Tuesday, October 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 33

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on January 10th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 45

Go with the flow: Artist Kathy Badrak switches up her style


Artist Kathy Badrak is having fun getting her hands dirty.

The artist, featured in a new exhibit hosted by Ameriprise Financial in Santa Maria called Color in Motion, has had a successful career creating gourd art—sculpted pieces made out of dried Cucurbitaceae such as pumpkins and squash. Her work is frequently exhibited in museums and galleries, earning her a solid reputation in the medium. But last year, Badrak decided to try something different.

Gourd artist Kathy Badrak recently switched to working with fluid acrylics, taking a break from the medium she’s worked in for the past seven years. “It’s also given me an opportunity to show work in other places where it might not be as easy to show gourds because you can hang the canvas on the walls,” she said of her new projects.

"I am primarily a gourd artist," she explained. "I have been doing gourds for six or seven years. I carve and woodburn and make sculptures out of them. I love texture and color. But I was looking to take a break from gourd work. So I got into fluid acrylics."

Fluid acrylics are paints designed to have a runny consistency so as to allow the artist to pour them and control the direction and speed of the flow. The medium isn't meant to incorporate a brush and typically involves a heavy hands-on process in moving both the paint and the canvas.

"It's a matter of tilting and manipulating the canvas," Badrak said. "It's abstract work, and I'm able to be very expressive with the medium and it really gives me an opportunity to express my feelings. I become one with the painting. It's all the things that are special to me as an artist."

Badrak's background in art has always emphasized a more tactile relationship with her media. She first started working in stained glass and then moved on to creating baskets.

"My background is in nature and collecting," she said. "I love to be outdoors. A lot of my color combinations come from that. Fluid acrylics give me a chance to play with more color. I start with a white canvas and can go in any direction. With gourds you have to start with a light brown surface and it's pretty restricted. With a white canvas I can put whatever texture or flow I want on it."

Kathy Badrak’s new work is currently featured at Ameriprise Financial in Santa Maria, part of a new venture the company hopes will continue with other local artists. A public reception with the artist is scheduled at the company for Jan. 18 from 4 to 7 p.m.

The artist said she doesn't spend too much time contemplating an overall theme or plotting out what a picture might be. Abstract art, after all, comes with its own element of chaos.

"Sometimes a painting just takes over and just becomes what it wants to be," Badrak said. "I might wake up with an idea in my mind but then I get to the canvas and the paint lets me know it wants to be something else."

Megan Duarte, local Ameriprise representative, thought the art would be a welcome addition in the company's new office spaces in Santa Maria. She said the company is interested in inviting more local artists to share their walls in the future.

"It has generated a lot of conversation," Duarte said of Badrak's work. "We're thinking about changing it up periodically, perhaps once a quarter,  to highlight something different, along with a reception for the artist. It's about sharing art with the community."

Fans of the gourd work Badrak is known for need not worry that she's abandoned the medium for good. Not only will she have some on display at the reception on Jan. 18, Badrak plans to revisit them soon. She said while she needed a break to explore other genres, she's ready to come back and incorporate some of the new tricks she's learned.

Color in motion
A free reception with artist Kathy Badrak is planned for Jan. 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Ameriprise Financial at 2605 S. Miller St., suite 104, Santa Maria. More info: 938-9724.

"I'm feeling them calling me back," she said. "This isn't a new direction for me; it's a continuation of my past."

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose is always continuing her past. Contact her at rrose@santamariasun.com.

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