Saturday, October 31, 2009

artist spotlight: kerstin klein

For the month of October, and just in time for Halloween, I present to you the art (and words) of Munich, Germany artist Kerstin Klein. Much of her work is inspired by an admiration for the work of other artists, while taking on a unique quality of its very own. You can also find a good deal of Kerstin's work gracing the pages of her Moleskine sketchbooks. Kerstin, who juggles a busy schedule with her passion for drawing doesn't consider herself a "real" artist yet, but I think her work will tell you otherwise. Enjoy!

1. Q: What got you into drawing?

A: Actually I have been drawing ever since I can remember. We always had access to art material at home, so it was quite natural that all kids started drawing. My own kids draw daily too now. My mom still has some drawings I made in Kindergarden and first grade. She also kept some school note books and they were always filled with nice drawings. I remember my dad doing water color drawings when we went on vacation. He was quite good at it and impressed me as a child – especially since there weren´t a lot of dads who could draw.

2. Q: Your sketchbook and pens seem to be your main medium? Why is that?

A: I had two big breaks in my drawing time, both involving realtionships. My first boyfriend (of 7 years) and later my husband (and kids) seemed to have used up all my energy and I didn´t feel like drawing. This really made me unhappy and a few years ago I decided to start drawing again. My kids were wild (when younger) and it wouldn´t have been possible to set up an easle and leave my art and material laying around. So I started with ATCs (Artist Trading Cards). The format is tiny (credit card sized), doesn´t need a lot of space and can be completed rather quickly. In case the kids need attention, the materials used could be cleared away easily.
When they were bigger I started with sketchbooks and pens. Pens - mainly because it is the style I feel most comfortable with and sketchbooks because all the drawings are kept in one place. I tend to loose single sheet drawings. ;)

3. Q: Who or what inspires you most to create art these days?

A: My greatest inspiration is the work of other artists. Most of my ideas evolve from work I admire. One of my favorite living artists is Tommy Kane ( His sketchwork is just fantastic. Recently there has been a new development. Suddenly words seem to inspire me to draw too. I´m enjoying this and I´m sure I´m going to delve more into it.

4. Q: I recall you saying that you don't consider yourself an artist (despite your impressive work and overall output). How then would you define an artist?

A: It is rare that I draw pictures which I consider completely my own (often using ideas from other artists). I do have talent, but I do have to find my own style yet to consider myself an artist. Others seem to recognize my style already, but personally I think that my work is so diverse that I still have to find the ONE style I´m really really good at. I´m tending more and more to using only pens and inks but at the same time I´m interested in paint and color too. But I still have time to experience this.

5. Q: Do you ever get burnt out or need a break from art-making, and what do you do to respark your interest, if anything?

A: Every day life sometimes burns me out, not art. In fact I need to do more art. (In my mind I constantly see myself drawing and painting, having new ideas and trying new techniques - but that hasn´t arrived in my real life yet.)
Art makes me happy. Strangely enough I still often have to force myself to take up a pen and start drawing. Time isn´t what I´ve got plenty of, so usually I draw late at night (sometimes even through the night) when life is quiet and calm around me.
Whenever I feel the need to push myself to draw more I join projects to force me into drawing, for example “The Portrait Party” (, “Wreck this journal” ( or “100 things/ideas” (

6: Q: I know you participated in several Moleskine exchanges. What were some of the positive and negative experiences with regards to those exchanges?

A: It is great to share art with others. You learn new techniques and it is very inspirational to hold the work of others in your hands. The best is, that you get to keep a moleskine filled with art of all different kinds of artists. This is a real treasure for me and I can´t wait to finally get to keep a finished Moleskine. Sadly some moleskines get lost in the mail which is a real loss – considering all the energy that went into it. Also some members have left the group taking along some of the moleskines of other group members. That is not a nice experience, and there is nothing we can do about it. But life is life – on to the next Moleskine.

7. Q: Your "Ten Years Ago" blog is very interesting. How did that whole concept come about?

A: “Ten Years Ago” was another attempt to get me back to drawing regularly. The idea was to do a quick sketch everyday of an event which took place at least 10 years ago on the same date. At the same time I didn´t want to use more than 15 minutes for the sketching, researching the date and events, scanning and posting it at the blog.
Unfortunately I didn´t manage to get through the whole year and I have a bad conscience towards my at least one regular reader. But it was successful: it got me back to drawing again

8. Q: Judging by your movie theater photos, you seem like a bit of a movie buff. Any films catch your interest lately?

A: Oh... That is a hard question. I guess I´m addicted to watching movies. This makes me as happy as art. Maybe (just as in art) it is because I can experience parts of life which I would never have the chance to in real life.
My favorite movies have a lot of suspense (often Asian), like good thrillers or horror movies (though I still have to see a good horror movie ;) ). But I love quiet movies and arthouse productions as well. I enjoy pretty much all kinds of movies except for dumb comedies. So it is hard for me to pick out a single one. The movie theater photos in my blog show the different theaters in Munich. I have planned to visit all movie theaters (around 35) in Munich this year. And I´m still hoping to make it.

