First Cut Chuck, collage, 15” x 17” 2000
We had the good fortune of connecting with Kenneth Anbender and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kenneth, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
While it might sound preposterous, I disagree with all conventional advice unless you are looking for a generic, conventional self. Given that we have different strengths and aesthetics, and different histories, and different social groups, we likely need to find our own source of inspiration and follow it. No one knows what “resonates” with you better than you do. Have the courage to find your own way and not base it on the advice of others whose strengths likely don’t fit with yours. Advice is over-rated. Self-examination is not. You find out who and what you are by engaging and trusting your sense of what is fulfilling and what is not. Stick with what is fulfilling.
Father and Son Fishing Trip on Triton [acrylic painting on canvas. 36” x 48” 2019]Night Sentry Plants [acrylic painting on canvas, 24” x 36” 2018]
Picasso’s Scrappy Bather [acrylic painting on canvas 30” x 40” 2018]
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been painting and making collages for 50 years since being inspired by Diane Kirkpatrick’s Art History course at the University of Michigan. Starting with painting on canvas, vans, walls and ceilings, and sides of restaurants, I eventually went for something more portable and settled into acrylic paint on canvas, and cut paper on mat board. While. earning a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, I got interested in my dreams and started painting them. One thing led to another once I realized the value of painting and drawing for making the invisible visible — exploring other worlds, other entities, reinventing what makes for “life.” One of my proudest moments was winning a cash award in a show of “recycling-based art” where everything in my art images came from “garbage” — discarded books, used frames, used mats. For me, that was true alchemy — spinning garbage into gold. The images were powerful and otherworldly and they came from what was being overlooked. I have always found creativity to be easy (no suffering artist here). Being open and following the unfolding trail with diligence and being surprised as something speaks a new image into existence and appreciating that. Plus always being willing to throw out what appears takes the pressure off and allows for a sense of adventure and trust until the whole process is through. My sense is that having absorbed inspiration from Australian Aboriginal art, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Science Fiction, Nature, and Cartoons, all I have to do is intend new expressions from that vibrant and alive set of traditions and something new comes into being. It is a surprise every time. She (Angel With The Orange Ear) [acrylic painting on canvas. 20” x 24” 2020]
Slow Painting [acrylic painting on canvas 30” x 40” 2018]
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m unlikely to take a week. But for a great day or two, I’d take them to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, followed by dinner at Big Bear Brewing Co., in Coral Springs. If they were still sticking around, I’d take them out for breakfast, go to the Coral Springs Art Museum, and then relax with Chinese Foot and Back massage at Han Ting in Coral Springs. Then say goodbye, having had a good time and not pushing it past what is likely to be enjoyable.
The Trinity I [acrylic painting on canvas 24” x 30” 2018]
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to the 1940’s New York School of artists — especially Gerome Kamrowski, Arshile Gorky, William Baziotes, and to the Surrealists and Abstract Surrealists, and to the Abstract Expressionists for their breakthrough to a level of freedom in art I find inspiring.
What Happens In The Dark [acrylic painting on canvas 30” x 40” 2018]
Other: firstname.lastname@example.org (email)
all images © Kenneth Anbender, Eye Music