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Thalo loves to promote artists and each month, we spotlight a member of our community!

This month we are pleased to have Debbie Kern as the September thalo Spotlight Artist.

THALO TEAM: Can you give an "elevator pitch" of your work?

Debbie Kern: I am a formally trained painter/sculptor, who has spent the lion-share of my creative life in New York City but was greatly influenced by my travels in Mexico and Southeast Asia.

"Baby on A String"  12"x12" Clay, Plaster, Wire and Acrylic on Wood panel

TT: Is there a common theme throughout your work? Is there something you want your artwork to convey to people who see it?

DK: My work is a content driven exploration of the ever changing female form and psyche. It is a tool for me to see things as I wish they were or perhaps really are; to order the chaos surrounding and inside myself. There are always women, babies, tree roots, tumultuous waters, hungry fish and bones. I enjoy gothic and romantic images so I see the world through these eyes.

TT: Which artists do you feel have influenced your art the most?

DK: Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon, Francisco Goya, David Siquieros

"Bodies" 48"x48" Oil on Canvas

TT: Imagine you got to design your perfect Gallery Show. Tell us what it is!

DK: Whenever I see my work on a gallery wall it seems to lose something in the sterile environment. I would like each painting to be surrounded by all of the reference materials I used and compiled so the thought process and choices can be seen alongside the result.

TT: Out of all of your creations (or bodies of work) which one did/do you find the most cathartic in creating?

DK: A few of my pieces began as paintings I had difficulty in executing. I laid aside the first one for a time and made a sculpture relief of the painting to aid with form and shadows. In doing so I created another related artwork. I then went back and painted a picture of it. I even painted from a portion of the sculpture and created yet another finished work. The works seem to spawn themselves.

"Birth/Baby on A String" 30"x30" Oil on Canvas

TT: How has your work or technique changed over time?

DK: I attempt to push a little less than I did in the past and let the works speak to me. I usually have about 7 pieces in progress at one time so I don't become too controlling with just one. Since having kids, my work is often about the dueling parts of myself; artist vs. mom.

TT: How do you promote yourself and your art?

DK: I do local shows whenever possible, enter contests, submit to galleries and post often on social media. I also teach which can lead to word of mouth commissions.

"Ladies Still Waiting" 16"x20" Oil on Wood

TT: What was your first work of art that you were proud of? Where is it now?

DK: This would have to be a charcoal reproduction of a Masaccio painting that I did at Parsons. It was a routine exercise but I loved the mood and style I achieved and use it often in my work. It is on my wall; not for sale.

TT: Do you take commissions? Why or why not?

DK: I do take commissions; only for those that appreciate what I do and how I work. I love the opportunity to stretch myself creatively; leave my comfort zone, yet I cannot make another artist's painting no matter how much the pay is.

"Ribbons and Pearls" 20"x16" Oil on Canvas

TT: What do you do when you aren't working on artwork (hobbies, job, etc.)?

DK: Interior decorating, or basically refinishing every surface in my house. I also enjoy baking and gardening.

TT: What is your favorite medium to work with, or what medium brings you the most satisfaction to use? Are there any mediums that you don't currently use that you'd like to explore?

DK: Oils will always be my medium of choice; I love the smells (toxic that they may be) and the buttery feel of application. I would like to delve further into mold making and possibly working with plastics.

TT: Is there something that you would like to share with us that we have not covered, that pertains to you and your work?

DK: I am often trying to battle what I see as an inner vision and what others would like to see. I am drawn to the macabre but this is a very small audience I am playing to. It is a constant balancing act. An artwork is not complete without an audience.

TT: More of Debbie Kern's work can be seen here:

To see the spotlight artist archives, click here!