9. Q: Do you have any plans to sell some of your work - prints, posters, original works at all? Why or why not?

A: That is a dream of mine. I haven´t done this so far, as I have no clue whether people would like to buy it. My friends and family don´t really like it and consider my work to be too dark and even sick! :) I do not share this feeling , but it makes me insecure about selling it. And very often I´m not satisfied with my work and wouldn´t offer it for sale either.
It is funny that you are asking, as I just won a free Zibbet account and took this as a sign for selling my art. I will start slowly though by selling postcards with prints of my work and it will give me the chance to see whether the poeple like this kind of work or not. Too bad I missed Halloween. Probably that is the best time of year to sell my “dark” and sick ;) art.

10: Q: If someone told you they couldn't draw, what might you tell them?

A: My husband is a writer and he says “If you can´t write, you should leave it be.” I disagree with this statement. If you have fun doing something, just do it. The outcome isn´t that important if you have fun while doing it. I think the result isn´t always the most important. Often it is the process of creating which is enjoyable and neccessary and also an achievment.

For more, check out Kerstin's excellent blog!

Friday, October 30, 2009

skinny/moleskiners artist interview

Above is another cover I made today for another special edition of my Sketchbook Chronicles Vol 1 art 'zine, as well as for this week's Illo Friday topic, "skinny". Below is a snippet of an interview with me conducted by Lyn from the wonderful Moleskiners website, posted today. Check it out when you get a chance. It was truly a pleasure to be chosen as part of their Feature Fridays!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

10/25/2009 (pt 4)

Here are the last ten I'll post from last Sunday. It was one of the best days I had in a long time, and the least I could do was share the day in photos. Still, these don't come close to the actual experience of being there - the rustle and crunch of the leaves, the scent in the air and the cool breeze. We need to spend more days like this, unfortunately, these kinds of days are rare, which is what makes early Autumn all the more special perhaps. In the meantime, these and more will be up at my Flickr site soon, in a much larger format.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

10/25/2009 (pt 3)

I decided to be a little more selective and post this series up through Thursday, leaving Friday open for Illustration Friday. I try to use Illo Friday as an exercise in creative spontaneity rather than a means to making a long, involving work, so I try not to spend too much time mulling over an idea and just run with it, getting the image up the day the topic is announced. So, here are my next ten favorites from last Sunday - the top several still taken around the grounds of where I live, and the rest taken in the Historic District of Leesburg, Virginia as evening begins to fall.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

10/25/2009 (pt 2)

I'm loving my (somewhat) new camera. It has a good zoom and takes excellent outdoor shots. It's not so good indoors however, but far better that my previous camera. Unlike with my indoor photos, I've done hardly any digital altering whatsoever, and lately have been gravitating towards a more natural looking format. I've also been cropping images far less, relying mostly on my eye, just like back in the olden days.

In the meantime, I'm really appreciating seeing these photos tonight, since the rain and gray weather has once again returned and many of the leaves on the trees in these pics have now fallen to the ground. The top four photos are from the trail once again, while the bottom six showcase the variety of trees surrounding my apartment complex. It's cool seeing my wife Kris get so excited about the sights of Autumn in Northern VA, taking some great shots of her own lately. With her coming from warm and sunny Trinidad, I'm happy to see her embrace her new home and enjoy the good things this area has to offer. As for myself, I never tire from seeing the Fall foliage, and like Kris, it's seems as if I've witnessed them for the very first time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

10/25/2009 (pt 1)

Last Sunday (yesterday) was one of the most beautiful days I've seen in some time, especially after some of the cold and the rain we've had lately. I ended up spending most of the day outdoors, starting out with a long hike along the Appalachian with my friend and colleague Alex from Columbia, who is here in VA to teach Spanish. Later, my wife Kris and I took a long walk around our apartment grounds and ventured into Old Town Leesburg with cameras in tow. The day began with a lone black vulture perched high above me on someone's apartment roof, and ended with one of the most amazing evening skies I've ever seen. I wanted to blog my favorite photos in one single post tonight, but took too many for me to choose from, so I'll be posting my ten favorite every day this week, from Monday through Friday, in somewhat of a chronological order. So, if you love Autumn as much as I do, stay tuned!