For the last six years, Sean Kalley has been making art, every day. The self-taught Portland-based visual artist began sketching in 2009 while recovering from major shoulder surgery, and has turned his passion into his life’s work.
I met Sean in 2013 at one of his gallery shows, and was immediately struck by the vibrancy and diversity of his pieces. He’s the first Portland artist I’ve interviewed for the blog, and I’m excited to share some of his art and thoughts on life and creativity.
Tranquility (India ink)
Q + A
The business name for your art is Koldshoulder. Where does that come from?
The name signifies how I started making art. In 2009 I had my first major shoulder surgery, and it did not go well. I needed another experimental major surgery, and realized that my life was going to be a bit different from then on. I decided to start sketching one day since I needed something to focus my energy towards. Icing my shoulders came a close second for the amount of time spent during my life through three major surgeries. I still ice regularly and feel pretty good, but it reminds me to be thankful when I do since it could be worse.
Have you always felt a connection to art? When did you realize it was significant for you?
Yes and no. I have always been interested in it, purchased local art, attended art history class, and have been fascinated by many people who have a craft they own. It always seemed a bit like magic to me. But I never thought I would be trying to live as an artist until I started doing it. I took an art class when I was 14. In that class, I painted two acrylic pictures, made some pottery, and completed a few graphite sketches. The other half of the time we studied art history. After this class was over I never thought about art again. I have always been a little energetic, and sitting still to make art just seemed like the last thing I could do. Later in college I attended another art history class, and believe it has a lot to do with my convictions about art in general now.
I knew art was significant for me early after starting. I just always wanted to do it, to make art, to push myself and feel that sense of accomplishment. So many times in life I have been in situations where you wonder, “What is the point of this, and is it fulfilling me?” Once I started making art, life seemed to make more sense to me.
Timeout (India ink)
On your website, you share: “The injury has led to some amazing discoveries about myself, what I want out of life and how I want to live it.” What are some of these discoveries? Continue reading