10 Questions | Diane Kilgore Condon

Q: Tell us a little bit about how you found art. Were you always a creative or did the arts find you in adulthood?

 

A: I always worked at art. My grandmother was a painter and a brilliant cook, and she pointed all of us to the beauty that surrounded us, so some of it was definitely fostered by her attentions.

Q: Have you always painted flora and fauna or did you start out making art with a different focus?

 

A: Before I became a believer in Jesus, I painted darker imagery. I thought if I explored my mind, It would lead to a way out of the struggle of existence. It actually just made it more familiar, and trapped my thinking in a downward spiral. When I came to faith, I started climbing up out of that hole. The gratitude I now experience leads my work.

 

I celebrate the blessings of my rescue by trying to point at the beauty even in the mundane.

There is nothing more revolutionary against despair than the explosive exuberance of a garden.

 

 

Q: What is it that draws you to paint the natural world?

 

A: It is glorious. It is a step towards understanding that we were made for more. Everyone knows it, some deny it, but you cannot remove the supernatural from the tangible. 

 

 

Q: We have heard from many artists, that getting started with a new piece can be daunting...How do you begin a painting? 

 

A: Jump. Adjust.

Q: Tell us about your little bird blocks. These are a collector favorite and connect with collectors of all levels. Why did you start creating them and do you think you always will?

 

A: When my dad passed away- I was given a bird feeder. Everyone in my extended family had a bird book and binoculars on the table in the living room, so it was really just a matter of time.

 

During that winter of grief, I could provide for the birds and it soothed my heart to do it. I can practically hold them in my hand to paint these little paintings.

 

Yes. I will always paint them. I collect them myself.

I know they are painted on wood, often repurposed, recycled scrap, but I always call them paintings. They are tiny, but they are mighty. I really enjoy them and they are a great barometer for a good painting day. If the first 6:00 a.m. bird painting is going well, I clear the day and do as much painting as I can do. Those are cool days.

You never know what will happen.

Q: Some paintings resolve quickly, but sometimes they can take a long time to bring to a resolution...How do you know when to call a painting complete?

       

A:  Sometimes I don't.

But sometimes I walk out and come back in - and then I know if it is close.

 

Q: Art Bomb Studios is an incredible artist studio collaborative that you created here in the Village of West Greenville. What gave you the idea that a place like Art Bomb was needed and how did you go about making it the social place that it is?

       

A: Artists need quiet. They need affordable space, as your pay fluctuates wildly. They need distance from the public for the creating part of the job. It is intense work when you are seriously pushing yourself. Once you create that, and put a premium on good work, the rest will happen organically.

 

I do find it interesting when people say they think I am lucky to be an artist for a living- yes, it is good a lot, but being an artist is sort of a compulsion. 

 

You absolutely CAN be a artist for a living- If you want it for real, and  if you work a second job for a decade or so- which we have all been so happy to do because, well, Art.

 

The price is working very hard and constantly, and doing without security and stability. It takes a certain mindset...and if you do those things, and never stop working, people who can see the intention to communicate things and the poetic dialogue in the work will acquire it. It is the same as solving your confusion about your taxes by seeking a good accountant. Only it's about connecting your soul to another human through the visual explanation of something in the world. 

It's the marketplace of needs. 

People need art.

People need to make art.

I myself, actually have really enjoyed having a job that ended at 5 ( and good insurance) but apparently I'm not able to give up the free fall of creating things. I am grateful for a life I am suited for- it makes work a pleasure. If I had been given the mind of a tax accountant, I hope I would feel the same joy in that work. That is a blessing in any profession. 

Q: When you are in the studio, do you listen to music or podcasts or is silence preferred?

 

A: Podcasts about Genesis 6 lately - Sorting through that has made life like a Marvel Movie.

 

I don't listen to music much when I work. My mind, personally, never shuts off with music unless I am home and the day is done. I think it is a workday mindset or something.

 

Silence is good - I think of all the people I love, and all my friends from high school and often the places I can't return to while I'm working, and sometimes that gets to be a bit large, so I have to engage my head with massive, more objective concepts and over arching viewpoints that I almost can't grasp. Almost like distraction - so my decisions are instinctively driven perhaps. That is the most effective space for the 10,000 hours of muscle memory and what my inside mind is actually grappling with to surface into the painting. That's how painting stays the most interesting (to myself). It doesn't happen every time, but every day is a new attempt to get there.

Q: Being a celebrated artist with a long career, what advice would you give emerging artists?

 

A: Just don't stop working. Know you will be a better painter at the end of your life than you are right now - if you do it right- so just enjoy that goal unfolding
 

 

Q: What would you like collectors to know about you and your work?

 

A: That I appreciate that they are enjoying these efforts to connect with them. Truly - It touches my heart too.


You can enjoy and collect Diane's work, including pieces from her current exhibition through her artist page HERE.

16 Aiken St
Greenville, South Carolina 29611
US
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