost as carving something out of my head. Color has also been very important for me. I believe that they have healing powers. I have also studied sculpture, but find it physically too hard due to 3 herniated discs...




The Veil



The French Woman


Window Seat



LP: You have a unique perspective, having been born and raised in Oslo, Norway until you were 18, then living abroad for years. Please tell readers about your experiences of art in various settings and cultures.


AKK: Communication has always been very important for me, whether it is through painting, writing, speaking or taking pictures. I look at art as a way of communicating with or touching another person as well as with yourself. Travelling is very interesting and you learn a lot, but it can also be a lonely existence because you will often be an outsider, just from the fact that you come from another country.  Art to me is a kind of a vehicle to be part of the world, as well as therapeutic because it takes you to a perfect state of flow. Creating is so absorbing that you forget where you are when you do it. However all the travels gave me many experiences and visual imprints that I have later used in my work, e.g. I love the blue color of the Mediterranean sky just before sunrise or the pink and turquoise and pink colors of south-American shacks, and the vibrant fuchsia that you find in Peruvian clothing.  There are many "old" pictures on my mind, that still has not been painted, and most of them remain because they are connected to a feeling that I want to express.  




 Rendez-vous au Jardin de Luxenbourg


Silent Night




LP: What kind of an environment do you prefer to produce your paintings in? Does it matter if you have a particular environment? (I know many painters have studio-like areas set aside, but I am curious if you are ever painting outside of that).


AKK: I have always had a separate work space, an atelier, even if the sizes have varied depending on my financial situation at the time. I prefer to have my work space close to home as it makes it so much easier to get to work. Since I often work large formats, I rarely put my easel in the car and sit by some viewpoint, but for a while I lived in a bed and breakfast place in south of France and worked outdoors, on the roof, on top of the house. That lasted till the rain season sat in :-) 


LP: Do you like music in the background, or silence?


AKK: I usually like music when I paint. I think this is because it helps to put you in a certain state of mind, and can be very inspirational. Sometimes I can play the same song over and over for months, just because I like the feeling it produces in me and I would like to transfer this feeling to the canvas. 



LP: You have listed painters such as Francis Bacon, Richard Diebenkorn, Mark Rothko, Olivier Debré and Rembrandt as being inspirations for your work. What did you take from their work that fed your creativity?



AKK: First time I saw the artwork of Francis Bacon in real life I was just blown away by their force. I think that was the point when I decided that I wanted to give painting everything I had and cemented the goal of becoming the best painter I could be. I wanted to be able to create something that was as beautiful as his work. I know that it can be seen as brutal in a way, but I do not perceive it that way. I only think they are amazingly beautiful with wonderful color combinations and very fresh perspectives. He is just a very unique artist with a particular edge that fascinates me immensely. 

Richard Diebenkorn interests me because of his perspectives, his compositions and the expressionistic brushstrokes. Mark Rothko I love because of the colors, the color transitions and the spiritual quest that they carry for me. Olivier Debré painted a lot in Norway and had many shows here over the years. Also with him I love the colors and the brushstrokes and his way of abstracting a landscape. He has been an inspiration for many Norwegian painters, and I am one of the who still study his work, which is a lot about the concept: Less is more. Genial! 


Finally the transcendant Rembrandt that can convey universal human emotion, beauty and pain across centuries unlike anybody else. I love his technique which I practice myself when I build up (or carve out:-) a painting. He is the painter that I copied the most during my fine art studies and I still consider him as a very inspirational force in my own painting career. 





 Dog on the Run




On the Beach


 Deep Forest



LP:  You returned to Norway to be closer to your roots and nature. Norway is spectacularly beautiful. Your paintings reflect the depth and richness of the landscape, such as "Deep Forest." Please tell us what the inspiration was for that painting, and what your connection is to the land in Norway.



AKK: I love nature and I love to be in the nature. I do not know of any other people who spend more time in the forest than Norwegians. We love to go for walks so the forest has been part of my life as long as I can remember - Norway must have more pine trees than any other European country and we have a lot of folk inspired fairy tales that touches upon the magic of the forest, the place where the trolls live and the forest fairies that can lure you into trouble. This is the magic that I love myself and that I tried to convey when I did this painting.  There is a mysterious beauty to the forest that just fills me with awe. 



LP: You have many interests; you have an impressive educational background in a variety of subjects. Have you always kept up with your painting whilst you were engaged in other pursuits?


AKK: Yes, I always kept up with my painting, even when I had a full time job. It is a place of solace for me and I become very unhappy if I do not paint. It is kind of difficult to explain, but I think it has to do with the room for experimenting and growth that it offers.  As a painter you are never good enough, - there is always room for development and improvement. I never get bored while I paint, but I can easily get bored in a job unless it has enough challenges. I am like a goat, I like to move forward and upwards. Painting challenges my brain like nothing else and I need it...



LP: What do you want viewers to think and/or feel when viewing your work?

AKK: Philippe Guston once pointed out that there is a mysterious element to the picture plane – “an imaginary plane that defies any traditional explanation.” I believe that the moment we become lost in a painting, we are closest to the space between heaven and earth that the Japanese describes as “Nakazura”, the silent place of all and nothing. An inexpressible place, between dream and reality, for escape and solace which hopefully, ultimately heals and leaves the viewer with a fresh way of seeing Home Base.




Paris in Sight


Blue Moon


 Spanish Dancer



LP: What is your favorite thing someone has said about your work?



AKK: I think the favorite thing that has been said to me about my work came from a guy who bought one of my first paintings. I meet him accidently ten years later and he told me that he was so happy with the painting and that it had saved him many hours in therapy. That was great to hear because that is honestly what I most try to do. Create something that takes you to a place where you have peace in mind to stop and think, escape or find solace.  

LP: You have had many exhibitions of your art. Tell us about some of your experiences. Do the reactions and comments about your work vary with the country in which they are being shown, or all there a lot of commonalities? 


AKK: There are kind of two groups of people who buy art. There is the "professional art collector" which is similar every where and then there is the group of art buyers that are more spontaneous and maybe do not buy a lot of art in general. The commonality in this group is that like to support local artists and want the work to remind them of home. This is especially noticeable when it comes to landscape paintings.  I have moved a lot around, for instance from coast to desert, and would have difficulty selling a coastal painting in the desert.  In a way you have to start over every time you move, unless you move from London to New York and in the top echelon of galleries.  Which brings me to your last question...


LP: What goals do you have artistically, in the present and looking to the future?


AKK: My goal as an artist is to always develop and become a better painter. I will paint till I die, I do not think there is a concept called retirement for an artist. As a Sagittarius I love to shoot for the moon, so my goal is of course to be represented by the best galleries on the planet as soon as possible :-) 








Kneeling Nude


Baudelaire 4. - series








all art copyrights belong to Anett Kilen Kennedy

all article copyrights belong to Luciole Press and Anett Kilen Kennedy

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