The new featured artist at the Colorado Mountain College ArtShare Gallery in downtown Glenwood Springs will be coming from the Front Range to open her new solo show on Sept. 5. But for this figurative painter – Andrea Kemp – Glenwood Springs will feel like home. That’s because it is.
Kemp was born in 1981 in Glenwood, and was raised here as she developed her drawing, sketching and painting skills into her life’s calling.
“At first it wasn’t a thought in my mind that I would be able to make a living in the arts,” Kemp said. “For me, I was so fortunate to have family who not only appreciated the arts but also had artistic backgrounds themselves. On top of that, the community here is close-knit and supportive of the arts and youth. There are so many people who helped me and inspired me here.”
She said that her family, friends and fellow artists in the Roaring Fork Valley had a significant influence on her.
“I saw local artists Daniel Sprick, Dean Bowlby, Doug Arneson and my cousin, Greg Tonozzi, as working artists, so this helped me to see the possibilities,” she said.
Tonozzi is a well-known sculptor based locally, and the two cousins’ work was featured together in “Relatively Speaking,” a 2006 CMC ArtShare exhibit. Among works installed throughout Colorado and the country, Tonozzi’s giant, soaring marble eagles at Alpine Bank’s Glenwood Springs branch greet motorists driving into town on Grand Avenue.
Sprick, whose uncannily realistic portraiture and still lifes are currently featured in an acclaimed exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, is another artist Kemp met and learned from while in Glenwood. He has also taught at Colorado Mountain College.
“As I mature as an artist, my influences change,” Kemp said. “However, Dan will always be a big influence for me as a painter. I was and still am very lucky to have him as a mentor.”
Kemp has local roots, but she is developing into an artist with worldly appeal. The June/July 2014 issue of International Artist magazine features an overview of her process and philosophies on painting. Her paintings of nudes, flowers, vegetables, interiors and landscapes often feature ultra-realistic images so precise they can look like photographs.
“I am deeply interested in the question of what is real and what is created from our own minds,” she said.
‘MORE OF MY OWN VOICE’
A graduate of the University of Utah with a bachelor of fine arts degree, Kemp not only paints but teaches art. She taught figure drawing at Colorado Mountain College before moving to Golden, and now teaches at the Art Students League of Denver. Whether creating her own art or guiding others to develop theirs, Kemp continues to grow and evolve.
“In the last few years, I feel like I have really been able to find more of my own voice,” she said, “so much so that I no longer have to focus so hard on the fundamentals or subject. I can now concentrate on my own experiments and philosophies.”
Along the way, Kemp continues to receive accolades for her work. Besides being featured recently in International Artist, Kemp was included in the 21-Under-31 list of young artists to collect in the September 2006 issue of Southwest Art magazine. In 2012, she received Best in Show at the American Art Invitational: Small Works, and she was invited to join, and participated in, the Women Painting Women exhibit in 2013 at the Principle Gallery in Virginia and South Carolina.
The CMC ArtShare Gallery will host an artist’s reception for Kemp from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 5 at 802 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs. The gallery is located just beyond the Glenwood Springs Chamber front desk. Kemp’s work will remain at the gallery through Oct. 27. Call 947-8367 for more information.