Anne Kelly (00:13):
This is art in the raw. I’m your host Anne Kelly. My guest today for the seventh episode is artist Michael Rohner. Thanks for joining us, Michael. Thanks
For having me, Anne. Good to see you.
Anne Kelly (00:25):
You too. Where are you today? I’m
In Berkeley, California by the train tracks?
Anne Kelly (00:30):
Yes. So you mentioned we might have some trains joining
Us. Yes, I live on fourth street. The trains are on third street and we’re on the third street side of the building. So We might have some guests.
Anne Kelly (00:43):
A few went by when we were chatting, so probably because we’re talking about it, it won’t happen and we’ll have to, I’ll have to splice ’em in somehow
Edit some trains in ,yeah. I’m sure you got some good, you caught them a dozen or so times they came by got some good footage.
Anne Kelly (00:59):
So I know Michael from Santa Fe, but he moved out west. Uh, how many years ago did you
Say about seven? We came out here at the end of 2013. So just about seven years ago.
Anne Kelly (01:13):
And you’re in Berkeley now, but you were in Oakland for a while? Yeah,
We landed in Oakland. Did about four years there until we found this space, uh, in 2017 and we kind of had to move once we saw it and we’ve been here for three years, three years on this weekend.
Anne Kelly (01:28):
Oh, nice. Nice. Yeah. Berkeley is a pretty sweet spot. I’ve had the opportunity to, to visit than a few years. Mm-hmm <affirmative> hopefully sooner than later, um, usually to go out to the bay area about once a year, didn’t happen this year.
Not on a COVID year. Yeah. I don’t know why. Yeah. Where do you go when you’re out here?
Anne Kelly (01:48):
Usually San Francisco specifically, because there’s this portfolio review that I do for the art Institute or mm-hmm, <affirmative> rather, I did it about 10 years in a row. So mm-hmm <affirmative> and actually this year they just were skipping a year. So that actually wasn’t at all why I didn’t visit, but
Yeah, I found some people who, uh, some shows and opportunities that skipped a year look like the smartest kids in the room right now. Yeah,
Anne Kelly (02:15):
Exactly. Exactly. So you are a painter and you’re an illustrator yeah, is that how you would define
Your work or I would call myself an illustrator. Primarily my work is illustrative as you were pointing out. Uh mm-hmm and uh, and I paint the colors on mostly watercolor these days. Uh, but then sometimes there’s spray paint, paint, marker. Um, so the common thread in all my work is, uh, a base of illustration.
Anne Kelly (02:45):
I was actually gonna ask about that. Cause it seems like in terms of painting, more people are using acrylic probably than any other type of paint. A lot of your work felt like watercolor. So I was actually kinda curious if, if it actually was, or if you were kind of watering down the acrylics to, to get that effect or
Yeah, it’s watercolor. I just found the watercolor supports my illustrations really well since for me, like my favorite part of the black lines. And so the watercolor kind, even if you wash heavy over the black lines, once it dries the black lines, stand out
Anne Kelly (03:14):
Watercolors kind of challenging, cuz it’s, it’s kind of unforgiving in that you , you can’t paint over it in the way that you could with oil or acrylic.
Sure, sure, sure. And I, I think there’s a lot of different ways people use watercolors. Um, I tend not to use them super delicately, especially when I’m trying to get some really dark tones and, um, values. So I, I layer over the watercolors and bit it up a lot of the time, which tends to be more forgiving. But um, yeah, when you want to do kind of like a wash, then you get what you get
Anne Kelly (03:46):
To me anyways. That’s one of the things that’s kind of unique about your work is the, the strong illustrative line work paired with the water color on your Instagram page. You share some of your sometimes and when you’re looking at the beginning of one of your paintings, it almost looks like maybe a sketch for a tattoo or something like that. I
Get that a lot.
Anne Kelly (04:08):
Do you? Yeah. So, so it’s an interesting combination of that strong line work and then the kind of more delicate watercolor. How did you do that .
Yeah, I, in my own mind the way I, I mean, I, I was an illustrator for the longest time, just my own sketchbook. And when I wanted to take the plunge or figure out how to make, you know, make it into sellable art or making a living out of it, I really didn’t know for a while, how to make my, my sketchbook drawings, anything more than a sketch book drawing. Um, and so, you know, from there, there was a, a long process of experimentation. I was using markers for a long time and playing with different mediums to see what complimented it. Well, I found it spray paint, worked well, you know, to, and in the background. And then once I kind of landed on watercolors, it felt, it felt very, it felt compatible and really complimented what I was trying to do. And it kind of gave me, I mean, I, I use watercolors like markers in a lot of ways, the way I chip away at it, um, and chipping away, um, because I, I sometimes use kind of like broader brush strokes. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I’m kind of like layering it on, you know, the way you would marker. Just kinda like, yeah. So I, I feel like I came to my own process or my own, um, style organically, just trying different things over the years. And, and um, so I honestly, on my own, don’t have a lot of perspective around how like common or familiar my style looks, but I hear that it’s when people gimme feedback, it’s always that it’s distinct and it looks like my work.
Anne Kelly (05:43):
That that’s a huge thing. That’s one of the harder things to do within art make like, you, you love it, so you do it and you can’t help it, but then there’s being distinctive and then sometimes it’s harder to find that distinctive style and sometimes it finds you naturally, which seems to be kinda just how it worked out for you.
Yeah. Um, for better for worse. I, and I don’t know if I’m, I don’t know. I, I don’t know if I should say this or not, but I, I tend to have blinders on like there’s other artists that I follow that I really like. And I have my, um, artists that are out there that whose work admirer or historically great artists whose work I has inspired me and have followed, but for a large part, I kind of keep to myself and, and have blinders on and I kind of don’t wanna be influenced too much by what’s going on. You know, I know that when you start seeing what’s trendy and what’s working, it’s hard just to, not to subconsciously wanna do that when you’re creating something. So in a way I, I try to keep, I almost intentionally keep to my own aesthetic world.
