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Art & Life with Kaye Buchman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaye Buchman.

Kaye, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
As a young child, I had an early awareness of wanting to spend my life as an artist. We had a neighbor who had set up a studio in his bedroom. It was thrilling to visit him there and watch him work on paintings. I was fascinated by his art tools, the smell of the oil paint, and seeing his work take form.

I studied art at Illinois State University where I received my BFA in printmaking. After taking a year off to focus on my work, I enrolled at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and completed my MFA in painting and drawing. Knowing that I needed time to let my work develop outside of a university setting, I began traveling and researching various themes that have stuck with me throughout my career.

I have worked with a wide range of media including drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking, and animation. While exploring these practices, my goal has been to express my personal experiences through the expressive qualities of the natural world. I am drawn to the movement of water, the liveliness of forest life, seasonal changes, and weather patterns. The human-made factors that are putting ever-increasing strains on our ecological world are of strong interest to me.

While I have been pursuing my professional art practice, I have also worked as an art instructor and arts administrator. These jobs have been instrumental in building relationships centered on art and community. Wanting to provide more opportunities for artists, I opened KB Studio, an art education, exhibition, and event center in East Rogers Park in January 2017. This experience has brought together many of my passions and provides a space for all sorts of creative adventures.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am interested in expressing my personal experiences through the lens of nature. I love the outdoors, hiking, gardening, studying, and interacting with all the beauty and complexity found there. Although I grew up in suburban New Jersey, my family spent summers in rural Pennsylvania and at the Jersey shore. I believe these experiences early in life left a deep imprint for the work I create.

Although I work with a wide range of media, pen & ink drawing and watercolor painting are the materials I turn to the most. My work is primarily done on large-scale pieces of paper and begins with loosely applied watercolor washes inspired by algae blooms. Once dry, I add ink gestures using an assortment of handmade tools and then develop the content of the piece with more refined pen & ink mark-making. The pieces can take anywhere from two weeks to two years to complete.

Through the years, I have become more and more committed to making work that is environmentally responsible. I recently started using Air Ink, an ink made with carbon found in air pollution and I regularly fashion tools from recycled materials. These practices are helping me to create work that is more directly connected to the environmental issues we collectively face. While working as an artist, I am always reminded that we do not stand apart from nature, but are very much a living part of it. My hope is that we all take heed and work towards a more responsible and balanced relationship with the natural world.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
The world of art-making often requires a commitment to solitary work. This can be very difficult for artists looking to connect with others who share their interests, passions, frustrations, and isolation. I have found that it is important to find and/or create your own community that will help keep you focused and support your growth as an artist. This is the very reason I opened my own studio. It functions as a creative community, a place to connect and learn, and an organic space for new things to take form. I definitely recommend taking risks, enrolling in classes/workshops/support groups, exploring new materials, connecting with mentors, and overcoming fears of sharing your work with others. I do believe the world is a better place for artists being in it and we all need to share the importance of art/artists being a force for good in our communities.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My next one-person exhibition will be at the Brushwood Center for Art, Nature and Well-Being. The center is located on a 500 acre property in Ryerson Woods in the town of Riverwoods, Illinois (a few miles west of the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe).

My work can also be seen on my website and at my studio in East Rogers Park Email if you would like to visit or be added to our mailing list for future exhibitions and events.

Contact Info:

  • Address: KB Studio
    1523 West Fargo Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60626
  • Website: and
  • Email:
  • Instagram: #kbstudiochicago
  • Facebook: kaye buchman

Image Credit:
Photo images by Kaye Buchman

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