Friday, July 27, 2012

Doreen Gay Kassel

How is it that you came to be an illustrator/artist?
I never wanted to be anything else. I have been drawing and sculpting as long as I can remember. When I was a girl my father did some book design for Franklin Watts (I think), I remember being given an illustrated children's book, done in watercolor washes. The main character, a little girl, had to sit on a horsehair sofa. The illustrator showed, by her expression, how the backs of her thighs itched (girls wore skirts and knee socks back then). I remember being enchanted with the illustration. My grandmother and aunt also gave me many classic children's books, The Wind in the Willows, The Brother's Grimm, Illustrated Volumes of Nursery Rhymes and stories, all influenced my decision to become an artist. Another reason I wanted to be an illustrator instead of a 'fine' artist was because I never wanted to have to be a waitress (which I knew I couldn't be anyway).
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I went to the School of Visual Arts for illustration & the Fashion Institute of Technology for textile design, which has really helped my understanding of color & design. I couldn't wait to get out of high school, which I hated, and into art school, which I loved.  I had to go to art school in New York, because I thought it was the center of the universe and I wasn't disappointed. 
 Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an artist?
My father was an artist & he influenced me more than anyone. There was always creative activity in the house with him. Oil painting, watercolor painting, photography, airbrush, sculpture, type design, map design, furniture making. He did it all, and he did it well. He went to Cooper Union at night when I was a little girl and we lived in Greenwich Village, which was an quite an influence too. I loved all of his homework assignments. Being an artist always seemed like the best thing in the world to me.
What inspires you now?
So many things around me. Stuff that's off beat and vintage. Stuff that's a bit worn and loved up. Animals, patterns. Children's rhymes and stories. European art and architecture from an earlier time, carnival, masquerade balls.
Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style of work for instance what types of medium do you like to work in?
I paint and draw and work in pastels but now I mainly work in three dimensions, or in relief. I've discovered a technique that I absolutely love. I use white polymer, cure it and apply a series of coats of oil paint, which I rub off and reapply. I creates a soft and subtly colored vintage look.
What types of markets do you do art for?
 After doing children's books and products for many years I began to create sculptural pieces that tell a story in another way. Each ornament, tile or small sculpture has its own narrative going on. 
Are there links to your images you would like to share?
These are links to my website, blog and agent...
Do you offer other things regarding art, like teaching or classroom visits?
I teach workshops all over the country, they are listed on my website.  and in 2013 I'll be teaching my first, week-long workshop in France!
Here is a link...
Do you currently have product on the market? books, gifts or home products?
My children's books are on Amazon. I also have my ornaments in art galleries across the country, including an opera group, a diva, a maestro and Pagliacci, for the NY Metropolitan Opera Shop and I'm just looking into licensing some of my artwork.
What is the thing you love most about what you do?
I love the excitement and discovery. I love being alone and losing myself in it. And I get a huge kick out of the fact that it makes people smile. 

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE her characters! I wish the images were bigger to see them better but they are fantastic! So fun and inspiring work! I an intrigued by the technique she is using to create the vintage feel. Very well executed. And I totally agree with her on getting a huge kick out of making people smile. That's also my motto!