Interview with Dee Kirkham
What’s your background? I have been an artist per se since I was a little girl and have dabbled in lots of different types of creative crafts and art for many, many years, but I finally settled into the type of art I felt was my life calling about 20 years ago. I met David Leffel who is a very famous still life and portrait/figurative artist. He paints & teaches in the Old Dutch Masters style of painting, with Rembrandt as his mentor. I knew at that moment that this was where I wanted my art to be and I was very fortunate to be able to study under him for the last 20 years.
What does your work aim to say? That beauty all around us is fleeting and thru my style of painting I hope to capture that fleeting moment on canvas to be cherished forever. With the Dutch Masters style of painting, it enables me to capture the light so that one can see the beauty and positive of the world instead of the negative.
How does your work comment on current social or political issues? I’m not sure my work does either, especially political. But as far as social it takes people back to a time in our world where art was more appreciated and revered than today. The old Dutch Masters painted to achieve the beauty they saw around them. So my art is probably more social than political.
Who are your biggest influences? David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw & Jackie Kamin, all students of the Old Dutch Masters style of painting, Rembrandt, Caraviggio, LeTour – all artists of light!
How have you developed your career? For many, many years, before computers & websites, I attended every art-in-the-park, art festival, art show, & craft shows that I could stuff into my schedule. As time went by, I started joining and entering many exhibits by art associations. This type of promotion has been successful for me in selling my art as well as promoting my art to many collectors, museums and corporate collections. I also travelled extensively in the US, Europe & Canada doing workshops to teach this style of painting and usually selling original paintings, as well as commissions. In the past few years, I have come to realize that my career is leaning towards. not only still selling my original art work, but as extending my presence online with online E teaching courses.
How do you seek out opportunities? Most of opportunities to promote & sell art are thru the art shows, galleries and workshops that I participate in. In the last couple of years, I have added to those opportunities with the help of social media and extensive art related participation online.
How do you cultivate a collector base? A true ideal collector base, in my opinion, is a very one on one community. You have to be engaged with your collector, even to the extent of sometimes visiting their homes to develop a feel for the artwork that would be beautiful in their home. I try to keep personal contact with all my collectors and gallery owners to nurture that relationship.
How do you navigate the art world? It takes a lot of time and effort to navigate the art world in today’s world. Thru social media, emails, and personal messages, I also try to keep on ongoing stream of connection by a personal phone call or personal mail. Navigation can be via computer but still the collector, possible art student or interested person, wants that personal contact.
Navigating thru the art world for my inspiration is another aspect that I try to do daily. Of course, now with the whole world web world, it is easier to find inspiration and keep abreast of the art that is out there. My art world includes this but also a lot of personal interaction with other artists that I have met over the years. Very valuable friendships with other artists help me to keep me focus and inspired.
How do you price your work? Usually I priced according to size and what I feel the market will bear in today’s world but seeing what other artists that are around at the same level as me are selling their art work for. I never reduce my prices for my art and will not usually offer discounts, except to my students when they want to buy my art. I keep my prices consistent, whether it is art sold thru a gallery, online, at exhibitions or to someone personally.
Which current art world trends are you following? I try not to follow any art world trends. My type of painting style does not lend itself to trends at all. Either they like it, or they don’t. Art is very personal and when someone chooses a piece of art for their special place in their lives, it is a piece of art they love and want to see every day. I personally do not believe that many people buy with trends in their mind. They want to know the artist and love the artist’s work.