KIMBERLY CURRY of Portland, Maine
World Traveler, Retired Acorn Mascot, Failed Interior Designer
Angel Dean interviewed fellow N.E.W. member Kimberly Curry
Have you had jobs other than making art?
While I started off with a background and degree in interior design, I found the business side of interior design to be unfulfilling. My whole life changed after a stint in the Peace Corps in Romania 20 years ago. My time in Romania reset my life compass and I have been working and volunteering in my local community ever since.
I now work at Goodwill Northern New England where I am the Director of Community Relations. My job allows me to be creative and use my organizational skills. I plan and execute fun events, oversee programs and educate people about the work of Goodwill. My job totally feeds my inspiration in the studio and brings a level of structure to my art practice.
Kimberly, you created a blog back in June 2013 and I am so impressed with the dedication and discipline you have shown in keeping it going. What have you learned from doing this blog?
I’m a creative and curious person. I’m always looking for good content and on the lookout for something fresh to write about. I don’t want my blog to be flat or two-dimensional, because I am not just a one-sided person. There are many other sides to me. I look for subject matter that will engage a wide range of readers with varied interests.
(to visit Kimberly’s blog, go to: https://kimberlycurry.wordpress.com/)
What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
I am a shy person. Nobody ever believes me as I outwardly appear exuberant and bubbly. To overcome my shyness, I focus on my honest interest in those around me. Plus, I recognize that I miss out a lot if I lead with my shyness.
I am also a retired mascot. For eight years I had a part-time job traveling on weekends as “Oakie the Acorn,” a very large mascot who represents a local dairy company called Oakhurst. I took this unusual job to make extra cash for my travels. Oakie the Acorn took me on wild adventures in my own backyard. For years, you could find me either in or next to a large foam acorn costume, marching in parades, attending festivals, or country fairs.
Where did you grow up and what were some early influences on your work?
I grew up, and still live, in Maine. Being in Maine absolutely influences my work and my life. Some of my early influences are from my parents who are both creative and curious people. They encouraged me to explore and have adventures. My young sister and I were latchkey kids, so the TV became a babysitter of sorts. So when I was 11, they threw the TV out. To this day I still do not have a TV. I am terrible at pop culture trivia, but I have a sense of freedom from not being glued to a screen.
Has your practice changed over time?
As I spend more time in the studio, it’s reflected in my work. I feel my work has matured as I have matured. When I was younger, I noticed a lot of really successful artists were older. I now understand why! It takes a lifetime to get even an inkling of what you are doing. I need to live a few lifetimes to get anywhere near good! But for now, I am more confident in my work, plus I am in tune with that creative energy outside of me. Being brave enough to say, “Yes, this had to manifest itself,” and share it took a long time in coming.
What are your inspirations?
Everyday objects and routines; Maine; decayed beauty.
Do you sketch or preplan for a piece or does your art evolve during the process?
Both. It depends on the project and what I am working on. I feel I have an internal creative slow cooker in my head. I will toss things in the creative slow cooker. When I sit to work, I dip into the creative slow cooker and if it is ready to be served up, I allow time for the flavors to unfold.
How did you start working with wax?
I had purchased an encaustic painting and stared at it for hours. It was like falling in love. A few months later, I took a weekend workshop with Kim Bernard at Maine College of Art. At that time she was talking about starting a group called New England Wax. I became one of the founding members.
Originally I just wanted to do collage work with old wallpaper. Consequentially, while I did that, I quickly learned that the medium is so much more than that. It overwhelms me sometimes how versatile and beautiful encaustic is to work with.
Do you use other mediums or do you work exclusively work in wax?
Where I am in my life determines what medium I use. My two primary mediums are watercolor and encaustic paint, though I do sew, cook, write, and sketch, and consider them creative outlets as well.
I’d like to end our interview with a link to one of your blog posts about perseverance. (I’ve read them all, and this is one of my favorites).