An Interview with The Artist

- Ken McConney -

by Rachel Richmond Reprinted from the Italian Magazine of Art and Cutlure

Interview - New York Art World
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Cafe Pescadore
Watercolor Painting by Ken McConney

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Ken McConney
Artist on the Block

RR: McConney, the artist of the block, paints his favorite building: a fire station in New York city. Why these buildings?

M: "I adore these old buildings. They remind me of the past and they are replete with interest and personality."

RR: The artist presents reality, with, simplicity, and nostalgia. I notice immediately that is the case . . . that his works remind me of Hopper, in fact, he says:

M: "That is the case. Edward Hopper together with Manet and other Impressionists have inspired me a lot. Art gives me the possibility to express and participate in everything that surrounds me. I am also conscious of life's exigencies, thus I often paint what I feel might sell."

RR: When did you begin painting and how did it lead up to your present career?

M: "I began my career early while observing my father painting boats or the ocean."

RR: Your formation?

M: "Noticeable: The New York Phoenix School of Design, The School of Visual Arts. And, finally The Art Students League of New York, where I studied since 1974 becoming then a Life Member"

RR: Tell me , do you objectively like your art? He smiles and responds:

M: "That's a great question because I want to be detached and observe my creations. The answer is not immediate. In a certain sense, I like what I like and I like what I do because it gives me space and vision, not because I feel compelled or anything. Anyway, I get great satisfaction."

RR: Where have you exhibited?

M: "Well, in the United States, my works appear in many private collections; and galleries in several American cities. Well, one of works, that was originally done for the Coast Guard Art Collection, now adorns the Pentagon."

RR: May we enter McConney's world? How does your subject matter come about?

M: "In my mind's eye, there is a mixture of scenes from everyday life in a background of domesticity. I see snow in New York, a sultry or spring day. What remains, an encapsulated moment that would otherwise be lost or easily forgotten. For example, a painting of New York with the fire station is a homage to the immutable. A flag that waves silently is immortalized in its movement. An interior with a tea cup is intimate and personal. Reality is not what it seems, nor is it what we see. There are details and moods that are not captured, as with a camera. What we perceive is something totally different. Only the artist can reveal the hidden nuances."

RR: How would you describe your motivation and your causes?

M: "I'm not interested in social causes. I don't have an axe to grind. I want sheer esthetic beauty, the character that lives in things."

RR: McConney doesn't live surrounded by false presumptions, nor does he cradle himself with unreachable ideals. In any summer day you can find him on a city corner seeking an aspect of New York that, for now, no one has yet seen!

Rachel Richmond is a staff writer for the Italian Magazine of Art and Culture.

© Rachel Richmond Reprinted from the Italian Magazine of Art and Culture



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