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An Artists most critical and important objective is demanding of themselves FRESH work! Making art must move the soul, engage and fascinate the viewer. So how should we involve the viewer in this “narrative process”?
The primary goal of my artistic efforts is exploring figurative designs of the human condition seeking something fresh and informative. Producing engaging art is another goal, which sometimes moves our very soul in a fascinating manner similar to fine symphonies or great music. When a quality image is completed, what a joyful experience to share that image with others, especially when the viewer finds the art engaging and interesting. Making art is a solitary endeavor requiring that effort be used in a productive manner with positive results, and at the same time provide a certain degree of personal accomplishment.
My "hard edge" technique is somewhat of a return to the semi abstract 1960"s California hard edge school, with a more figurative approach. I am forever grateful for all I’ve learned from the great masters of hardedge work including Deborah Remington, Alex Couwenberg and Ryan Hewett. I am developing this technique and process for a fresh body of work, which will include several similar paintings as part of a series within that work. This concept is based upon my original interest in conceptual portraiture and how it challenges our sensibilities and common assumptions of who we are and how we perceive ourselves. Additionally, the success of my work depends on my ability to visualize the finished product prior to the very first brush stroke. Developing a fresh view of portraits with the idea of exaggerating features and emotions as a means of encouraging the viewer to question the subjects thoughts and motives.
Art making is an emotional and intellectual process, and a reflection of who we are in celebrating the diversity of the human image.
Ken Claes was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, served in the US Air Force, and earned his degree in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University in 1973. While attending LTU, Ken was the first-place recipient of the inaugural and prestigious Michigan Masonry Institute Student Architects Design Competition. At LTU, he also studied watercolor and pastel with R. Darrow Champlin and Max Wright. After becoming a Licensed Architect, he worked in the construction industry while maintaining his interest in art, painting and drawing. Ken’s work is displayed and enjoyed in the homes of numerous local collectors.
Now retired, Ken renewed his interest in art and attended classes and lectures at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and the Scarab Club, studying with Vianna Szabo, Amy Foster, Leslie Masters, Dan Keller, & Clinton Snider. He also has studied with Golsa Yaghoobi and Todd Burroughs at the Atelier Art Studio, Royal Oak. Ken continues painting full time at his home and studio in Michigan, painting mainly with oil on interpretative figurative works, interpretative portraiture, and participating in juried shows. Ken finds inspiration from interesting people found everywhere within the cityscape, observing their dynamic work and leisure life, almost overwhelming his “ideas file” with poses, vistas, and themes. Source ideas also arrive by studying our past Masters special command of light and color, leading to his continuing quest of designing art with IMPACT and a 21st century “look”.
2021-National Portrait Exhibition, d'Art Center, Norfolk Virginia
2020-EC Mix With a Maker, Royal Oak, Michigan
2019-Damned Exhibition of Enlightened Darkness, Detroit
2016-Artists Exhibit, BB Art Center
2014-Artists Exhibit, BB Art Center
2013-Henry Ford Hospital Healing Arts Exhibition
2011-The Dirty Show, Detroit
2010-ArtPrize Grand Rapids, International
2008- Independent Artists Group, BB Art Center
2007-Scarab Club, Sketch Group Artists
BS Degree in Architecture; Lawrence Technological University
Extensive Art Studies at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and the Atelier
Art Studio, Royal Oak
Now retired from the Architectural Business & Commercial Construction
contemporary, upscale, trendy, interpretive,