PAUL KRONER Visual Artist
“At the heart of my work is a desire to find the intersection of art and design, where the relationship of shape, form, color, line and mark-making work in harmony to communicate, guide, and engage the viewer in a unique experience”
Paul Kroner is a designer, sculptor, painter and photographer. An innate curiosity has led him to explore these different modes of expression. He says, “it’s all fair game to me, as long as design, expression, and visual narrative are considered in context of structure and composition, and that I’m having fun in the process”. Paul finds inspiration everywhere—landscapes, city scenes and the human form—with his works showing a deliberate use of line, color, and negative space.
In addition to his design studies at UC, Paul has studied sculpture and painting at the Massachusetts College of Art and The International School of Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture in Umbria, Italy. His work has been shown in numerous galleries and solo and group shows in New England and Ohio, and is in several private collections.
Read on to learn more about Paul:
How long have you been an artist?
"I’m pretty sure I’ve been an artist my entire life, but it wasn’t until 2008 that I started to actually believe that I was. I still struggle with the calling myself an artist, as it feels so pretentious, but I maintain an ongoing art practice and studio in Lower Price Hill, and am happy to occasionally sell my artwork, so therefore I’m an artist!"
What in your youth/childhood helped you decide to become an artist?
"My parents were relentless creators out of necessity. They had eight children in a tiny house without much money, and my father was constantly engaging all of us in various art activities and my mother was always looking for ways to make new and interesting meals and to make our humble home a creative haven for all of us. They encouraged all of us to be artists, which is why we have several musicians, cooks, and artists in the family".
Has your work changed over the years? How so?
"My work is constantly changing. I move fluidity from one medium to another, from representational to abstract, and from 2D to 3D. Art is expression and each expression needs to be authentic, which means it can’t be forced into a single mode of execution. The variety keeps my mind engaged and hopefully keeps the work fresh and new".
Is there anything in particular that you like to achieve in your finished works?
"If I can create a dialogue between my art and the viewer of it, I’m happy. I want to create an engagement with each piece, and in many of them I deliberately build in ambiguity to open up the possibility of multiple interpretations. The work is not prescriptive. You, as the viewer, have to be a participant, and that is what I try to achieve".
Share more about your process. How has it evolved?
"I’ve been a graphic designer for almost 40 years, and approach all my work with systematic design thinking: what am I trying to convey; how do I want to say it; and what are the technical implications inherent in this approach. And then I iterate and go through the process of allowing the work to evolve and morph. If in the process it needs to change form to convey the intent, then so be it. I try not to get too precious too early on, and try to be as fearless and as critical as I can in being evaluating my work. Over time I think I’ve become more honest in this evaluation and more humbled by the process".
Which particular works will you be including in this member showcase? Why?
"I am showcasing a series of figurative bronzes that I call “Twoods.” Twoods are mysterious figures, designed to be genderless and emotionally ambiguous. Like most humans, they try to mask their true emotions and humanity, but like most of us, their true nature can’t help but come out. They are cloaked in a monk like robe, and their faces are void of expression, but their exposed extremities reveal their humanity. Their gestures and interactions with one another are open to interpretation. Are they affectionate or combative, happy or sad, resigned or resilient — it is up to the viewer to decide".
How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?
"My subject is the ambiguity of intra and inter personal relationships through figurative sculpture".
How is your work different from other artists, who might do similar things?
"My work deliberatively exists in a space between realism and abstraction".
What art movement/theories might your work fall under?
"Most of my sculptural work would fall under “abstract figurative” .
Which other artists might your work be in conversation with?
"Great question. I would hope it would be in conversation with Henry Moore, Picasso, Matisse, Pablo Gargallo, but that is up for others to decide".
Whose works are you influenced by?
"I’m influenced Henry Moore, Picasso, Matisse, Pablo Gargallo, Milton Glasser, Mark Ulriksen, countless designers and illustrators, the Bay Area Figvurativists, The Fauvists… and many others".
What influences outside the visual arts inspire and impact your approach to making work?
"The confluence of all things urban, from architecture, signage, and people, to all the lines, patterns, and shapes that exist everywhere you look".
What risks have you taken in your work, or for your work?
"Casting to bronze is a risky financial investment. Each piece costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars to produce, and that doesn’t take into consideration the hundreds of hours that go into each piece. And of course, exposing yourself through your artwork is inherently risky".
What would you say, share or advise your younger self?
"Shut up and dance your own dance"!
Do you have a motto or creed that as an artist you live by?
"If not now, when"?
Can you describe a typical day for yourself, inside the studio and out?
"I thrive on productivity and try to make each day as productive as I can… and on some days I am blessed with something that I can consider creative. But like most artists, designers, writers, etc., it’s about trusting the process and doing the work. I love new experiences, whether it’s food, drink, art, or conversation, and like to try and see the world around me with an eye to design and beauty".