Anne Kelly (06:48):
Yeah. It’s kind of this weird balance where it’s, it’s the more you’re looking at kind of the more you’re naturally influenced, but <affirmative>, it’s also good, I think, check in every once in a while and see what else is happening out there. Um yeah my, my background is fine art photography. So I get to see a lot more photography than most people. And sometimes it’s really interesting to see these different trends where maybe there’s, uh, a bunch of guys on different sides of the world kind of exploring the same ideas at the same time. Mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative> So then you start wondering about the whole idea of collective on, you know, collective consciousness. Oh yeah, absolutely.
Yeah. Just reading some Joseph Campbell. He had a lot, you know, a little while back, I forgot which book of his, it was, but he had a lot to say about the collective consciousness and how if artists are kind of tapped in, they can, you know, if something feels new from an artist or if it’s like they’re tapping into what’s bubbling in the collective consciousness in whatever ways we channel or listen or tap into the muses. I always hope to get the ideas from there and try to keep it unclouded from outside of there.
Anne Kelly (07:54):
You can also be exploring the same thing as 50 other people, but in your own unique way,
You’re seeing what’s out there and you wanna try to be different, then maybe you’re almost moving away from something like, I’ve seen that. I wanna do something else, but if you’re kind of tapping into what your own experiencing to me, it feels like you’re moving towards something. And I, I like that proactive direction versus like, uh I, gotta be different. I gotta, you know, it’s in that way. It’s not as hard <affirmative> in my opinion, in my experience to feel like I’m doing something at least maybe 50 other people are doing it around the world, but at least it’s my version of it, you know?
Anne Kelly (08:29):
Yeah. No, definitely you definitely are. Uh, you definitely see work sometimes where it feels like it’s different to be different. And then yeah. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Yeah, no, you can tell when someone’s in their own originality and that’s intoxicating to me, I love that.
Anne Kelly (08:45):
Yeah. You just can’t help but doing it and you’re just, yeah.
Yeah. And usually it comes with a good conversation on the back end. You know, if you tap into where they’re coming from, you know, it’s usually, uh, something along the lines of what we’re
Anne Kelly (08:59):
Talking about. When did art become a predominant part of your
Life? I think it always has been in that I was just always drawing or sketching in the corner. , I come from a big family. I’m the youngest of four i had three olders sisters. So they were all always just doing different stuff than I would’ve been doing. I was kind of in the corner a lot. And I was just, I was, I would occupy myself with sketching and I think mom said, my mom said when I was a kid and she would take me to restaurants and try to keep me quiet, just hand me some paper and a pen and or pencil. And then I would just be gone. So it’s always been part of my repertoire , am I kind of my own personal, like, uh, blanking or something, I guess mm-hmm, <affirmative>, um, you know, in school, if I didn’t know how to make friends, I would just sit down and draw and people would start looking at what I was doing and then I’d make friends, you know? So, uh, it’s always been an important fabric of my life and then, but I was scared to do it for, I didn’t know, I had no idea. Like I said, when I, with just being a sketchbook kid and hanging out with people, drawing on a couch or drawing, I don’t know in a bar at a party, I didn’t know how to take the next step. So it wasn’t until I got to Santa Fe and I was about 30 that I even began to take the plunge seriously.
Anne Kelly (10:10):
Seems from my perspective, you’ve done a great job. I mean, so thank you for that. You’ve cultivated this unique style in a way for a number of years that I follow you on social media. And it seems like prior to this year, you were always at various festivals getting the work out there. And not only were you doing that, but there was also pictures on social media. So if you wanted to know where you were they knew where you were. So from the business perspective to the all making perspective, you’ve done a great job of that. And then another thing you offer originals as well as reproductions. Yes, I think is smart,yes
That’s important. uhh, to me, it helps me. It it’s a big major component of me being, if not the major component of me being an independent artist and having been an independent artist this whole time is owning my own rights. And being able to, you know, my, my pieces take me, you know, some of them will take me 60 hours plus, you know, there’s not always an audience for the price that that requires right away. And in the meantime, I still have to make a living and also many people wanna have my work. And, and, and so I, I find it that having prints, as well as originals offers an art experience to, to people of all income groups and that thing that tends to work out for, for me and the buyer.
Anne Kelly (11:39):
Definitely. I, I mean, there’s kind of that thing with art where, okay, an original artwork just has to cost a certain amount of money, cause like you said, you put 60 to 80 hours plus into something mm-hmm <affirmative> so you can’t sell something like that for 50 to a hundred bucks, you know, as much as that would be nice and just doesn’t actually make sense. So to be able to go in and um, create those reproductions, but then sell the original is, is, um, just a really good model I think.
Yeah, it’s, it’s been so necessary. And also I, because my, I don’t churn my workout, you know, I’ve averaged roughly 12 original pieces a year over the last, I don’t know, decade give or take a few pieces every year. And you know, that they most, especially the ones that I spend the longest on, there’s a story and experience it, you know, I, I put a lot into them and I feel like it would be a crying shame if it was only in one person’s viewing room and other people didn’t get to experience that story.
Anne Kelly (12:45):
Sure. Do you usually edition the reproductions or just keep them open?
So I have both, I do open edition for some of the, uh, from some of the smaller prints and then I’ll have a size that’s a limited edition mm-hmm <affirmative> um, some people just really want limited edition and my own, you know, take, I, I could take it or leave it. Um, but there’s, there’s some people who really want, and some shows also require something, what you bring to be limited editions some art shows. So, um, I almost do that out of a necessity, but if I had my druthers, it would, I would take it or leave it. How,
Anne Kelly (13:21):
How many years have you been doing shows? I mean, that’s another thing. Yeah. Not, not all artists quite get into that. You’ve been very active in doing various art shows and festivals and, and I mean, you’ve been getting the, your, the artwork out there along
It’s been, I think I just wrapped up a decade. Cool. Did about, yeah, I did about a solid 10 year clip before COVID gave me a break. Yeah. And, uh, yeah, it’s kind of nice to be home honestly, but, um, yeah. Did a, did a good decade and I, you know, in the beginning of a whole thing, I didn’t even know shows and festivals were an option, you know, and I approached some galleries and to your earlier point, about how much time you put into work versus what you get, you know, when I had no reputation and just barely a step past having a sketchbook, you know, I brought work to various galleries around town when I was in Santa Fe and the ones that were like, Hey, we can give you a shot. You know, we’ll put a couple pieces in the corner. What do you want for them?
