Meet

Kayla Plosz Antiel

Where are you from and where do you reside?
I’m originally from Saskatchewan, Canada but I grew up in western Michigan. I moved to the east coast after getting married and have lived in New Haven, CT, greater D.C. and have recently relocated to Raleigh, NC.
What’s your favorite part of living in Raleigh?
Having lived in some very cold places, I do love the temperate climate. Raleigh is a fun, up-and-coming city that is family friendly and has great art, food, and culture.
When did you begin your current practice?
I started my series of works on paper at the end of 2017—I had just finished setting up my home studio after moving to Raleigh. My goal was to create a large volume of work to generate new ideas for oil paintings, but they became their own thing and stand on their own. They started as studies, but they ended up becoming more involved and exploratory than I originally intended.
Why do you choose to work on paper?
I’ve always done works on paper alongside my oil paintings. At the start of this series, I chose paper for economical reasons. We had just bought a house and done some renovations, so I was trying to be thrifty. I also have a four-year-old son at home, so I wanted to be able to work in short bursts throughout the day without the hassle of clean up. My works on paper became little retreats throughout the day, and the process really worked well for me. It enabled me to spend a lot of time thinking about a piece and making more calculated decisions when I had time to paint.
Slant
My goal was to create a large volume of work to generate new ideas for oil paintings, but they became their own thing and stand on their own. — Kayla Plosz Antiel
How has your work developed in the past few years, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
My work used to deal with anthropomorphic abstraction, so my paintings contained a lot of human resemblances. Then I moved to very geometric abstraction, where I engaged textiles and minimalist work. Now I feel like my work is a sort of hybrid between geometric and organic abstraction. My imagery draws inspiration from folk textile work, traditional quilt patterns, and the natural world.
Have you ever quilted or made textiles yourself?
There is a strong quilting, knitting, and needlepoint tradition in my family. I’m slowly working on a quilt for my son, and I’m tinkering on a body of small-scale textile collage works with my fabric scraps. I’m a bit of a fabric hoarder, and I love sewing. I just recently bought a serger and have been making my own clothes for the last year and a half.
Is there anything you need to have in the studio when you work?
Painting is easiest for me when I’m in a certain mindset. I have to have music and natural light. I pick music that reflects my mood. I think light is so important because my paintings are concerned with color. The kind of light you have changes the way you see color, so it has to be natural light. I get cold really easily so I always keep a space heater in my studio as well.
Slant
My works on paper became little retreats throughout the day, and the process really worked well for me. It enabled me to spend a lot of time thinking about a piece and making more calculated decisions when I had time to paint. — Kayla Plosz Antiel
How do you choose your materials?
How the work looks is important and because materials respond differently to various surfaces, the first thing I take into account is what I’m painting on. So I decide on watercolor, gouache, or oil based on the surface material. But regardless of the medium, cheap paint looks cheap; color and quality go together. I don’t care about brush quality so much, but to me paint quality is paramount. I’m most concerned with detail, with the look or feel that’s achieved, and that’s carried by the materials.
What brands of paint give you the color you’re looking for?
For watercolor and gouache, I’ve always used Holbein—both designer and acryla gouache. For oil, I love Williamsburg, because every color has a different feel and texture: some are smooth and oily but some have a sort of grit to them. They are luxurious. For pastels and pencils I like Caran D’Ache and Prismacolor. I would love to make my own paint eventually, especially that I now have the space.
Slant
Now I feel like my work is a sort of hybrid between geometric and organic abstraction. My imagery draws inspiration from folk textile work, traditional quilt patterns, and the natural world. — Kayla Plosz Antiel
Do you remember the first work of art that captured your attention?
Van Gogh. I remember looking at his paintings and thinking, “I can see the paint. It’s so thick, it’s like frosting.” I was probably twelve. I’ve loved paint ever since.
What is the most difficult part of the artistic process for you?
Some days I feel like painting comes very easily and everything seems to “work,” but there are also days when I leave the studio thinking I’ve ruined everything I’ve touched. Getting through those unavoidable periods of doubt, struggle, or making bad work is the hardest thing about the process. But it is a process, and you just have to keep working.
How do you define a successful work?
The more I’ve painted, the more I’ve come to think that notions of success are transient. Some works that have frustrated me I’ve come to really appreciate with time. The opposite is also true.
How do you incorporate chance in your creative process?
I love to play with paint, so my process vacillates between spontaneous and intuitive, bodily reactions and more logical formal decisions. The chance is in my responses or reactions to what’s already in the painting. How the painting moves towards completion is driven by those chance physical responses.
Is there any artwork on display in your home or studio?
Yes! I have a burgeoning collection of work from close friends, emerging artists, and flea market finds. Now that I have the space at home I’m eager to add more to my collection!

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