Music and Art In Your Backyard


Austin-based painter, Kemi Yemi-Ese, blew us away with her beautiful oil painting. Each piece exploring the pain and the beauty seen in every day life. We ask Kemi to talk us about her creative process and what we can expect to see from her in 2017

I've lived in Austin for over six years. Being around so many creative spirits has motivated me to show my work more and make the development of my style and skills a priority. 

 Beast it by Kemi Ese

Beast it by Kemi Ese

My favorite pieces have been my Creation series paintings. They were my stepping stone towards capturing an idea in paint; and having the concept unfold with each stroke was a very fulfilling experience. They were also the main pieces for my first solo show: Fragile Limits, in July of last year, so I have a special affinity to those pieces.

I sometimes come across dry spells, when it comes to finding inspiration. It's not that i'm not feeling inspired but more like the moment isn't compelling me to capture or recreate it on the canvas. These periods are frustrating but going to galleries and art exhibitions usually help reinvigorate me. At times, I'm up late screenshotting instagram pictures that catch my eye and coming up with ideas inspired by current events.

 In Contemplation of Past Sacrifices

In Contemplation of Past Sacrifices

I work mainly in oils because of the flexibility and layering capabilities that they employ. Before my car accident in 2006, I avoided painting altogether and preferred graphite and charcoal. Once I lost the strength to use a pencil well, I found that painting was easier for me (through a painting class at Baylor University) and now that's what I stick with.

In 2017, I would love to do more shows and collaborations with other artists. I'd also like to work on creating a sculpture/single room experience based on my Lost Signal painting. It will allow the viewer insight to what happens when the human body sustains a spinal cord injury.

Having a career in art means long hours developing your skills, taking risks as far as style and technique, and bracing for the possibility of rejection. You have to be persistent and create a prolific amount of work.

I've found that having an open mind towards the definition of a successful professional artist is important. For example, I am currently in a Master's program for clinical rehabilitation counseling with the hopes of becoming an art therapist. I recognize the healing power of creating art and I'd like to empower others with this knowledge also. This makes my aspirations more flexible and easier to adjust to life's challenges. Find a mentor in the specific field of art that you are interested in. Never stop learning: take art classes to freshen up techniques or learn new ones. To thrive as an artist, one must know themselves well and be confident that their creative expressions are valuable. It is a daily struggle but the beauty in the outcome is worth it.