Today we’d like to introduce you to Kahlil Irving.
Kahlil, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I studied at the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri earning my Bachelors of Fine Arts majoring in Art History and Ceramics. During my time there, I was rigorously engaged by some professors that helped me see the world is a complicated place to live within. The time and experience helped me get to study abroad reinforcing all the information that was shared with me as a student.
In 2017, I graduated from Washington University in Saint Louis, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual. Where I was a Chancellors Graduate Fellow. Within my time there, I pursued my work within the school and in the local community. That pushed how I engage in researching and building my practice as an artist and as a professional. Life in undergraduate and graduate school was quite complicated and difficult to process. Not only to process but to figure out how to persevere. Now, having completed my studies, I work to further the career I started.
I am working with Callicoon Fine Arts in New York City, New York. We are presenting a solo booth of my work at Art Basel Miami Beach in December. From Sept 26th to December 9th, I will have a solo exhibition on view at Wesleyan University called “Street Matter – Decay & Forever/Golden Age.” It will be the largest exhibition of my work today. It will be comprised of mixed media sculpture, found objects, and collage.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road but I have to say thank you to my mentors, friends, and my Grandmother Ernestiene Irving who all have helped and been there even when nothing was moving. It has been a slow incline to a great trajectory. If it were not for a group of people who believed in me from the get-go, I am unsure where I would be. I know there was something within me that got me going, but the community and chosen family that I have built really was the catalyst for me to make it.
It is hard to live, balance money, enjoy life, be healthy, and work at the same time. It is possible and we all cannot forget about our team that we have and want around us.
Tell us more about your work.
I am an artist, I make sculpture and installations. The sculptures are varied and are made of a variety of materials and media. The range is from; clay, digital weaving, digital printing, printmaking, wood, and found objects.
I have been making ceramic objects for almost 15 years and now seeing all the different ways what I am interested in can be represented and take shape. I hope I am known for making complicated sculptures. I am not really knowledgeable on what I am known for but hopefully will keep adding and building that conversation with my audience as an artist.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Images of Sculptures, Kahlil Robert Irving, Streets:Chains:Cocktails, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, 2017, Photography Sean Fader, Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York