And I’d save the price I wanted. And they’d say, no, we don’t think you can sell for that much. We’ll sell it for this much. And then they get half of that. Right. And I was like, oh man, I gotta keep waiting tables. If I’m, if I sell work, if I sell all the work this much, which I won’t all, all the work this month, which I probably wouldn’t, I would still not cover my rent. You know? And so somewhere in there, you know, the prince made sense and somewhere in there, when I discovered festivals as an option and art fairs, art festivals, you know, I was, it gave me my, my power back. It gave me control of my own destiny. I didn’t have to wait for someone else. I didn’t have to hope someone else could tell my story the way I knew I could tell my story.
And also like it’s in , it’s a grind and it’s a hustle and it’s not for everybody. And it’s, it’ll burn you out and all those things, but theres no replacement or meeting your own audience, you know, and them meeting you, people wanna meet the artist, but from a pure like growth standpoint, you know, you’re doing market research by learning what the, how the, even just seeing the look on someone’s face, when they see your work, you don’t get that if your work is being sold out of your site, you know, just seeing for me, when I see the smile on people’s faces, that’s like it’s golden and it keeps me going and it, I know I’m doing the right thing and you get a chance to see other cities. You get a chance to meet other people in the country. You get a chance to broaden your own perspective, which will inherently make you a better artist. You get a chance to meet other artists. I’ve met people whose artwork, just even if their style was different, just made sense me. And then when I talk to them, we are like the same type of person, you know, it’s, it was such a fun way to meet artists from other states that you never would come across. If it wasn’t for
Anne Kelly (16:00):
That. I remember getting out of art school and somebody explaining to me that galleries take 50% and than, okay, if you make sell $30,000 worth of art within a year, you only get the half of that and going, whoa, uh, what, you know, what, what have I gotten into? Um, but I’ve now been the director of a gallery for 14 years. So flash forward, 14 years, I absolutely understand where that 50% goes, keeping the lights on they’re promoting the work, but still, yeah. Have to, if, if you’re gonna be a working artist, that’s kind of what goes into it. And some artists are better business people than others. I’ve, I’ve sure got a number of friends like you that are really great with the business side and are really great actually meeting with people and not, not everybody has that. So mm-hmm, <affirmative> sometimes the, the a gallery partnership is, uh, most crucial and times it’s not,
I mean, one, if you have representation at a gallery, then you don’t have to go through the trouble of packing your van up and driving all over the country the way I do, you know, it’s, it’s, there’s definite definite advantages. And I totally understand where the, the other 50% goes. I admire. It’s funny. There’s, there’s a, a thing where I admire artists that are gallery represented that are, have a really good relationship with a gallery and they focus on their art. Oftentimes they ask me what it’s like to do, what I’m doing. And it’s kind of there’s, um, they’re both, there’s, there’s so much, I think there’s so much, there’s so many pros, but different pros for each
Anne Kelly (17:32):
Way. Um, mm-hmm <affirmative> I think what it really boils down to in terms of working with the gallery is working with the right gallery. I think a lot of young artists, if any gallery wants to work with them and they’re just on board. So if you’re working with the gallery, I mean, you’ve gotta, it’s a relationship and it’s a long relationship. Absolutely. And that’s how I approach, um, starting anything with any artist is this is not just, you know, this is a long term relationship. What is it like to work with this person? I mean, first of all, I’ve gotta love their artwork, but then what is it like to work with this person? Um, if you get person championing, championing your work, then it’s a great thing. But if you end up with a gallery with a weird contract in your works, in the back room, collecting dust, it’s not really doing anybody any good.
Yes, exactly. And I, I feel like you curator work really well. I mean, I haven’t had the pleasure of going into photo I in a long time, but, um, thank you. I do remember every time I went to your shows, I was just floored. I don’t know if you remember how much I was like drooling over some of the, the photographs in that space, but yeah, you guys, and it seems like you have, you work with a lot of the, the same artists for, you know, over a long period of time. Yeah.
Anne Kelly (18:50):
Yeah. There’s about 30 artists that we represent permanently, or it’s not permanently that we have a long term relationship with and you know, we’re always forming relationships with new artists. There’s only so many artists that we can keep on the physical gallery, but there’s additional works. We show on the website as well. Yeah It’s really just kind of that connection. And from, from gallery to gallery and person to person, you know, maybe I’m the perfect gallerist for some artists, but not others. I mean, it’s just like, like any other relationship you’re forming.
Well, and you guys have had staying power over there. Yeah. Mm-hmm <affirmative> how long, how, how long has it been around
Anne Kelly (19:30):
Fourty years fourty
Years. Wow. That’s, that’s impressive. Yeah.
Anne Kelly (19:35):
So that’s, um, that’s our owner and I mean, I’ve been with them for, for 14 years, not 40, but, um, it’s, it’s been a minute. And I came in as an artist myself and, and found my artistry to just be on that side of things. I’m always making, creating whether that be cooking gardening or, or starting a YouTube channel. Apparently that’s just what I’ve, I’m driven to do. Before I worked at the gallery, when I was a kid, I was always putting on talent shows and carnivals back when I was in the service industry, I rented a big warehouse on airport road and created this art show called, uh, a night of art and music, which I was actually thinking about this morning is maybe like, um, like a one night version of what art and the raw is now. <laugh>
Really, when was this? Or what era was this?
Anne Kelly (20:33):
Uh, it was in the early two thousands. I wanna say I invited… I rented the warehouse for one night. I invited 14 artists to show their work. I had some friends that were DJs that came out and spun some records. There were some live music. I had a friend who’s a professional lighting designer. She got all the light design, the show, and then we had to take it down at the end of the night, but I just did crazy things like that. Cause apparently I can’t help it. So
<laugh>, that is awesome. How and how long were those going on for
Anne Kelly (21:08):
That? That was, that particular show was a one night thing. Okay. But we, you know, we went as far as making cards and mailing them to people and, no shit. Okay. And then a few years later I started working at the gallery, so. Okay.
