Aunia Kahn: Print Exhibition & Interview

by Denis on August 11, 2011

For the past few months, von Scaramouche has been presenting, on a monthly basis, a series of small exhibitions of limited edition prints at Cinema du Parc in Montreal. Starting today, we are showing three prints from Aunia Kahn, a delightful person and an inspired artist whose works have been shown in numerous solo & group exhibitions at galleries across the United States as well as in the Netherlands, Mexico and Italy.

Kahn’s work combines many disciplines, wrapping them into a hybrid art form melding photography, painting and collage. She designs, builds, and executes characters, non-existent places, dreams, illusions, fears and fables into creation, which meld elements of classical and contemporary art. Aunia has graciously accepted to answer our questions and it is with great pleasure that we share our interview with her:

von Scaramouche: Do you remember the first visual art work that really caught your attention / imagination and what was it about the work that captivated you?
Aunia Kahn: Truly I don’t recall because I was so young when I fell in love with art and making art. I do remember being very heavy into photography magazines as a kid. I had my first camera when I was about 8, which was a Fisher Price Kodak 110.

vS: It was after seeing a photo of yourself recently that I realized that the woman in most of your mixed media works is actually your own likeness.  How did you arrive at this decision?
AK: A few years ago when art became one of the main focuses in my life, I was at a rough spot along my journey, and art was being used in a therapeutic way to help forge through the trials and tribulations that I was dealing with personally. I found that I was the only person there I could reference and could truly and deeply understand. I looked to the female form, more specifically myself to purge things, and express myself in ways I never thought possible. The healing has been monumental and the journey one I never thought I would be on.

vS: Since the nature of your works is intimately personal, how did you come to terms with the idea of showing your works in public and ultimately interacting on a personal level with individuals who may critique or may have been moved by your art?
AK: I found it very hard to do. I was not sure I even made the right decision at first since it seemed to be so emotionally taxing. Creating from childhood, even in my adulthood I never expected to share my works, and then one day it just seemed to happen at the right time and place. Watching people’s reactions to my work is what kept me wanting to exhibit. As I would always create art, but sharing it on a public form is hard for many, even with opportunities available. After watching a patron cry at one of my works, very early in my career, I was hooked at the idea that if I shared my work I would not only help heal myself, I could possible help others heal.

I have also had many critiques of my work, as anyone does when exposing their creations publicly but I don’t think I found it hit me any differently that if my work was less personal, due to my interest in constructive criticism. I thrive on improvement, self expansion and growth no matter how it comes, as it comes in many forms. Overall, I typically do not let other people’s opinions of my work bother me. It’s my work, my visions but I always welcome thoughts and ideas from others based on what they see.

vS: Can you tell us about your recent Film Noir solo exhibition and the themes you explore through those works?
AK: Film Noir was a grouping of works that showcased a collection of various art works created throughout the last five years, which drew pieces from almost each series I have dabbled in. The idea of Film Noir as a title was the all-encompassing description of the artworks ability to depict situations that almost feel like stills from a movie. There is so much more behind each work, and at any point the art could leap into action, and start a new story of its own.

vS: We are showing three of your prints in the context of our monthly exhibitions at Cinema du Parc in Montreal.  Amongst them there is Love This, Fear This, can you please talk to us about this particular work?


AK: Love This, Fear This is a work that is dear to my heart. In this work I am wearing a wedding dress from my good friend’s mother. I collect vintage and exotic clothing and props, and use them in much of my work. This dress happens to be a favorite piece in my collection and has been used in various pieces over the years after I acquired it. In this work, it is used in an exploration of self. We love to hate ourselves and hate to love ourselves. Also there is a fine line between the person you are and the people around you, we are all connected in some way. I also feel this work speaks to me on a level of life and death, and the hurt we go though with loss. No matter if it’s the loss of self or another, we have to find ways to repair our wounds. So many of my works have dual meanings, it’s hard to pin-point the exact thought or sentiment, and many times over the years the meanings change for me since they are so personal.

vS: Since you have a generous selection of prints available and you have been offering them for a number of years, I wanted to ask your thoughts on prints and reproductions.  What initially prompted you to offer prints alongside your original works?
AK: I actually started doing prints first, since my work is a mixed media of panting, collage and photography; blended together in a hybrid art form, and are finalized digitally. Prints were the main source of sharing my work publicly, until collectors approached me wanting something more in 2010. They wanted something that was one-of-a-kind, original, higher-end, collectable and special. With this notion, I developed the idea that I would offer an original of the artwork, on canvas with a beautiful lacquer. This would be treated like that of a painting, as there would be one, and prints would then follow rather than precede.

vS: You have a strong presence on a number of social networks.  Have you noticed a correlation between the images which show as being widely shared through those networks and the value / demand / sales of those specific works? 
AK: We live in a time now where anyone can share anything on the Internet. There is so much more hope for artists and creative people to bring their work to the public eye, rather than years ago when we did not have this technology. I think the ability to network with galleries, publications, other artists and fans is such a wonderful way to be able to share your work and get to know people that you might not have ever crossed paths with. I find that being on the Internet has brought me many commissions, great sales, wonderful contacts with galleries such as yours and so forth. It has been very good to me.

vS: Do other art forms inform your work?  If so, can you tell us about how one such influence translated in one of your works?
AK: As an author of the written word and a musician, I find that many of the things I write or create share the plate with my artworks. There is a lot of cross over between the many mediums that I use. For instance “Burnt Fuel” is also the name of a song I wrote back in 2002, and the now the name of the artwork below.

I am also inspired by many books of poetry, stories and listening to music. Not often are they depicted in my works since my of my works are personal, yet I think the sounds of music leave an undertone to the feeling of a work as I am creating it.

vS: What positively ‘rocks’ your world these days?
AK: That I woke up this morning. My beautiful fur kids, husband, family, friends and supporters. If I am breathing, I am “rocking”!

Thank you Aunia!

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by Denis on August 11, 2011

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

scott holloway September 14, 2011 at 1:16 am

Aunia is a gem in the art world. Her work is heart felt and true. She is an artist with a REAL message!

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