The imagination of San Jose-based artist Kyle Pellet is endless. Drawing or painting with gouache, he is able to create playful figures/scenes that leaves you wanting more.
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
I was born, raised, and live in San Jose, California. I like loud music, burritos, good haircuts and good manners, but I have bad posture; I also have very thick eyebrows.
Describe your childhood in a couple sentences.
I got made fun of for having humongous ears. “Hey Dumbo!” “Mickey Mouse!” “Elephant Ears!” I grew gigantic mutton chops to cover my humongous ears, and got made fun of for having gigantic mutton chops AND big ears! “Hey Elvis!” “Mickey Mouse!” “Elephant Ears!”
Has creating art always been a part of your life?
It has; I’ve been drawing and making things as far back as I can remember. When I wasn’t making art, I was getting into trouble, and when I figured that out, I decided it was a pretty good idea to keep making art.
Where do ideas for your creatures come from?
Stealing shapes from real life, and adding eyeballs, lips and colors to those shapes. I might see a beat up garbage can with a huge, blue garbage bag popping out from the top, and on the top of the garbage bag is a banana peel. In my head I’ll think something like “What if that whole mass had eyeballs and lips… where would they go?” If they went on the blue garbage bag, you’d have a blue dude wearing some beat up, silver armor and a yellow hat; if they went on the banana peel, you’d have some yellow pinhead dude wearing a blue shirt and dingy, silver pants. Add appendages, and you’ve a thing! Does that make sense? I hope it does.
How would you describe your style of work?
Rudimentary, egalitarian and optimistic.
What’s it like working with gouache? Is that your go to paint, nowadays?
Oh man, gouache is fun! You work with gouache just like you’d work with watercolors, only gouache leaves very flat, opaque layers of color, and it dries extremely fast. People ask why I don’t just use acrylic, which is also opaque. Acrylic has much more texture to it, and I often prefer for my paintings to look very flat, almost as if they’re prints. Nowadays I find myself using gouache more than anything else, but in the next couple of months I plan on doing some work with housepaint and spraypaint.
You update your Flickr very often with new pieces. Are you the type of person who just wants to get their work out there, as soon as it is completed?
What’s important to me is that my work is very accessible to the public. I love Flickr, because it makes it easy for me to upload my work, and it makes it easy for the viewer to view my work (as well as a multitude of other amazing artists and photographers). Last year, I made over 300 paintings, and I knew most of them weren’t going to be exhibited anywhere, so I do my best to put some new work up on Flickr at least once a week. If I was extremely productive one week and did 20 paintings, I might upload all of them in intervals over a 3 week span. I like going to other people’s websites and constantly seeing new things, so I try to imitate what I like by having a steady flow of new work for people to see.
What does your studio consist of? Give me a round-up of some of the things in there.
My studio is my bedroom/livingspace. There’s this brilliant artist by the name of Maxwell Holyoke Hirsch who lives in San Francisco. He had a show down here in San Jose in late 2008, and I overheard someone talking about him and how he slept in a sleeping bag so he’d have more room to work. I’ve never asked him about it so I don’t even know if that’s true or not, but the idea sounded kinda brilliant to me. So in my studio I’ve got me a sleeping bag, and 2 beaten up pillows, which I use to sleep on. I’ve got a 6-foot plastic table I bought at Costo to paint on. Markers. Pens. Loads of different kinds of paper. A small paper cutter from Office Depot. Pencils, paints, glues, scissors, tapes, rulers, stencils, hammers. Bags of frames I bought at thrift stores. Inks. Ricola wrappers, brushes, envelopes. Boxes of paintings.
What’s it like being involved in group art shows?
It’s always interesting to see what role your work plays in the end result of a group art show. If the curator knows what she is doing and effectively communicates what’s expected of you, it feels great to be part of a well organized, well thought out group show. If the curator doesn’t have a clear idea on where he wants to take the show, it’s usually very apparent. If you’re the curator, it could be a petrifying pain in the ass that somehow ends up super-satisfying and rewarding once all the work is done.
Some artists you’re keeping your eye on?
Jesse Balmer is this monstrous talent hailing out of San Francisco. I’d put money down on him being the next Jack Kirby; I’m not quite sure what that means, but he’s incredibly talented, and I’d still put my money down on him!
Ryan Duggan might be the funniest poster designer in the good ol’ U.S. of A. I love his work.
What excites you?
UFO videos on YouTube, donut shops, big dogs, Gumby, crummy parts of town, old people, young people, bad ideas, war stories, divorce stories (from divorcees or the children of divorcees), Jonathan Richman, the fact that the powers of the universe are so totally beyond our comprehension.
Any projects/shows coming up that we should know about?
My debut solo exhibition, “American Rudiments,” will be on display at Empire Seven Studios in San Jose this December. Hundreds of new pieces, including some video installations – lots of work you won’t see on Flickr!