Do you feel like you’d bring it back, like an art in the raw where, warehouse party posts? COVID
Anne Kelly (21:29):
It? It could happen. And, and actually, um, the name art in the raw comes from these art shows we had when I was in college. I’ve, I’ve borrowed it where, um, everybody would show unfinished work.
Oh, kind of like a, um, what do you call it? A critique?
Anne Kelly (21:46):
It, it was more, it, it was like, it was like kind of somewhere in between a critique and a party.
Oh, but you were displaying the work, right? You were displaying.
Anne Kelly (21:55):
So it was like, it was like a, it was like almost the warehouse format, but like, you could bring half finish paintings. You could work on the paintings in the middle of the show, people would skateboard through the middle of the show. It would be like an all day thing. And, um, it was just a cool event. And I started conceiving of art in the raw, probably early in March. Um, and I spent a few months trying to figure out what the show was called and it just kind of hit me one day, but yeah. And you had
To bring it back to that
Anne Kelly (22:24):
Art in the raw. Yeah. And we’re in the middle of it. Yeah. Right now in, so in the raw writing with lots of different types of artists, so mm-hmm, <affirmative> while photography, the medium I’m the most versed in. And, and that was a thing I thought about early on, I thought, okay, is this just gonna be visual arts, but I’ve, I’ve already expanded it into music. I don’t wanna jinx some, some episodes I’m already planning on having, so I’m not gonna mention those quite yet, but basically just talking to creative people and just realizing, I know a lot of really cool creative people and I wanna, I wanna introduce them to people. Nice. And in this weird world, I can’t just have a cocktail party and introduce everybody. Right.
So you’re bringing us also, the
Anne Kelly (23:11):
We’re doing this and then even still parties even, even in a normal world, folks I’m talking to are all over the country. So yeah. We didn’t even do that then. So anyways, it’s, it’s fluid and, and we’ll, we’ll see what happens to it, but all right. But, and, and I’m not gonna share with people right now, but we’ve already made plans for the 40th episode.
Yes. Big things in for the 40th episode. Thanks,
Anne Kelly (23:42):
40th. We’re locked in.
Anne Kelly (23:46):
Yep. Sorry. I’m excited. We talked about it privately, but now it’s been recorded, so yeah.
Hopefully that’ll come soon.
Anne Kelly (23:53):
Yeah. <laugh> going back. You do art fairs, but also kind of festival style fairs with music versus just art, art fairs. Yeah. Yeah. Kind of a different crowd,
Maybe different crowd. Yeah. I like, uh, I liked doing music festivals. I think in the beginning I was trying everything. I tried, um, art and wine festivals, uh, tattoo conventions. I did a motorcycle rally once. Very bad idea. And then I was like, cause I was just trying to think of all the different places people would buy art and music festivals came up. And I think the first one I did was Bonnaroo. I’m not sure if I did the Taos solar music festival before Bonnaroo, but somewhere around that air, I probably did Taos first then applied to Bonnaroo. Couldn’t believe I got in and that blew my, that just changed my life. It blew my first of all, having your, uh, trade and kind of like creative pursuits, be your ticket to seeing like musicians that you’ve wanted to see your whole life and checking things off your bucket list was like something else, your booth.
Anne Kelly (25:01):
Hmm. How do you even stay in your booth?
I bring a crew. Yeah. Okay.
Anne Kelly (25:06):
Yeah. I bring a
Crew. You gotta see that. Uh, yeah. I pay my people in love and tickets, uh, entry tickets and, uh, yeah, bring a crew of like Bonnaroo. We would have six or seven people, um, friends, uh, my girlfriend, Tara, and we’d have other friends that were there too, that would, you know, eventually other people started getting the, uh, coming, you know, getting their own booths, they are artists that I knew. So we we’d have really big crews. And, um, yeah, we could always just take turns many years at Bonnaroo. I’d always ask to be, have my booth near the main stage. So I could just see the headliners from my booth. Like you made way less money, but I just wanted to see the music. Mm-hmm <affirmative>.
Anne Kelly (25:45):
Who is your favorite, um, musician? You got to see at a, at a end where you were there to sell work
Two, many. Um, we saw Paul McCartney do a soundcheck. Yeah. I’ll name a few. Uh, we saw, uh, Paul McCartney do a sound check and there was like 80 of us and he was just jamming on stage for like an hour while I was setting up my booth. That was just dumb. It was, it was so good. Um, Rodrigo at Gabriela, uh, we’re electrifying, um, Billy Joel with everybody singing piano, man at the same time. Paul McCartney with everybody singing. Um, yeah, everybody’s singing. Hey Jude. At the same time, like those are just goose bump moments. Anderson pack at a festival is just, I don’t know how that man has as much energy as he does, but he wears the crowd out. Love seeing the roots. Yeah. Just, it goes on and I’m probably, I’m forgetting I’m on the spot I’m forgetting, uh, like right when we’re signing off, I’ll be like, oh yeah. That’s I remember now
Anne Kelly (26:44):
Episode 40. You can mention the other episode 40.
Yeah. I have 32 episodes to remember. Yes
Anne Kelly (26:51):
<laugh>. Um, so now that you’re not doing the fairs and festivals, are you relying heavily on social media and your website? Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Uh, social media website and direct sales, you know, I think, uh, the COVID and the kinda the lockdown happened at the right time in my career where, where I was ready for a break, but also I feel like I got to the point where I could slow things down. You know, I developed enough of my own client following and social media following where, and just like, you know, web traffic in general, so where, um, I could function independently and it’s it’s, I mean, it’s, it’s slowed down for sure. My, my expenses are also way lower now that I’m not traveling, buying as many materials going to, you know, going to hotel booth fees, all those things. So, um, so my expenses are way down, so I need less, but yeah, I think this all happened kind of at the right time for me. And I’m beyond thankful for that, like I’m
Anne Kelly (27:56):
Yeah, yeah. Crazy world right now, but crazy
World we’re live in. Yeah.
