I recently attended an artist exhibit at Fez, 227 Summer Street in Stamford. The event was part of their Artist in Residence Program, and it featured Kathy Muir, a Scottish photographer and singer. The room was filled with people discussing initiatives to increase venues for art and cultural experience throughout the state. I am interested in these initiatives since they impact quality of life in CT, which impacts demand for real estate and property values. I had a few questions for Kathy, especially since her photography is truly “wall worthy” and would enhance any room in your home. Her photos are mesmerizing representations of nature, people, places and still life. You can see them at http://kathymuirphotography.com/
Can you share the story of how you became an artist?
That is a great question. In all honesty, the first time I thought of myself as an artist was only three years ago when I moved to the States. I had been writing for oh, at least 20 years but had never gone out there and performed. The reason for this was quite simple: I wrote songs because I wanted to write, never really thinking about financial reward or otherwise. I often draw a parallel to a painter. I mean, a painter paints because he needs to; it’s in his creative genes, not because he expects to make money.
Anyway, when I moved to the States a friend of mine heard my music and thought I was really good. He called me an artist. I denied it at first, but over time I finally gave in!
With that newfound belief, I have been pretty relentless in expressing my art as extensively as possible. I think I am in the studio working on my 35th song.
First and foremost, I am a singer-songwriter. However, I enjoy writing not only lyrics but short stories, stories inspired by images, or poetry inspired by images.
With regard to photography, like many folks I have always taken photographs. Again, I only started to pay more attention as to how I was taking my shots in the last four or five years. I think that with any art form, or any skill for that matter, it takes many hours of effort to actually hone. I found myself increasingly drawn to black and white imagery combined with a square format instead of the regular 4 x 6 type format. There is something about the square format that is challenging and more satisfying.
How do you think art improves communities?
I often say that art is not a creative delicacy it’s a creative need. Often people can think that “art” is fancy; that it is only for a select few. In fact, art is for everyone and it is this alone that helps to create a bridge for communities. There are so many ways in which art can be embedded in a community. I know of a church group back home in Edinburgh called Messy Church. On Sunday afternoons moms and dads come to the local community center and watch their children paint, draw, play games, and even join in themselves! There is a group in Boston called ArtLifting that empowers homeless and disabled individuals through the sale of their artwork. These are just two examples. Closer to Stamford we can’t ignore the wonderful work done by the Loft Artists Association, a diverse group dedicated to sharing their appreciation of the power of art with the community in which they work.
As you can see, Art is everywhere in the community!
What advice would you give home owners in regard to choosing art for their homes?
I would say it is a personal choice. Also, I think that you should consider the space in which you are showing art. The setting of a painting, drawing our photograph can either dilute or enhance the energy of the art we see before us.
I would say consider the light in the room, any reflections that may hinder the appreciation of the art; and consider how much space should be given around the art. If you are still unsure, go to galleries in and around Fairfield County as they give some great examples of framing and the space between.
Here’s the info about the Artist in Residence Program at the Fez:
The Fez supports artists of many types, both musically and visually. The Artist in Residence Program allows artists to proudly showcase local artists in our restaurant through exhibition in our dining room. The restaurant, moderate in size, offers an intimate viewing. Most important, the space offers excellent exposure with a steady stream of new patrons. The Fez seats at least 350 people per week.
Current Exhibit: Featuring the Photographic Genius of Kathy Muir
“PLACES IN OUR MINDS” February 8th – May 14th
You can learn more about Kathy at http://kathymuirphotography.com/