I have known Shannon Kringen, or Goddess KRING as she is known in the art world, for over 10 years but we have never met face to face. We met years ago on LiveJournal and then continued our friendship on Myspace and now Facebook. Ahhh, the glory of the internet and social media. I have always admired Shannon’s passion for the arts. She lives her life for art and makes things happen. Between her photography, painting, figure modeling, self portraits, and painting shoes, Shannon makes a living off of art. Check out my interview with her and the awesome shoes she painted for me!
If you could do what I’m doing right now, and interview anyone in the world, who would it be?
Friedensreich Hundertwasser, my favorite artist. (He passed away in 2000 but I wish I could magically talk to him with a translator…he was Austrian so spoke German). Friedensreich was an amazing person and not many Americans know about him. I know they taught him in Art History class in Norway though…(my Norwegian friend told me that). Hundertwasser was a philosopher, painter and architect. Hundertwasser’s thoughts are a philosophy of the aesthetic and the life and art in harmony with nature. He believed making art was a natural occurance if one relaxes into the self and responds accordingly. He also believed the straight line in architecture should be removed and that buildings should be both eco friendly on a physical level as well as visually mimicking the shapes and patterns and colors in the natural world. He said: “There Are No Evils in Nature.
There Are Only Evils of Man. When man thinks he has to correct nature, it is an irreparable mistake every time. A community should not consider it an honour by how much spontaneous vegetation it destroys; it should rather be a point of honour for every community to protect as much of its natural landscape as possible.”
You can see his work here. There is a winery in Napa Califironia designed by Hundertwasser. (Most of his buildings are in Europe and Asia) Some of his rules in architecture: No straight lines. Roofs are planted with grass and trees. Every building is capped with a golden turret to elevate man’s sense of himself. Color is king . I love his artwork and feel a kinship with his way of seeing the world and of making marks and designs. I am also a lover of nature and have a strong interest in living in harmony with nature and taking care of plants, animals and the earth itself as much as I can. I love his abstractions in his work which relate strongly to my own abstract painting. I am highly influenced by the colors and designs of his work. I see Hundertwassers work as an abstraction of the shapes I see in plants, animals and the land masses on earth. He is a fascinating artist and I wish more Americans knew of his wisdom and philosophy and artwork. I might do an MFA degree that I design myself and will use his ideas as part of my curriculum.
I went to Vienna Austria just to visit one of Hundertwassers buildings. It is an apartment building, a cafe and a museum containing many of his paintings. It made me cry. I felt so at home with his work. I know about him because of my mother who is also an artist who raised me with prints of his work around our house. His shapes are a bit like architect Gaudi and painter Gustav Klimt.
What’s your most uncomfortable modeling moment that comes to mind?
Well lets see…I began modeling for artists in 1992…amazing it’s been 20 years. That is
half my life! I once did a pose for 90 hours, which was the longest and hardest job I have ever done as a model. It was sitting in a chair for 6 hours a day for 15 days. I had to stare at a piece of tape on the wall to hold my gaze in the same place so they could paint me very realistically. That was physically challenging. I have to play with my mind when I model for long poses like that. I sometimes meditate and I sometimes hear poems come through or sometimes I daydream while modeling. I love the mental freedom I have when figure modeling for artists.
What’s your favorite thing to do creatively, and where do you see the future of your art?
My favorite thing, is to wander around and walk on a good “natural light day”, and take spontaneous, improvisational photos and then share them online with people. What I call “creative taoist photography” after an article I read in the “journal of transpersonal psychology”.
My dream career would be to travel around the world taking strong photos of any subject I see that moves me and share it online. I would write about my travels as well as print my photos out in large scale and show them in galleries. I’d love to do a book of my work and go on an international book tour as well. Lately, I have also gotten into fusing my abstract paintings with my photography. I take an image of my painting and make it transparent, then I combine that digitally with my photos and flatten them together as one layer. I love to shoot urban decay, reflections on chrome, mud puddles, close ups of water droplets on plants, architecture from extreme angles, self portraits that are unusual, and anything that is colorful or has a strong rough texture to it. In my work, I increase contrast and saturation of color to bring out the shapes and textures in what I see. I also like to move my camera while shooting at night to “paint” with light, making intentionally blurred images that have a dreamy quality.
What medium do you most enjoy working with and why?
Cameras! I am hooked on digital photography because it’s so easy to travel with. I can be spontaneous! I also love to paint and draw with acrylic paint and chalk and oil pastel. I also paint onto shoes with waterproof markers and fabric paints (have done this since 1986 while in high school). In 1996 I painted a pair of high heeled shoes for musician Tori Amos after her fan club set me up with backstage passes. Tori Amos wore the shoes during a concert in Seattle, at the Paramount Theatre, and thanked me from the stage BY NAME!
With digital photography I can combine all of this work by scanning or photographing my work and open it on the computer and fuse layers of work I have done in any medium with a photograph. I also make video monologues and did a weekly public access tv show for 15 years called “Goddess KRING” and still make videos I share on my youtube channel.
Even though you lead a very public/open life, what is one thing that might surprise people about you?
I am a bit shy at social events, sensitive and overwhelmed by loud noises and also a bit conservative in terms of not drinking or smoking or being into any drugs.
-You can catch up with Shannon on her website and see all of her amazing photos on flickr.
Shannon’s book ARt, Identity and the Sacred is now available through Blurb here in PDF, soft cover and hardback!