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It’s pretty common to look at a piece of abstract art and ask one’s self, “What were they thinking when they made that?” An abstraction is something that takes shape outside of concrete existence. But isn’t required to even possess a finite shape. It can be an idea or an idea of an idea. Or maybe it’s nothing at all. This is where Kyle Grover’s passion lies. A series of framed abstract works by Grover will be featured at Lake Avenue Cafe starting Thursday May 3rd and will run through June 3rd. The dozen or so featured paintings are composed of various color schemes, geometric shapes, planes and visually stimulating patterns. Aside from painting, Grover is also a tattoo artist who currently lives and works in Denver Colorado but also spends time tattooing in Duluth as well. Kyle and I recently met up to discuss his upcoming show and life as a tattoo artist.
MJ: How long have you been tattooing/painting?
KG: I’ve been tattooing for 14 years. I’ve been painting a lot longer than that. Since early in high school.
MJ: What do you enjoy painting?
KG: Mainly tattoo flash (Art typically displayed on the walls of tattoo shops to give walk-in customers and idea for a tattoo)and abstract works using liquid acrylics and watercolors.
MJ: Do you think Duluth is a pretty artist-friendly community?
KG: I do very much. We’ve got the whole “Minnesota nice” thing going on. You’ve got people that are more receptive to different kinds of art. I think they embrace it more so than in a populous metropolitan area. In Denver it’s a little harder for me to get my stuff across. The artist pool is definitely a lot bigger elsewhere.
MJ: What inspires different pieces of work that you do?
KG: A lot of stuff around me that I see everyday. I’m always looking at line, shape, plane, color and contrast. A lot of stuff from tattooing has helped me understand color better and other technical things that contribute to how I paint.
MJ: Do you have any specific influences?
KG: My teacher from high school, John Salminen, was a big influence on how I paint.
MJ: Talk a little bit about your show at LAC.
KG: I’m friends with the owners Derek and Mark. I was down there for dinner one night and he they asked to see my stuff and we decided to go forward with having a show down there. It starts Thursday May 3rd with a reception starting at 5pm. Works will be fore sale starting at $150 framed and go up to $400. I don’t want to gouge anybody. I like to make things that people can afford.
MJ: Do you have a self-described style?
KG: I like working with mixed media, abstraction, acrylics, liquid acrylics, watercolors, drawing ink. Mostly on watercolor paper or on boards when I don’t have watercolor paper.
MJ: Where can people see more of your work?
KG: They can check out my Facebook page, Kyle Allen Grover, as well as the show at Lake Avenue Cafe which runs through the beginning of June.