Ky Anderson

Where are you from and where do you reside?
I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Do you find that your location strongly influences the direction of your work? Where do you feel you create your strongest work?
I make my strongest work when there are no distractions. No people, no music, no windows, no view and most importantly no phone. But besides that, location does not matter: I can be anywhere.
Describe a typical day in the studio for you
I start by looking at what I was working on the day before so I can continue the same thoughts and ideas. I usually start by working on small paper, to get my hand and mind loose, and then work up in size. Smaller in the beginning of the day and then moving up to larger works at the end of the day. About midday I move away from paper to start working on canvas. My canvas work can be more labored, and I tend to work on them for much longer than my paper work. By spending a few hours working on paper prior to working on my canvases, it helps me approach them with a looser hand.
You have an extensive inventory of small sketches and works on paper that range from small to huge - what is it about paper that you find so appealing?
I feel totally at home working on paper, it’s what I go to first when I start my day. I can be loose and noncommittal on paper and this allows me to paint the first thing that comes to me without hesitation. I mix my paints to vary with the way paper absorbs them, to either become part of the paper or to sit on top. I paint one mark and move it aside to dry, then paint another mark - and so on. This process allows me to work quickly and in turn my ideas/thoughts/stories can come out quicker.
Are there any aspects of your process that are left to chance?
Yes. I thin down my paint so that it has varying levels of transparency. This thin paint can be totally unpredictable, so depending on if I’m working on the wall or the floor, my paint can act in different ways: either dripping everywhere or pooling on the paper or canvas to create darker spots as it dries. I let the paint be the paint. If it drips, it drips. I also use mostly inexpensive disposable brushes and I use them for a long time. Over time they are worn in and weathered, so not knowing exactly what the brushes will do is also another way I leave it up to chance.
"I let the paint be the paint. If it drips, it drips." — Ky Anderson
How did you settle on your distinctive color palette?
I mix all the colors I use. I never paint straight from the tube. I mix and remix until I have no idea how I got to the color I’m using. I also have a few rules I paint by. I can’t stand purple. I really want to like it, but I just don’t. I like it in nature, but that’s about it. I also think if I use too many colors in one painting it’s too much information. It distracts from the imagery, becomes all about the color and I find this less interesting. These few rules, of sorts, naturally limit my palette.
Are there any other rules you follow, aside from those pertaining to color?
Yes, one other rule I follow is when I’m painting or drawing a series of lines. I don’t let myself stop when I feel like I should, I always paint several more. This is purely for my viewing, when I look at the work I know it’s too much and I like that it makes me uncomfortable.
Do you see your works as unique or as part of a series?
I would like to think that each work holds up on its own, but I do see most of my work as part of a series. Sometimes it’s a series of just two, but more often it’s a larger series of many works. I often have a few going on at the same time, in my studio they mingle and form into new series.
How has your work developed in the past few years, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
Over the past few years I’ve scaled up my work and I’m now more focused on working on large paper and canvas. I still work small, but the majority of my work now is much larger than it’s ever been. I didn’t realize how much I’d be in my element working in a larger scale. Now all I can think about is how to make it bigger.
Have you ever considered installation or painting directly on the wall? It can’t get much bigger than that,
Yes! I’d love to do a giant mural one day.

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