Anne Kelly (28:01):
I, for one, I’m trying to focus on the, on the positive. I’m not, yeah. I’m not trying to ignore everything that’s going on, but I just figure, keep, keep it even, you know, not, not ignore the world, but, uh, focus on positive. What’s the, I mean’s
Great. Yeah. Yeah. I mean stuff’s happening and disaster stuff is happening, but if that’s your only focus, then, you know, our only focus, you know? Right. Cause there’s incredible things happening at the same time. You know, we, and I, I know other artists who are thriving. I know, I know people in other industries who are thriving, many of whom are just in the right place at the right time. Or, you know, there’s some for all the businesses that are getting like rocked during COVID, there’s other ones who are it’s, it’s a good fit for the times are a good fit for their business model, you know? And so I think there’s both happening now. And, and personally it feels like it can be a disservice to overlook all the that. Sometimes I feel like the good stuff that happens gets overlooked.
Anne Kelly (29:00):
Like the success, the success stories and right. You know,
Anne Kelly (29:04):
You’re not as much of that in the mainstream media,
From what I, you’re not seeing in the mainstream media. Yeah. That’s when I was driving at, you know, especially when, you know, up until July when that, you know, government was assistance was going out. I saw some, you know, aspiring creatives, the chance to not have to work their shifts and then do the route on the side. Like it was their first time that they really got to give as much energy as they had to their art first or their creative side first. And, you know, I’ve heard some people say, and I, I, I think it’s possible that there could be a, that there will be like an artistic Renaissance following all of this. And, you know, I think it’s, I’d like to, at the very least lean into that being the, the reality,
Anne Kelly (29:43):
I think that happened after the, what was it? The 1918 plague mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah, it did. It was just kinda one of those things I think it did. Yeah. That’s um, yeah, I don’t know if my notes, but, um, tends to be that kind of reaction where we go, yeah. We’re resilient . So
We are resilient. Mm-hmm <affirmative> we are resilient and we’re a creative people’s and, you know, you give us enough time and energy to like reprioritize our own experiences in life before we have to, uh, you know, punch in and pay the bills. Like people have a lot to offer. And I love seeing, I mean, you know, during this whole period where people were doing the gardening and then the bread and all that, you know, people were practicing the things that they didn’t even like non people who wouldn’t declare themselves artists or creators, you know, or picking stuff up. And that’s like music to my ears, you know, just, just seeing people pursuing their own souls, like is, is, is, is a world. I,
Anne Kelly (30:45):
Yeah. You going, what’s important. I
Very much like to be part
Anne Kelly (30:47):
Of, um, what I have. I not had time for all of that. Yeah. I’ve got some of your images that I’d like to, oh yeah.
Let’s check those out.
Anne Kelly (30:59):
See what we have those up. See what you’ve gotta to say. Are you seeing your
Elephant? I’m seeing my elephant. Yeah. It’s called ALWAYS
Anne Kelly (31:16):
So tell us about the
Elephant. Oh man. Uh, it’s one of my favorite pieces it’s called ALWAYS. And she is a, uh, dia de los muertos painted elephant so often gets mistaken for, uh, an Indian elephant, you know, with their kind of parade, uh, paint. But it’s, it’s a, an African elephant with day of the dead makeup. And it’s, it’s a piece about, uh, it’s a celebration of life and remembering those we’ve lost, you know, elephants have, as everybody knows the long memories, um, they they’re known, you know, they mourn their ancestors. They take they’re young to the burial grounds and the boneyards and, and the young show reverence for ancestors. They’ve never even met. It’s such a cool thing to, to witness in their, not that I witnessed in person, but it’s such a cool thing to observe in the animal kingdom. So it just felt like the day of the dead theme with the elephant kind of landed that point home for me.
And, and then, uh, you know, hummingbird, you know, I’ve heard after doing my first hummingbird, uh, about a decade ago, I’ve dozens of people from, if not hundreds, from all over have shared a story about after losing somebody, a hummingbird came and visited them, or on the anniversary of losing someone, a hummingbird came, flew over grandpa’s favorite chair, things like that. And so I’ve just come to accept that, you know, hummingbirds are kind of a, a totem of, of, uh, remembrance and, and lost loved ones. So it’s kind of, it’s all together in this image that I’m hoping is joyous and like a celebration of life.
Anne Kelly (32:50):
It feels that way to me. Do you still have the original?
I do not. Um, believe it or not. It’s my favorite piece and what, one of my childhood best friends ended up buying it. He’s a big elephant person. And so it was, uh, that kind of floored me because I was always scared of letting it go and it gets it’s, it gets to stay kind of close to the heart.
Anne Kelly (33:11):
That’s the funny thing about making it’s like, it’s like as a maker of anything, it’s like, it’s like babies and you don’t wanna oh yeah. But then you also as, um, a businessman and an artist, you want to sell it. But then, so in this case it went to the right person
And it’s, it’s weird. I feel like there’s a, yeah. I feel like there’s oftentimes a pull towards the right person, especially if you kind of invest your efforts in that, you know, I’ve had moments where maybe someone that didn’t feel like the best fit for something was making a move on it and you’re, you’re happy to make the sale, but you know, you have mixed feelings and then somehow it falls apart and then the right person comes along and picks it up. And you’re like, ah, there it’s
Anne Kelly (33:52):
Be meant to be. This one is called the paradox of vulnerability, you know, to be vulnerable is, is both to be, you know, susceptible to danger or, you know, an attack. So you wanna protect yourself. But also it’s important to be vulnerable in order to connect with people and to be seen and to be expressed. And so there’s a line that you walk with that, and it’s also kind of a word that’s used in different ways. And, and because of that, it’s, it can either be thought of as like a negative trait for someone to have, or a positive trait for someone to have, you know? And so it’s just, it’s all the different things. And I thought of it as a paradox, and I wanted to show that feeling as an image. And so, yeah, the snow lepord, they’re amazing hunters, you know with their paws they, you can’t even hear them and they sneak up and, and they’re also endangered and there’s not many of ’em left.
