Meet Your Neighbor: Artist Kerry Niemann Painting, Drawing In Apache Junction
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Name: Kerry Niemann
City / District: Apache Junction
When did you switch to Apache Junction: I moved to the Apache Junction area in 2012 and quickly became interested in drawing the superstitions as well as the locals, horses, bulls and riders, and the actors in the shootout. Among my first drawing subjects at Apache Junction were a horse named Elvis and a few scenes from the outdoor patio of the Hitching Post Saloon.
Where do you find your subjects? : When I first moved here I was surprised to see horses linger in front of the living room, but customers actually rode them there. With live music and bull racing, the Hitching Post was a mecca for art, and I have frequented the establishment for several years. I also drew some of the actors and shootout sets in Goldfield Ghost Town and hiked a lot of superstitions to draw.
How long have you been drawing and painting? What is your favorite medium? : I have drawn and painted – mainly landscapes – for 20 years in the different states where I lived: Kansas, Colorado and California. I almost always worked in the open air, drawing fields, hay bales, farms, beaches, abandoned mines, downed cars… whatever sounded interesting. My favorite medium was pen and ink – either a technical pen or a calligraphy pen dipped in ink; and my paper was typically eight by ten inches so it could fit in my backpack when I went out for a hike or bike.
When did you first get interested in large-scale painting? : I became interested in large-scale painting after participating in wall fresco projects in Mesa a few years ago. Doing a mural on an 8-by-13-foot wall made me give up some of my previous painting and drawing styles… less detail, less control, and larger areas of color. I did a sort of ‘surrealist-expressionist’ mural of Superstitions with horses and riders at the Mesa Brew Festival in 2017. It was one of five other murals along the exterior wall of a building. along MacDonald and Main Street, each performed by a different artist. I painted my own garage door in 2015 with a similar mural, using spray paint, and earlier this year I painted a mural of the Salt River horses on the hood of my ‘ 92 Pathfinder – kayaking on salt was another abundant resource for painting subjects. I liked it so much that I removed the painted hood from my car and plan to hang it in my living room. Right now, I’m finishing a 4ft by 6ft panel painting of a scene inspired by the Riding of the Bulls at the Hitching Post.
Which artists inspire you? : When I was studying at the University of Kansas Art School in the 1990s – the state I grew up in – many of my teachers were steeped in Abstract Expressionism. We looked at a lot of “Bay Area figurative art”. I also looked at Fritz Scholder’s paintings, and then later saw some of his works in galleries in Colorado and Arizona. I appreciate how these artists used intense colors and brushstrokes to convey social / psychological position. I was also inspired by the iconic painters of the South West: Frederic Remington, Charles Russell and Edgar Payne. I like the idea of merging a large expressionist painting with a regional subject.
More information: Go to KerryNiemann.com.