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A Dialogue with Echo Artist Brian A. Kavanaugh

Interview by Tara Sasiadek:

The Buffalo Expat Network, the Emerging Leaders in the Arts and HandsOn Greater Buffalo are pleased to present the echo:
Art Fair which connects experienced collectors and first-time buyers
with emerging local, regional and international artists in a centralized
and creative environment; the Buffalo Central Terminal. echo:
Art Fair will showcase a broad scope of fine art disciplines, including
painting, photography, sculpture, print, works on paper, video and
combined-media. echo will commence with a VIP Reception on July 8th, 2011. On July 9th, the echo:
Art Fair will run from 9:30am until 5:30pm. The After-echo party, also
to be held in the Terminal, will take place shortly after the ending of
the fair featuring live music from The Albrights, Alex Kelly, and will
wrap up with a dance party featuring DJ Cutler and AVDJ PROJEX. Here is the next in a series of Buffalo Rising interviews with one of our featured artists, Brian A. Kavanaugh:
Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Brian A. Kavanaugh and I am a collage artist.                                          

What are the most essential elements of your work?

In terms of aesthetic qualities found in a singular piece of work I value consistency.  In some of my large collages I may use portions of over 1000 photographs, almost an overabundance of detail.  Deliberately placing each image so it smoothly transitions into those around it creates a flattening effect, unifying what could otherwise be a chaotic scene.

If you had to choose only 5 materials or tools to work with, what would they be?

Exacto knife, glue stick, cheap set of acrylic paint, thread and a subscription to National Geographic.              

Would you describe your artistic education as a guided or self guided journey?

I make sure to constantly challenge myself in order to progress in my own studio practice but without the artists I’ve worked with, shared time with, and grown close to, I don’t know where I would be.

Do you have a connection to Buffalo?

Born and raised.

How do you define success as an artist?

Respect among your peers.

Can you share with a us a harrowing tale of an artistic disaster?

A few years ago I took part in a Pecha Kucha event at ArtSpace Buffalo Gallery.  I made some large collages with imagery printed on transparent plastic and slowly pulled the collages across an overhead projector so they would appear large on the wall.  I though it could be cool to build a small transparent cube, adorned with imagery, in which I would place some crickets and then place the cube on the projector.  During the intermission, before my performance, my friend Justin Lowe and I went upstairs to my apartment to place the crickets into the cube.  Having never worked with insects in any way at all I didn’t know exactly how malleable they could be.  Within seconds most of them slid through the tiniest cracks in the cube and began hopping around my apartment.  Justin quickly called a few of his friends who were in the gallery downstairs to help corral the crickets.  Soon, there were four of us chasing crickets around my apartment and I had five minutes until my presentation.  I was able to get one cricket into the cube, which was pretty underwhelming visually.  We were able to gather most of the renegade crickets but suffice it to say, over the next couple of days my apartment had a very outdoorsy feel to it.  Every time I was awoken by a chirp was a reminder that when it comes to live performance, don’t put your trust in a cricket, they’re jerks.

Do you have a set schedule for studio time?  How do you structure your creative life?

Usually at least one or two hours a day in some capacity, either organizing materials, cleaning my studio, helping to put together shows or working on a piece.  A time exclusively for work is Sunday morning, after a big breakfast, while watching the Sunday talk shows.  It is the least hurried time of my week.

Can you tell us about where you find resources or inspiration for your work?

Over time I have created a large library of books, magazines, posters, etc.  Looking through my collection can inspire me to visualize a larger landscape built from the imagery I encounter.  Making a collage is when I feel most creative, continuously being challenged to form sinuous relationships between the images I use.  Understanding that the finished work will vary greatly from my initial idea is something that keeps me excited through out the process.

What quote or mantra or words of wisdom do you have for other creative types?

Leave room for mistakes.  

For full details on echo: Art Fair, visit the site at, or find us on Facebook.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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