From Canvas to Silk | Arts & Culture
“Big blue swirling clouds, a full moon, and bright shining stars fill the night sky that appears to keep watch over a peaceful little town,” are some of the thoughts that come to mind when viewing the oil on canvas painting Starry Nights by Vincent Van Gogh. Of course not everyone sees art the same way or thinks most artworks can measure up to the name Art. But most people would admit to having at least one artist they admire or a favorite piece of art that speaks to them in some way. The cherished piece of art may evoke a certain feeling and jog a forgotten memory, or take the viewer on an enchanted journey, or simply make them feel safe and at home. Artist Rollin Kocsis uses nature sprinkled with hints of abstract objects, intertwined with warm, rich, bright colors, to create and tell stories to the viewer and take them on a journey, with illustrations on oil on canvas and silk paintings. His latest artworks From Canvas to Silk are on display through June 29, 2012 in the Goodwyn Gallery, located in the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library.
Kocsis said he draws his inspiration from nature, “I love gardening, flowers, anything that is growing.” He mentioned being influenced by all genres of music and artists. He said, “The artist I am most influenced by in my silk painting is Adolfo Best-Maugard,” who wrote A Method For Creative Design. His method involves using the seven motifs circle, spiral, half-circle, zigzag, straight line, 'S' shape, and the wavy line. Kocsis noted that his works are based on Maugard’s ideas.
The artist mentioned Beyond The Pond as one of his favorite pieces from his silk works, “Many of the flowers illustrated in the piece are in my garden,” said Kocsis. He went on to say Solitude was one of his favorite canvas pieces, “I love the atmosphere of this painting …a quiet cold winter evening footprints left in the snow and a single bird perched in a tree… from a past memory.”
The South Bend Indiana native is no stranger to the South. He served as a Visual Arts Instructor with the Memphis City Schools system for thirty-seven years. Kocsis has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education from the Indiana University in Bloomington and holds a Master of Teaching Art Education and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Memphis.
Kocsis said he got the idea to silk paint twenty years ago during a Memphis City School workshop for teachers on silk making and the rest is history. “I have been working with dyes and silks for the past 20 years…. I've tried batik, tie-dye, and direct painting,” said Kocsis.
He added over the course of twenty years, “I learn more about the possibilities and limits of silk painting.” He said one of the most important things he has learned is “Not to hang the silk from a clothesline after the last rinse out because the dye will bleed down onto the piece, said Kocsis. He mentioned he has had success with silks, “I do not make any preliminary drawings. What the viewer sees is what came out of me directly, the first time.”
Kocsis said he is learning more about silk painting, different kinds of silk, and new products to use with silks. The artist said you have to take your time and be very careful with silk painting. “There are so many things that can go wrong and once the dye touches the silk, it is there forever….Many times a mistake will determine the final design of the piece,” said Kocsis. He said you have to be patient when working with silks and noted the most important thing you have to remember about silk painting is, “You can't throw every mistake away you have to learn to work around it.”
Kocsis has served as the Gallery Fifty Six Curator since 2010. His artworks can be seen on fineartamerica.com, rollinkocsis.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Memphis is a hard sell,” said Kocsis. He said art is a very competitive field, “All artists have highs and lows.…Sometimes you feel like your work is not appreciated or getting the attention it deserves.” His advice to upcoming artists is to be persistent no matter what.