I’ve been a professional artist for 25 years. In that time I’ve painted in oil, gouache and acrylic, on canvas, wood and cardboard boxes. I’ve dabbled in printmaking and encaustic and I’ve given blood (I do mean that literally), sweat and tears to the craft of embroidery.
I’ve loved them all and never say never as to what I will do next. What I do know is that I wake up every morning with a need to create art. It is how I connect with the world and express who I am.
My most recent work, started January 2021 is a form of pandemic diary. My life has become very small and given me an opportunity to think about the moments that make up a day. My dog barking, the houses we walk past, the knotty tree I didn’t notice yesterday.
Painting these moments force me, and I hope the viewer, to “realize life while we live it” (to quote Thorton Wilder).
The scenes are rendered not as they are, but as they appear in my mind with flattened shapes, distorted perspectives and romanticized palettes. While the work is primarily oil painting, I have pulled elements from past series to clarify my voice. This includes cardboard layers, outlined shapes and influences of outsider art to infuse the scenes with my humor, humanity and warped look at the world.
Kathy Halper became an artist after a career writing advertising. Over the years, she has explored many different mediums and themes.
While raising teenagers at the onset of the social media revolution, she became fascinated by found online photos of teens at play and began a series exploring privacy and parenting in the age of public posting. This led to a series of embroidered drawings and portraits on this generational conflict and saw this work being represented by Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago, George Billis Gallery in LA and Muriel Guepin in New York City as well as countless museum and gallery exhibits. Her work has been shown in Art Basel Miami and has been written about in Huffington Post, art magazines and blogs all over the world.
While Halper will occasionally return to textile work, her work has become even more personal, showcasing her sharp humor, creative exploration and storytelling skills. In the past few years, she has created political narratives through oil on board, cardboard 3D paintings that tell stories of her life, contemporary folk art paintings and most recently, mixed media depictions of pandemic life.
The artist lives in Evanston, IL with her husband and dog.