And it’s such a weird thing for a powerful thing to be on the brink, you know, such a powerful creature to be on the brink. And then those, those flowers, those, those black diamond, their black diamond Lenin roses, and they are poisonous if eaten in large quantities, which is such a weird thing. I don’t know who’s gonna eat, <laugh> a large quantity of roses, but at least if it kind of fit the theme for me where something so beautiful could also be so dangerous, find that, you know, in life and love and in relationships, that is a, a hard line for people to walk. You know, if you’ve been hurt, then it’s hard to let someone else in, but you, in order to thrive, you have to let someone in. So you have to be strong and be vulnerable while, while also protecting your vulnerabilities. It’s got such a, it’s such a lived in dynamic. I wanted to do something about it.
Anne Kelly (35:23):
I hope she won’t, but the dog I introduced you to earlier, she’s famous for eating large quantities of weird things. So if you were asking, who would eat, um, enough of these flowers to be toxic, she would do it. She would do it. She’s, she’s lovely, but she’s crazy. <laugh> well, she actually, yeah, 60, 60 or more fish oil pills a few months ago. No way
It was bad. Was her, was her coat fabulous after that? Yes.
Anne Kelly (35:51):
Her coat is very fabulous now, but she a little smelly for a minute. oh… So good. Your whale.
Yeah. Okay. This one song catcher, it’s a whale flying or floating or swimming in a bed of succulents and it’s kind of song catcher. It’s about, it’s kind of an ode to my creativity and creativity in general. And the MUEs in general, you know, I think as a spirit animal, I think one of the things they say about whales is it’s, you know, it’s, it’s finding your voice, finding your song, finding your inspiration, you know, and, and I do like the idea of, you know, the song catcher, like you’re not writing the song and you’re catching it, you know, and, and I feel that way about, you know, the creativity as well, where it’s the whole collective conscious thing. If, if, if different artists are, are pinging the same thing from different places, you know, I, I sometimes feel like the, that piece of creativity or inspiration is ping around and whoever catches it to share their version of it, you know, what they see. So again, looking for a way to, I was looking for a way to kind of like visually represent that, cause that, you know, I have a lot of words for these pieces, but you get one static to kind of display it
Anne Kelly (36:59):
All. It’s kind of how you feel, right? Like yeah. How
I feel. Yeah. And, and kind of like a, uh, like a just right. I think there’s a, a phrase for this, but like a just right. Feeling like a specific feeling in flavor that you wanna mm-hmm <affirmative> land and take someone there, or at least share and, and, um, yeah. All these for elements I think, and just, you know, the animal itself in its essence, uh, you know, I hope I hope takes you there.
Anne Kelly (37:24):
It seems like you tend to depict the, some of the most powerful and, uh, more interesting animals in my opinion.
Yeah. Well, thank you. Um, I think I, I do some of the critters from as well. I think it’s just each of who knows, maybe it’s where I am in the, in the, in the queue. Each time I choose an animal, it’s, it’s kind of the one that’s calling on They often tend to be ones that have a lot of gravity to them. If you notice a theme of a lot of my pieces and a lot of, some of the last three that we looked at were within the last two years, some of the theme is kind of going within and listening to the voice within, you know, and kind of being in touch with your own essence and directions. So I think this is, uh, this one is a little bit more poised to move forward than some of the other ones
Anne Kelly (38:09):
I love. I love where the, the wings are at. Imagine if I was a bird kind of that point where you’re just flapping the wings down, like he’s getting a little extra, umph of that, I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m talking.
I, I think I hear what you’re saying. Well, I like to capture motion and even if there’s still, I like to capture motion, but just that, that kinetic energy,
Anne Kelly (38:28):
Right. I think I’ve watched a lot of birds in mm-hmm <affirmative> in 2020, particularly working from home mm-hmm <affirmative> <affirmative> and kinda recognizing that that point in flight
Got, oh, I see what you’re saying.
Anne Kelly (38:41):
I respond to it. And that’s what matters. That’s what matters with
Art. Yeah. Well that point, I feel, especially if they’re, if, if you’re talking about a mid flap, although he might be, I don’t remember, he might be soaring, but even just that, that downward stroke, you know, there’s so much power in that, you know, when you see them just like the effort they’re exerting before they get to just mm-hmm, <affirmative> be up there and, you know, and catch the drifts, um, such I, I love watching it myself. What
Anne Kelly (39:06):
Other art forms are you inspired by? Music, movies, other mediums? What?
Yeah. Um, music a lot. I vibe off for me. Music takes me to my mm-hmm. <affirmative> kind of my zone. If I listen to the right thing, you know, what’s weird is when I, when I see a really good show and I go to a lot of live music, I sometimes zone out and start thinking about my art, or even sometimes think about rearranging my room. But when someone else is at the putting out their creative vibe, it’s it’s, so it’s contagious to me. Like, I start, it’s just my, I just start wandering off into like that creative space on the spot. And I sometimes when I get home and, and jot something down or like, I get inspired to create again, so music I’d put at the top of that list, you know, love movies, you know, I’m a sucker for like really good framing and composition, you know, just, just like how beautiful it is when they can tell a story or it’s engaging and they’ve nailed down the, the look of it, you know, it’s just, again, it just takes me to those, like,
Anne Kelly (40:05):
Do you have a favorite movie or a favorite director?
Oh, man. Uh, kinda like music. There’s not a top. I like, I like all kinds. I mean, a, princess bride is like, yes, you just, can’t not love that. Feel good about that. But I wouldn’t ever say it was better or worse than another movie. It’s just, it’s what it is. It’s, it’s the princess bride. And I like movies from different eras too. I’ve always liked. I like the hustler, uh, paul Newman, the old, black and white one. I really like summer of Sam spike Lee, summer of Sam. Yeah. And it’s kind of, of like an offbeat movie, but that’s one of those ways where if someone else really likes summer Sam, I know we can vibe. Like, it’s, I, I feel like it sounds weird to say that, but I hear you. We get a lot in it. Yeah.
Anne Kelly (40:48):
How about collecting? Do you collect anything?
