Q&A with Katie Walker & Diane Kilgore Condon

Leading up to our Anniversary show, we wanted to celebrate by helping you get to know the many talented artists that have helped shape Art & Light into what it is today. Established artists Katie Walker and Diane Kilgore Condon have been with Art & Light since the very beginning, and we are so proud to represent these prolific and respected painters as their local gallery.

We visited Katie and Diane in their studios at The ArtBomb, read below to get to know them better…

Q&A with Katie Walker

Q: How long have you been painting?

A: As long as I can remember. I’ve been painting since I was little. I was one of those kids where after school my sister was going to softball, and I was taking art lessons. My mom signed me up to paint at a lady’s house after school. I was never thinking I’d make a career out of it, but I just always loved art and always wanted to make things. I was a work with your hands person.

Q: How long have you been working with Art & Light? 

A: Since the gallery opened. I’ve known Teresa since I’ve been in Greenville, so even when she had her antique booth and would rotate local artists in and out of there, I would work with her then. When she opened Art & Light, I had a show almost immediately. I was probably pregnant with my son, because he just turned 13. That really puts it in perspective. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about the gallery/artist relationship at Art & Light?

A: Everybody is so professional, and you’re working with artists. It’s not just business people and accountants and marketing reps - they’re all working artists, so I feel like we all understand each other. Plus it’s close - it’s nice to have someone local that you can just drop your stuff by, or talk and exchange ideas. Art & Light is one of the places where I’ve worked with a group of people that truly work so hard. They’re truly working for you, and it doesn’t always happen that way.  I love everything about it. Everyone is nice, professional, fun and positive - positivity is a big one.

Q: What about the creative process is most exciting to you?

A: For me, going to the studio is always having something to do. I’m never bored. I love coming in and creating - my mind is always racing and I’m connecting everything, so the work flows naturally. One calculation leads to the next. The creative process never ends, it’s this constant life long process - that’s what I love about it.

KatieWalker_Studio

Q: How has your work evolved over the years? 

A: My work has evolved in lots of ways but it always seems to cycle back to the beginning. My color palette will slowly change, and then I’ll come back to using colors I was using 25 years ago. I’ll get to journaling and making small drawings, and then I’ll do giant works. I think the main way it’s changed is my imagery has become more automatic. I used to think about that more, and now I don’t have to think about that very much. I have so many things that I’m going to paint and things that I have to paint.. I’ll never run out of ideas.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

A: Work hard. I’ve received that from a lot of important people in my life - my parents, my major professor in grad school… Just stay the course and work hard. A good work ethic kind of trumps everything - talent, connections. If you work hard, you’re persistent and you stay with it, good things will happen. I’m a worker. 

Q: What’s your favorite local spot to eat?

A: Well I’ll be honest with you, my favorite place to eat is probably my kitchen or The ArtBomb kitchen because I love to cook. I’m as passionate about cooking as I am about painting. I cook all the time, I think about food all the time. But if I were going to go out somewhere local, I am Southern, so I would say OJ’s Diner. I get their veggie plate - collared greens, onions, fried okra.. I love it!

“She Loved to Pile It On” Available work by Katie Walker

“She Loved to Pile It On” Available work by Katie Walker

Q&A with Diane Kilgore Condon

Q: How long have you been painting?

A: Since 1984. My grandmother was a painter, so I was always into watching her. I was fascinated that she could make something happen - she could hold onto something she had seen. That was very fascinating, and I saw a lot of things that I wanted to hold on to. I had a very beautiful childhood, it was poetic. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about the gallery/artist relationship at Art & Light?

A: Teresa gets it. She understands that artists, while they can be business people, they would prefer not to mess with it. She makes it a workable relationship. Our skill set is here, it’s in our studios. If we get too wrapped up in that, it takes us away from what we’re supposed to be doing - not only in time, but also in headspace and in content. We’re not supposed to be thinking about the bottom line all the time, it strips the work of its beauty when we do. It’s not that we’re not capable of doing it, but if you stay on that side of your head all day you’re not going to get as far.  If you try to foster that creative part of your brain and the way you’re processing color and looking at a vista and breaking it down into shapes and hue and value - if you make yourself look through eyes like that, you are going to have some other things drop off the table. Art & Light does a great job of helping keep that table set. I appreciate the fact that they constantly keep things fresh and moving, so that it doesn’t ever get stale. People always do feel that a sense of discovery is imminent. If you walk in the door you’re going to find something that you’re interested in looking at. 

Q: Where does your subject matter come from?

A: A lot of alone time when I was a kid. When you’re alone like that and you’re quiet you can really look into things, like really look in, and you notice things - like you notice how dark the shadow is on that treeline on the edge of that field and you can’t wait to get over there because you know the temperature is going to drop. You put correlations like that together and it’s impossible to stop doing that if you’ve done it all your life. You’re always longing for that moment when something happens that’s so spectacular and surprising that you realize that you know nothing about the world you’re walking through. I love to step into the supernatural part of this world.

Q: How did you start painting the little birds?

A: My friend Connie died very young and there were constant references at her funeral about sparrows. She was the most alive person I had ever known - we thought maybe she just used up all of her days because she lived that big. I painted a small sparrow to send to her daughter, and after that it just seemed like something to do whenever I was grappling with anything. It was a great way to find a scrap of wood and do some tiny painting to get warmed up for the big paintings. Then I started pulling the wood out of the dumpster and cutting it up, so it became sort of this thing where I’m not only warming up, I’m also putting the birds back in the trees. I hate all this clear cutting, this is my little tiny protest. It caught on, and I still warm up with it. So I wind up having something in the warm up.

DianeKilgoreCondon_Studio

Q: If you had to guess, how many little birds would you say you’ve painted?

A:
I do five a day everyday, except for the weekends. And that’s been for the last 15 years… that’s a lot!

Q: What about the creative process is most exciting to you?

A: The fact that it will never end til I die. It’s always going to be with me. It is something that constantly surprises you and excites you. It can happen at any point that you’ll get struck with that wonder. I love the fact that is happening all the time. And to see other people doing it is pretty fantastic too. The fact that I could be painting right up to the minute that I leave the earth is pretty cool. It’s not the same as other jobs. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

A: Never ever ever ever think that artwork is supposed to be fun. Take it seriously. You have to lean in, and keep challenging yourself and it will stay exciting. And never quit.

Q: What’s your favorite local spot to eat?

A: The backyard of The ArtBomb. I know it’s private, but it’s another one of those things that just like this building, it came to life for our benefit. It has given us so many beautiful afternoons and we have never asked anything back. And it pours itself out over us all the time. We just did what we could do with what we had, and it’s world class beauty - we didn’t expect it. Everything is so happy back there, it’s just glorious. That actually should be my next series of paintings - I should start painting The ArtBomb garden and see what happens.

Available Triptych by Diane Kilgore Condon

Available Triptych by Diane Kilgore Condon

Stay tuned for more artist Q&A’s up through our birthday celebration on August 23rd! We hope to see you in the gallery for our group exhibition from 6pm - 8pm.