"To Love It Just Because We Love It" with Peter Kiesners

December 20, 2018

My main focus in painting is people. I love to study people of all ages - they simply intrigue me and I never tire of noticing things about them. There seems to be an endless supply of moments which can be transformed into paintings - my goal is to capture some and further use these as references for works which leave the viewer feeling inspired.

To view Peter's full collection click - The Online Art Gallery of Peter Kiesners

My style is traditionally based and quite realistic with parts that are impressionistic. The idea here is to use older techniques in a contemporary fashion leading to a fresh, thought provoking look. I have been working in the visual arts for over 20 years as a designer, photographer and videographer. Of late, I am creating an increasing amount of painted art works and feel I have my past to thank for being better able to think, design paintings and paint.


What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?

After finishing high school I attended university for something else but before I knew it I was hanging around the art building and taking evening life drawing courses. I was simply drawn to fine art and knew it was for me.

How would you describe your own personal style?

Somewhat realistic but in an impressionistic kind of way - at least that is the goal. I love it when paint is used to create an illusion of something being there, but it still looks like paint, even globs of it.

What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?

I love seeing some of the older techniques being applied to contemporary themes. While today I spend a lot of time preparing and painting - in the future I want to evolve this into something more fluid and spend less time getting the drawing right. More about skillfully handling paint to create illusions that are simple yet real.

"Moment", Peter Kiesners, Oil, Gold Leaf on Canvas, 40cm x 55cm, 2018 


What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?

I am never satisfied quite with what I paint and I feel the next one will be closer to what I want to achieve. I want to reach people as well and the more I paint, the more there is a chance of doing this.

Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?

Yes, they come up now and then. Many people don’t think much about art and don’t have much to say - they feel it is outside their realm. But when someone shows up who is passionate about art (I don’t care what kind - be it arts, crafts, photography, theatre, film etc) then it inspires me too - I think they must be from my planet.

When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?

I like to use oils. You can keep them wet longer or make them dry fairly quickly. I like the working time they allow and the consistencies you can make with them. For brushes I use whatever suits the task at hand - long filberts for most of the work and then a host of detail brushes.

"Traveller", Peter Kiesners, Oil, Gold Leaf on Hardboard, 40cm x 50cm, 2018


When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?

I have to feel it inside. I go through a lot of ideas and then put them aside. I pick the ones later on which pop out at me and keep making me excited.

Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?

At this point I often allow the concept to choose me. I could be walking down the street or surfing the net. It could (and has) come from a place I visit. It could come from someone I meet. Then ideally I get a snapshot to start things off. If not, I come back and stage a shoot. Or, I have a snapshot and find things to add to it elsewhere. Then I assemble things in photoshop to make the composition which next gets drawn in pencil. This then is the basis for the painting and on top of that goes layers of paint.

Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?

I simply consider it production. Quite a bit of planning goes into the piece so it does tend to be more of a routine. But well into the painting the passion factor has to be pretty high in order to get anywhere, especially finished.

"The Ride", Peter Kiesners, Oil on Hardboard, 85cm x 60cm, 2018


When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?

I like to work at 2 or 3 at a time. That way there is more commitment. While I work on those, I also look to line up the next ones.

How has your art evolved to be where it is today?

Practice. Last year I started to paint a lot more on a regular basis. The improvement is exciting and the process is becoming less serious as my skill develops. I still have to go to work during the day but eventually I hope not to so that I can take things over the top.

Which of your artworks are you most proud off?

The Couple in the Hall

"Couple in the Hall", Peter Kiesners, Oil on Hardboard, 40cm x 50cm, 2018


Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?

I admire quite a few, in a big way. Jeremy Lipking, Costa Dvorezsky, Michael Carson, Nick Alm, Malcolm Liepke, Jeremy Mann, Brad Kunkle to name a few. These artists have solid painting skills and because of them (and others) figurative art has made a resurgence. Basically I love how they paint the figure and the concepts they are coming up with.

If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?

Late 1800's and early 1900's. The period of Sargent.

What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?

There is a lot of insanity in art. In music for example, if you have a great album there is a chance it can become popular. People love and enjoy music and they know what they like and don’t like. Most people don’t listen to abstract music. With art it is weird because we rely too heavily on critics to decide for us. Because of the big movements in abstract art we feel we don’t have enough understanding to appreciate it at times. Art needs to be explained. I like a lot of abstract work but it is often hard to understand if there is any skill involved since the message can be vague. I think art has to align itself more with music, film, fashion, dance and even photography in the sense that we should be able to love it just because we love it. Or realise it if it’s not so great and not feel awkward if we don’t agree with critics. I think online galleries are helping a lot with this and breaking the old assumptions.

"Woman on Sofa", Peter Kiesners, Oil on Hardboard, 50cm x 40cm, 2018


What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?

Technique is something that needs to be developed and practised. Not unlike dance or music - a casual approach won’t get you far. So competence is key. Business is also very important too, since you are likely to end up as a one man company if you actually want to sell work. All the rules of good business practice apply here and I know I certainly have a lot to learn with this.

Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?

At this point things go in two directions for me. I love the aesthetic styles of the high renaissance in Italy where figures are somewhat stylised and greatly finished to fine detail - I like seeing this happen today as well. On the other hand I also like what comic artists are doing (manga, anime etc), drawing from imagination, it amazes me.

We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?

No, not really. If it isn’t working out I start over. If I feel I am over working it I stop and sign it. A very clever author once said: “It doesn’t much matter whether you take seven years or seven minutes to do something, since the time has no aesthetic bearing. It isn’t how hard anyone works at it.”

"Contra-Bassist", Peter Kiesners, Oil and Gold Leaf on Hardboard, 2018


Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?

Ideally I think the message is very important but expression is good too. I feel art belongs above science since it usually starts with a vision, dream or thought. Science follows later. If someone hadn’t dreamt about flying, we wouldn’t have planes. What I am trying to say is that is is the arts which define us as a society. When technology takes a front seat then we go astray. After all, we are not machines.

What are you working on at the moment?

Two paintings. One if of a woman wrapped in a sheet looking up and off to the distance. Another is of of a figure from behind, approaching a large ship. One is moody, one is sunny.

When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?

I am currently building up my portfolio and as I see my body of work evolve, I will apply to exhibit.

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