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Life & Work with Kristin Kleyer Mangum

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristin Kleyer Mangum.

Hi Kristin Kleyer. We’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
As an artist, I think it is a beautiful thing that I can creatively share who I am for people to visually see & feel. My International Fiber Mixed Media Sculptures are a good representation of me and how I’ve developed & evolved as a person & an artist.

I grew up in Southern Illinois, outside St. Louis, Missouri, with a close family & community. I was active & creative, enjoying the beauty of the outdoors & the value of hard work & play. I had a formal art education earning a fine art BFA, MA & MFA, loving to create in many ways, from painting & drawing to digging in, sculpting & building with my hands.

During the first year at my university, in Art History class, I discovered my love of different cultures & I began to incorporate that influence into my art. That summer, my mom & I took our first trip abroad to see the art & beauty of the world, that I had my eyes opened to. We toured around Italy with my large art history book, highlighting & in awe. It was life-changing in many ways & my “addiction” started.

I ended up choosing a career in art education, having the opportunity to share what I was passionate about, helping others discover & develop their skills while always continuing to create as an artist myself.

Ever since that first trip, I have lived, studied & consistently traveled abroad. This includes always wandering, soaking in the amazingness out there, “rooting around” for nature finds everywhere I go, even taking students on trips to expose & share the wonder & beauty of other parts of the world.

Having fun country counting & setting big goals for myself through the years has taken me “for art’s sake” to 100+ countries on all 7 continents. Whether repeating or exploring new, there are always so many more places to experience & creations to convey that.

My travels are how I seek out & find my pure wools & cotton that I incorporate into my International Fiber Mixed Media Sculptures, and it is my ultimate treasure hunt. Taking in the sights & colors of the landscapes, the architecture & the uniqueness of the culture all play a part in what I gather to create.

Weaving the fibers, I gather on the go, then return to my studio in Scottsdale, Arizona, furthering building & incorporating ceramic, wood & metal forms – adding painting, drawing & my precious finds. My Fiber Mixed Media allows me to combine ALL the things I love to do, creating with materials that are strong alone, but when unified, complement each other & become even stronger together (a lot like us in life).

Textures, textures & textures, using many senses while creating, plays a big part of my art process. From the initial design, gathering my supplies, building, even painting with my hands, getting “into” the experience, to the final touch, I am in it all.

Keeping each sculpture made from natural materials, natural in form & materials solely from 1 country, is important to me, allowing one to display “A Piece of the World.” In each creation, sharing memories and dreams, showing the natural, earthy, organic beauty in a tactile sculpture for everyone to “feel”.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth?
I am always continuing to learn & develop. I thoroughly enjoy creating & always continued to work in many techniques while teaching them to others. During my Graduate Studies abroad (returning to Florence, Italy), my love & passion for Fibers (angels singing!) was cemented. I was taught to weave using different historical techniques but always gave it my own voice, weaving unique, organic sculptures vs. the traditional vessels. I was in love with the materials, the process, everything.

Stitch by stitch, coil by coil, I continued to weave through the years but still created other types of projects. I put my art out there through the years, having successes, but I would get discouraged. Like many of us, I think I often got in my way. I found that my fiber sculptures took longer, taking weeks to months to create & it was more physical for me. I knew what I was creating was different & had concerns that creating my Fibers may not always be necessarily understood & accepted, but I loved it. I did not always see & feel that my individuality was a unique & beautiful thing.

It wasn’t until later when I started to learn, accept & stay more true to ME, that I felt I had found my way.
I decided to fully jump in as a full-time artist in the last few years. Having the time that we have all had to slow down, appreciate, and dig deep (continuing to produce & joking that I would be on the hoarder show if I didn’t just put my art fully out there), I decided to keep pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, pursuing & continue to do what I love, just for ME. I am doing what I love, being genuinely who I am, naturally & fully putting myself out there. Anything comes from that is a pure bonus.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
KKARTISTA ARTWORKS

AWARDED JURIED ARTIST STATUS
Arizona – USA

– REPRESENTATION –

-ON THE EDGE GALLERY- Scottsdale, Arizona

-FOUNTAIN HILLS ARTISTS GALLERY- Fountain Hills, Arizona

-THE FINER ARTS GALLERY-
Cave Creek, Arizona

-HIDDEN IN THE HILLS

STUDIO TOUR-
Meandering Paths Studio
Carefree, Arizona
ANNUALLY – NOVEMBER

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
I have to say that my parents are the origin of my creative inspiration. With my father being a hard-working – build, create & grow anything type of guy and my mother – the loving, nurturing, supportive cheerleader, I have learned many things that I cherish & use daily. Many of the tools I use to create with & even hang my artwork with were handed down through my family’s generations, adding to each piece’s sentimental feeling. I am the type of person that believes & feels that everyone you encounter adds to your life & helps make you who you are. Having all my experiences (good & bad), I carry those with me for inspiration & fuel. My family, husband, friends, teachers, art students & people I continue to meet through the years while traveling “for art sake”, even my English Bulldogs are all my inspiration are all considered mentors, advocates & unconditional support to me, in different ways. All of the people & experiences help me & my artwork grow, naturally, organically & with feeling.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.kkartista.com
  • Instagram: @kkartista
  • Facebook: Kristin Kleyer Mangum

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