Yeah. Uh, I collect, collect art when I can space is an issue, but I collect art collect records. I like books. I like art books. I collect friends. I collect good people. I’d like to have, uh, like a good high top shelf liquor collection, but end up always just having like one good one and it sits there forever. So I don’t bother getting more. <laugh> um, the people, books, music, art
Anne Kelly (41:14):
Of all the places you’ve ever traveled near or far. Do you have a favorite? Oh,
Man. Lots. Uh, I lived in Japan for a little bit and that cracked my head open. I mean, that really taught me, uh, just how to be taught me about who I am as a person. I took a trip down to Peru and had an experience with a hummingbird down there and kinda also had my head cracked open and, and, and learn about kind of where I understood how I was gonna pattern my life. I think people go down there for like a, a pilgrimage or a vision or something, you know, just to get in touch with something and what I, that was, I found it and it was, yeah, it kinda modeled the way I wanted to it’s
Speaker 3 (41:59):
And within the states, I like Austin Texas a ton. Um, have you been
Anne Kelly (42:07):
Austin? I haven’t, but I’ve always wanted see music there.
Speaker 3 (42:12):
Yeah. its a special town and uh, music everywhere.
Um, new Orleans is amazing. Um, and kind of
Anne Kelly (42:22):
New Orleans love
New Orleans. You’ve been in new Orleans. Yeah. Special town, right. Music as well. Yeah. As well. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Anne Kelly (42:28):
Just wander around, waiting to hear music and then follow it. Yeah, I did.
Um, yeah. And it’s not hard to find any, any
Anne Kelly (42:36):
Time right. In new Orleans. It’s true. Yeah. Yeah. So when we can travel again, mm-hmm <affirmative> do you, the first place on your list, where you going?
I had a trip to Hawaii with a good friend of mine. We were gonna stay with a good friend out there and do this like backpacking trip on the coast. Um, in Kauai every year in the spring, I’m getting ready for festivals and shows and it’s really freaking a lot of work. And so this year I was like, we can’t pull this trip off. We gotta postpone it. Yeah. It was about a week before everything went down. <laugh> like we would, so we would’ve gotten back like week before went down. So I had no idea. I backed out at the time of the, um, the last epic trip of the pre COVID worlds. And so that trip needs to be done. I just don’t know when we get to do it. I think it’ll
Anne Kelly (43:29):
Happen. Just maybe not. Yeah. Tomorrow.
<laugh> not, not tomorrow. Not tomorrow. I really wanna do that. We’re gonna hike the coast and try to sleep in caves and, and yeah. In caves and stuff. And
Anne Kelly (43:42):
That sounds pretty awesome. Yeah.
I got egg on my face for that one.
Anne Kelly (43:45):
Well, I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw up your Instagram page. Let’s do it.
Rohner art. You’ve
Anne Kelly (43:51):
Got this video you posted. Should I pop that up? Let pop it up. Yeah. The Lotus, it’s a little process here.
Yeah. I’m trying to do more of these process videos because it’s kind of, I want to be in my own space when I’m doing it and then you gotta get the camera set up and all that. So I, I push myself to do more of them cause I, I could just as easily lose my myself in it there, but yeah, here’s a process of, uh, adding some watercolor and wash to this Lotus flower. That’s an accouterment of the Wolf and Raven piece. I’ve been working on a lot of this during this time and yeah, it’s like one of my finishing touches on this, on this piece I’m really excited about, is this
Anne Kelly (44:30):
Your dog? I mean, that’s
My dog. That’s kimchi.
Anne Kelly (44:33):
Great name. So, I mean, I was just kinda looking back and forth between this Wolf and your dog just prior to talking. And I don’t know, maybe that’s like your dog and the dream world or, you know, I mean, that’s the thing about art that’s so cool is you can interpret it in your own way and just, you
Know, what’s wild is, uh, there’s definitely kimchi vibes in that Wolf. Um, I’ve actually had that Wolf in the back burner for a long, like for years and, and we’ve had kimchi for about a year, but I wouldn’t, you know, her, her face and look is like, help me bring it to life. Just, just seeing kimchis face every day and then working on the Wolf. It, I know it’s in there somehow. I’m better. That Wolf is better for having Kim junior. It,
Anne Kelly (45:15):
I could see that. Definitely. And then let’s see here, you kind of got an idea of the scale of some of these pieces. I feel like there are some canvases in here, like these, like these are some kind of awesome tiny little canvases here.
Yeah. I do these little minis. Those are, um, are they small paper illustrations? Those are originals. And they’re mounted to they’re small paper, original, uh, illustrations mounted to wood panel. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and those are like five by sevens. I think those are five by sevens. So I try to do them the minis to kind of offer a variety since my originals tend to be really big.
Anne Kelly (45:59):
No. And then they’re kind of because they are canvases. They’re ready to hang.
Ready to hang. Yeah. Yeah. They’re on my site under, if you go to my website, Rohnerart.com, um, under, uh, gallery, I think, and then mini mini mini totems. And you’ll see the ones that I have available. Yeah. Ready to hang.
Anne Kelly (46:18):
And then you do these great little photos on your Instagram, from your various booths. Oh yeah. How great is that
Little deacon? That kid was cool. Yeah. There was this little, uh, young collectors program at the show where you donated work and made it available for like young kids to spend their little art bucks there. And apparently deacon like went straight to my tiger and then told his parents wanted to go to my booth. So yeah, we got to meet and hang out for a little bit. He was a cool
Anne Kelly (46:45):
Kid. I love that. Yeah. I love that. And then your cat, is this your cat here? It’s my cat. Yeah. Likes to also. Oh, and so this is kind of what I was talking about earlier. I was talking about the outlines and the processes. I mean, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, this could be not a sketch for a tattoo, but I mean, this could be the actual outline of a tattoo. Yeah.
Uh, I hear that from a lot of people and um, people get my work tattooed on them. Sometimes I get folks asking me to design tattoos for them, but more, more often someone will pop up and, or send me a message and saying they got, you know, they, my work well, they got my work on their, their body. And um, and it’s just, I think it’s, I guess it’s, uh, I guess I have a tattooist style.
Anne Kelly (47:33):
Have you ever thought about tattooing? I mean, there’s a lot of talented tattooers out there. There are now. So I think you’re
Not. Yeah. Um, I get encouraged to do that a lot. I mean, that’s, maybe that’s what I was trying to say. When be, will comment a lot. They’re like you should do tattoos or do you do tattoos yourself? And, um, I think for me, I, I like that if I make a mistake on paper, I can <laugh> Yeah. There you go. Couple people.
