Kris Kuksi is a famed artist who delves into sculptures, sketches, and paintings. His work has received several awards and prizes and has been featured in over 100 exhibitions in galleries and museums worldwide including the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Kris’ art can also be seen in a number of international art magazines, book covers and theatrical posters. Kris’ art is featured in both public and private collections in the United States, Europe, and Australia that include individuals such as Mark Parker (Nike CEO), Kay Alden (three time Emmy award winning writer for Young and the Restless & Bold and the Beautiful), Fred Durst (musician, and film director), Chris Weitz (movie director The Golden Compass & Twilight: New Moon) Guillermo del Toro (movie director Pan’s Labyrinth & Hell Boy 2) and Robin Williams (Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actor).
SoR: Whether it be your drawings, paintings, or sculptures, what inspires you to turn what is in your head at that particular moment into something real that others can perceive as well?
Kuksi: Not sure what it is. Could be an in-born trait that directs me to take my interests and relate them to the human experience. Or perhaps, it could just be the idea of showing people a different view of the world. Most artists think outside the norm and that is a good indication and drive for progression and change.
SoR: You have distinctly unique styles for your sculptures, paintings, and drawings. What topics or emotions lend themselves better to a particular medium for you?
Kuksi: The sculptures are my passion because I am a builder much more than a drawer or painter. It seems my emotions are better expressed through sculpture and borrowing from the ready-made world of mass-produced things lend well to it. The word 'composer' comes to mind more so than sculptor when describing myself.
SoR: Your sculptures are so intricate. How much of it is envisioned before you create it and when do you know when it is finished?
Kuksi: The major elements are planned out and arranged while all the secondary layers are improvised in the layout up to the very tiny of details. The process is about controlling a chaos to the degree that everything is well placed and in balance. The pieces are finished when there are no more boring areas; where every spot is filled up with something interesting. No single edge or border is left without some interruption to give it more of a completed feel.
SoR: Your portraits are incredibly lifelike. Each face has its own story. What do you seek to capture in each face? Is it something you’re looking for or is it something they are projecting?
Kuksi: I am after capturing a person's soul. When I do work with someone I photograph them and work from the photos and work towards eliminating the 'posed' stiffness, waiting for the person to relax and just be. That seems to allow the passion to appear and cross over from life to copy again on a canvas.
SoR: What qualities do you value in the colorlessness of your black and white drawings as opposed to the vibrant colors of your paintings?
Kuksi: Drawings are about the form and the texture and the mood. I would say I enjoy drawings more often due to how color can tend to be locked into certain time periods and make a work feel dated. Drawing seems to be immune to this; they usually have a more timeless feel to them and can be appreciated for years to come. But I could be wrong--I would assume style can make a drawing associated to a particular time and style.
SoR: How were you trained to master these various mediums of art?
Kuksi: Mostly self-taught with a few of art degrees that helped along the way. Also, trips to Europe, learning old master painting techniques and just being exposed to all forms of art really helped. It just takes time, and 'creative solitude' is a must for any artist.
SoR: What advice would you give to budding artists looking to express themselves through sculpture, painting, or drawing?
Kuksi: Be true to yourself - don't copy others. Follow trends can let you astray and you'll just get swallowed up. Most importantly, master your medium and find your niche. Settle on a style, but always challenge yourself. And most of all, never give up.
SoR: How much of your art comes from the life around you that you witness versus what you imagine?
Kuksi: It is split 50/50. I have a very active imagination, yet it can be formless without the the structure of the material world and finding a way to bring abstract ideas into a reality that people can relate to is the challenge. It is seems that this is just intuitive, a natural artistic response to ideas and passions to create.
SoR: Who were your artistic idols and why?
Kuksi: Bernini is at the top of the list. In fact, I am in Rome as I type this and earlier today, I saw his master works at the Gallerie Borghese. Others include Conova, Houdoun, Gerome, Leyton, and contemporaries such as H.R. Giger, Ersnt Fuchs and Javier Marin.
SoR: What reaction do you love most from people who view your work?
Kuksi: I love the emotional response and the comments about the details. Listening to those comments while at a gallery opening emphasizes the an overall respectability the viewer has, and that is what art should provoke, in my opinion. Fans keep the drive alive in me and that kind of energy really helps create a feeling of accomplishment and contentment.