Inside the Studio

Kai McCall

Favorite material to work with?
Oil paint on oil primed linen.

What themes do you pursue?
I find one of the most important things in painting is to pursue two seemingly contradictory paths. The first is to continuously develop new themes, subjects and emotions in your work. The second is to ensure that this essential variety be contained within the uniting force of your own subjective self. Picasso did this really well.

How many years as an artist?
20 years.

Sketchbook? Do you use one? What type?
I should spend more time drawing, but I’m usually too excited to start painting.

Where is your studio?
Montreal, Canada.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
“If you don’t know where to start, start anywhere” –My first painting teacher.

Process> Concept or Process<Concept
While it may be useful to talk separately about the elements of Process and Concept, in reality they are woven together so deeply that it’s impossible to separate them.  Art is neither solely an act of the hand nor the head, but a marriage between the two.

iTunes, spotify, records?
Cassettes…..still the best way to listen to music. After 20 plus years mine are still going strong. Just a quick question: why do so many people buy the same music over and over again in different formats?

What’s around the corner from your place?
I can’t really take this question at face value. Let’s be honest, the thing around the corner from my place is also around the corner from yours….we can’t escape it.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
Je serais un artiste.

Would you rather see your art on a t-shirt or on a billboard?
Billboards are large panels, reminiscent of paintings, except that they are almost always less interesting. Something about the bulky format of billboards makes them excessively declamatory –bombastic even. I’m all for art on t-shirts.

Favorite contemporary artist?
Anselm Keifer.

A piece of art you love?
Titian’s “Portrait of the Vendramin Family” (National Gallery, London).

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
A David Hockney from the 60’s or 70’s plus a late Velazquez.

Which living or dead artist would you most like to meet?

Is painting dead?
Humans have been painting for about 35 000 years. I would have to have truly terrible luck if painting died just as I’m getting going.

Palette knifes?
Are essential.

Monet or Manet?
Manet by a long shot.

Feelings on taxidermy?
I’m not a sculptor but I’m going to answer this question anyway. The effect of seeing taxidermy in art is usually a disjointed feeling, where the animal has too much of its own history and individuality to successfully integrate into a work of art. I’m not saying artists shouldn’t use it, it’s just very difficult to harmonize taxidermy with the other elements of a sculpture.