Anne Kelly (48:03):
There’s a tattoo yeah. Of your work.
Yeah. My Crow that artist did a job.
Anne Kelly (48:11):
So maybe see your designs in the tattoo shop, but we probably won’t see you in the tattoo shop.
Yeah. I’d say so. Yeah. Yeah. <laugh> yeah. The name of the game for me is drawing what I feel like drawing in the moment and it’s, uh, uh, it’s been painstaking to make that happen. So I kind of don’t I’m I’m I don’t wanna relinquish it.
Anne Kelly (48:28):
So I was just looking for
There little beer label that
Anne Kelly (48:34):
Oh yeah. So that was fun. Yeah. Do you still do, are you doing illustrations? Yeah.
I need to get back in touch with them. Um, that was a one off. Yeah. I, I really liked their beer and they’re in sparks, Nevada pass through with, uh, my Tara and that was kind of, it was on the way. So she was like, we can drive there and stop off there and, and then she’ll drive the rest of the waste. And she knew I’d like sampled their wears, um, and got inside their tap room and with all the art they had on the walls and their bottles, she’s like, man, you are, you, I would really fit well on these bottles. And I was like, yeah. Yeah. So I, uh,
Anne Kelly (49:14):
Great girlfriend <laugh>
Yes. Great. She’s a she’s awesome. And um, so I ran to my van, grabbed a bunch of stickers, gave it to the bartender and was like, is the, you know, can you give these to the owner? And like, sure. And then, um, apparently we left and drove and had no reception. And when I got out, out I had a voicemail and it was like, come back, are you still here? But we missed him. So we on the phone and, and like started talking about doing stuff. So I was, I was blown away that my favorite, one of my favorite breweries I got to do work for and
Anne Kelly (49:47):
Beer, that’s an 11% beer.
So that’s an 11% beer, which I’m,
Anne Kelly (49:51):
That’s about a barley wine. That’s
Yeah, pretty much. I take it as a badge of honor. They go, they go really happy. I mean, that’s a triple, right? Yeah. It’s a triple
Anne Kelly (49:58):
Definitely an honor. Oh. So I think they have a location in Berkeley. Uh, gotta do a shout out. Do you know? Drake’s they’ve got one in, yeah.
Yeah. They’re in, um, San Leandro and Oakland, I believe.
Anne Kelly (50:13):
Yeah. So, so my, my girl, uh, the city Gina Corian, her, her family owns that brewery. No.shit Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, last time I visited her in the bay area, we went by her dad’s house and, um, he had some 22 ounces from Drake’s.
They do the izer I think, is that the Drake’s?
Anne Kelly (50:40):
I, you know, I don’t remember. I think it was an IPA or a stout this was years ago, but they’re, they’re, they’re doing some great beers and, uh, they’re quite in Berkeley will definitely have to go by and, um, yeah,
I like that. Yeah. If, uh, if you make it during a COVID year, you, you gotta up
Anne Kelly (51:01):
For sure. For sure. I don’t know if I’ll make it well, who knows? But I, I love the west coast. I love California. I love living in New Mexico. I’m mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm, <affirmative> definitely not leaving New Mexico anytime soon, but, uh, guaranteed. I’ll definitely be back to the west coast.
Yeah. They’re a good compliment. I found, you know, a lot of people who moved from just feeling New Mexico and Albuquerque land in Oakland. I think there’s a lot of compatibility in the culture. Uh, go back to that last one, if you don’t mind.
Anne Kelly (51:30):
Oh, the, the booth, this one. Yeah.
You just landed on one. Since we’re talking about beer. I did Octoberfest in Oakland and that’s a fun one. Oh,
Anne Kelly (51:36):
Yeah. Well all the local brew, local breweries and all that. Yeah. Just happened to, to land there and yeah, I think, yeah, I was next to the Raiderettes booth. So, um, people came for taking pictures with cheerleaders and they left with the art. <laugh>
Anne Kelly (51:54):
This one over here. This Triptic with the bird. Yeah. Love that one.
Thank you. That’s an andean condor
Anne Kelly (52:03):
I was like, I remember that one.
Yeah. I think I, I think I was living out. I did it while I was in Santa Fe.
Anne Kelly (52:11):
I think so that yeah. Seems about right. So yeah. I mean like here’s another kind of festival. Oh, well I dunno. Oh yeah your booth. You’re just enjoying.
That was the stage. Yeah, that was the few from my booth. You know, we talked about that was a yoga festival Wanderlust oh. Ended up being a really good fit. So yeah, I was like that close. That was like right in front of my booth. I was by the stage.
Anne Kelly (52:37):
Good deal. Well, so check out the Instagram page and you have a website as well,
Anne Kelly (52:49):
Check it out. Oh, and you have an email newsletter as well.
Yeah. Please sign up for that. It’s there’s a sign up on my, on my website front page. I think the top or bottom you’ll find
Anne Kelly (52:59):
It. Do you have any shoutouts? Anything you wanna, anything you got to say?
So I’ve been working on this Wolf and Raven piece with the newly added Lotus for a long time, and I’m excited about it. So keep an eye out for it. It’s coming out soon. I’m putting the finishing touches and I’ve been able to work on it at my own pace for the first time since I started this whole dang thing and like beyond excited to get it out there and, and share it. So keep an eye for that. Either follow me on the Instagram or sign out for my newsletter and you’ll see it
Anne Kelly (53:31):
When it comes out, get your newsletter and I follow you. So I’ll you for it. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. <laugh> well, thank you so much for, for joining tonight. It’s been fun catch up and, and we’ve made future plans.
So we made future plans. Thank you for having me.
Anne Kelly (53:49):
If you enjoyed this conversation, go back, check out episodes one through six, these like comment and subscribe, and also follow art in the raw Instagram and Facebook, and look forward to seeing you next week. Thanks again, Michael. Thank
You. And happy night, you too.
Subscribe to Art in the Raw