"Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible." - Albert Einstein/MC Escher
Artist’s are are always trying to set themselves apart, but what if we worked with what we already knew people liked and combined that with what we enjoy. As an artist I have realized that being in-tune with people and making them happy is very important. I believe no one really wants to grow up because reality can be stressful, scary and pretty crazy, people like to escape and go to a different reality. I want to open up the viewers eyes to something that is so unreal yet real at the same time, so the viewer has that ability to escape reality.
My work represents a philosophy of creating images that I enjoy and have put a fun spin on. Another important thing I live by is staying optimistic and open minded. Put your heart into everything you do, even when you do not succeed use it as a learning experience because no matter what, there is always something new to learn.
The Images I create are either hand drawn or digitally sketched before working with tradition media or a combination of Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint. I always use bright colors and imaginative characters within each piece, the type of work I enjoy doing is more character driven and fantasy.
To create a body of large scale paintings focused on the contemporary surrealism, But Honestly I call my body of work Unrealistic Realism because even though the subject matter isn't real, the messages that are woven in each piece and the way I render the paintings feels very real... stepping out of the box.
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
My name is Kristen Dondzila, I just go by Kiki. I have spent most my life in Canton, MI where I grew up. As a kid I always enjoyed the unusual, unlike most girls I knew I was into drawing using my imagination and was more of a tomboy. Not only did I spend a lot of time inside doing creative things I also spent a lot of time outside exploring nature. I enjoyed snowboarding and even motocross. I was always interested in art but never really realized my potential until college. My first two years were spent at Schoolcraft Community College, in Michigan.
At Schoolcraft I played soccer on a full scholarship. I believe that playing sports and being active has made me the hard worker I am today and why I enjoy pushing myself to the next level. While I was at community college I spent any free time I had (which wasn't much) painting because it is what I really loved to do. Still to this day I have yet to take a painting class, most of what I know is just from experimenting and watching others. This is when I realized I was done playing soccer and just wanted to be an artist, only problem was I wasn't sure what major I would go for. I didn't want to go into painting because I was worried about becoming a "starving" artist. After a bit of research I chose Motion Graphics attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, SCAD.
At SCAD I was able to get portfolio and academic scholarships. Yet after my first year of being a Motion Graphics major I realized I wasn't enjoying myself anymore because I had no time to paint. Even though I had excellent grades and was learning a lot, I just felt very limited by being on the computer all the time. I ended up taking a year off, working for a while and spending time painting. I continued to look into other majors that would be a better fit for me. This is when I found illustration and honestly, going back to school for this major, was the best decision I could have ever made. My experience in illustration has been life changing. I came back to school with a whole new mind set and have been spending every single day learning and pushing myself to be a better artist. Although for me it wasn't enough, I wanted to do something different, bigger and better!
Over my two week break before fall classes of 2013 I decided to take one of my digital illustrations and recreate it as a large scale painting. Mostly because all the digital classes I was taking really just made me miss working in a traditional medium. The digital illustration I choose was Mad Monkey and it was the first in my circus zombie series. The first question I asked myself when starting the first painting was oils or acrylics? The answer was found by experimenting with various mediums and decided that acrylics was the way to go. From here my process is simple but very time consuming. It starts off just like my digital work and work up my values in grey scale before adding color. I work up my color/paint with layering and I mean layering a lot! The end result is well worth the time I put in. My passion has become working on large scale paintings, they feel so alive even the undead ones.
I am inspired by so many great artists in the world, not only painters but musicians, animators, illustrators, the great masters of the Italian Renaissance, science, physics(Super/String theory) pretty much all Life down to the energy vibrations we are all made of. I love the world the good & bad, the light & dark. Everything in life is important and I put these emotions into every paint stroke that touches the canvas. Creating something from nothing, just my imagination the world and a blank canvas.
The world can be a dangerous place. The nickname Kiki comes from another personal experience good and bad. Bad things happen to good people because everyone is born good but just a little different. As humans we have been in this cycle for so long we don't realize how every bit of our existence is about the environment around us and how it effects us, how we effect each other. The problem is we individuals are different because of our minds and how they all work differently. We never try to understand each other because we only see what is on the outside and not the inside. I believe the world can heal itself but only through positive action and reaction, are we able to accomplish a greater goal for all of human kind. As a mother, I am very much concerned with the future of our Planet as a whole and future of our next generations. Not just about the damage we do to the world but our actions as a whole on each other every day as human beings. Even at my age I have already seen enough of the world to be absolutely afraid of it and love it at the exact same time, having that balance of love/hate, good/evil. We are trapped in a paradox, a skewed perception of reality.
I graduated spring 2014, pregnant, proud and with honors. In the end I still find it funny that I went from painting for fun, through several long years of school trying to work things out, many wrong turns later, I came back full circle to just painting. Honestly it is just what I was meant to do. Starving or not.
Without my professors I don't think I could have come as far as I have with my art, one in particular really had a major effect on my art career and his name is John Foerster. This professor really inspired me and because of his digital illustration classes, I looked at painting in a whole in way which really pushed my art to the next level. Taking his classes really changed my life and will always be remembered.