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Art & Life with Mystele Kirkeeng

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mystele Kirkeeng.

Mystele, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I am knit together to encourage- to give courage, that is, to help others thrive. And, I’m knit together to create.

When I am being who I’m meant to be, I am more alive to God and more present in life than in any other daily occupation. I’ve always been creative- pretending, playing piano, singing, writing, performing, nesting, making, but it took an honest admission of a years long struggle with depression to unearth the painter in me.

Once I hit the wall with depression near the end of 2007, I lost all desire to create and essentially hid from the world as much as possible. Around the beginning of February 2008, I began to come out of the constant haze and felt the creative urge resurfacing, too. One day I found myself asking God what I should do next, and he said, “Why don’t you try sketching?”

And so, it began. Sketching led to painting, and painting flung open the doors to a world in which I found my fit.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
All the play-filled paths I’ve followed since 2008 have led me into a love affair with process driven, mark by mark, problem solving. Painting after painting, I am mesmerized by the artistic excursions that begin with the elemental building blocks we call “marks”. The simple act of making a mark, whether with line, color, or collage, helps shine a light on what captivates our hearts and minds, giving voice to our stories. I just can’t get enough!!

I abstract my (mainly female) subjects from what may seem like an unruly, dissonant mess of marks, color and texture, but, to me, the mess is the most fantastic playground of imagination and sight. The layers created eventually yield the quirk-ily beautiful, imperfect, Southern folk art inspired characters and scenes that make you stop long enough to smile, to think, to remember, to laugh, to feel life in all of its bitter-sweetness, and to take heart in the midst of it all.

My prayer is that the art that comes out of my life will renew your sense of Wonder in the midst of a world that has so many dark places.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
I don’t think there has ever been one role for artists to play. Artists create what is meaningful to them at any given point in their lives.

When I started painting ten years ago, I knew that encouragement was something I was supposed to share through my art, even when it was mixed with sorrow or frustration or melancholy. Art was my way to talk with God about what I knew to be true about life in the midst of gaining victory over depression.

Today, encouragement is still what I hope to impart through my work, but I find that it is also vital for me to process social/global issues that tug at my heart. I can’t separate what affects or concerns me as a human being from the art I create. So, if I need to “speak out” or simply think about something going on in the world, I will do so without hesitation.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I sell my art through my online shop. I also welcome inquiries through Instagram or my Facebook page as new work is posted.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mystele Kirkeeng

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