I had a lovely time visiting fellow artist Diana Kohne at her home and studio last week. Diana makes etchings and monoprints of Los Angeles infrastructure and machinery. Her process involves many intricate steps, including photographing her subject matter, drawing or etching the images, painting and print making. She also constructs her own frames and uses all recycled materials, which I found to be very impressive!
Here are some shots of her work space:
I started very young, but it probably couldn't be distinguished from most toddlers who take up drawing and painting. I've always been interested in art and making and building. I like the visual and the tangible.
2.) When did you decide to become a working artist?
I decided to pursue my work full-time and find places to show my work after graduating with my bachelor's. I'd been in school so long (since I was 4) and wanted to try living without that structure. If it didn't work out, I figured I could always go back to school.
3.) Where do you get the materials for your art? How did you become interested in your subject matter?
I like to make and find my materials as much as I can.
I'm not sure how my interest began. But it makes sense, since before painting machines, I was building machines with gears that I called "drawing machines." I'd draw and the machine would scribble. Machines were a solution for the things I was already interested in - color, shape, and engineering.
I'm an artist who must draw from life, but, I prefer more abstract work. I prefer Mondrian's interpretation of a cow to a pastoral portrayal of one. Machinery gives me the shapes and often the colors that I like, and it allows me to draw from life. My interest in it now goes beyond the physical.
4.) What do you like best about the creative process?
I like the figuring out and the discovering. My monoprinting approach was developed by trying many different inks, paints and surfaces, and ultimately choosing to press oil paint on top of acrylic ink on sanded wood (the ink is acrylic based).
5.) What do you like least?
I'm not sure. I get really emotionally involved, so even if I'm cursing because something isn't working, I have to explain that it doesn't mean I'm not enjoying what I do.
6.) What motivates you to keep creating?
The satisfaction of having created, or a new idea.
7.) Art can sometimes be an isolating profession. Has art connected you to other people or impacted others in interesting ways (that you’re aware of)?
To make art, I have to decline social invitations and stay home. It is isolating, but, I like being alone and tinkering. When I first started pursuing art in Los Angeles, I put together an art group called Circa. I didn't have many shows under my belt, but I wanted to try to avoid showing in venues that don't screen for quality at all. So, I put together a group of artists to show with. We could fill a space ourselves and make a decent show. I also meet other people at shows and I follow artists that I find at art walks and online, like you. I'm only sure that my involvement in art has impacted Circa because I've caused a group of people to put their work out there more than they would have. Now, they're going to show new work at least twice a year on the NELA Art walk.
8.) If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be?
I'm not sure. I think I would pursue something not art related in a half-assed sort of way so it wouldn't eat all of my creative energy. Or, I'd teach. I already teach art, though, thanks to Skillshare.
9.) What are your creative dreams (if anything is possible, what would you want to have happen)?
I've been criticized for not dreaming big enough or having an exact goal. I want to be able to make the work that I want and share it with people. So, dreaming big means that I will continue to make work and show it. I'd like to eventually be collected by museums or organizations that will continue to show my work. I enjoyed the Tracing Lines show because it put my work in context with other work about infrastructure. I'd like more of that.