M I C H E L L E 7


Kevin Rolly
Artist Statement: I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I grew up with trees, art and secret wooded paths. My father bought a Nikon F when I was around eight and taught me how to use and respect it. For me it was a magical box - a memory catcher. When we were at the beach that summer vacationing with a group of families I developed a crush on an older woman. She was 10 and her name was Jackie. One afternoon she climbed out of the ocean and stood there pensively wrapped in a towel. There was something about that moment that spurred me to pick up the Nikon for the first time. I approached her and something magical happened. She didn’t turn away when I raised the lens, but held her look and let me capture that moment. It was that 1/125 of a second (at f:11) that changed my life. It was an understood offering of trust, even at that age.

In the decades to follow nothing has changed in regards to my approach. The notion that people are created as creatures of dignity became more clear and that as an artist I am being entrusted not just with their image, but their story. And those stories with all of their beauty, pathos and pain are important. If I do my job then they should speak to everyone on some level. I believe I will always be painting the same picture in that respect.

I did all the typical things a young photographer does. I shot the seagulls against the sunsets, I took the time lapse night images, I learned three point lighting and then in my late teens I had to learn how to unlearn all of it. I was shooting the way I thought I should shoot and I forgot that sacred moment on the beach years earlier. It was during that time and into my early 20’s that I began to discover (or rediscover) that voice. I went on to study film production at Penn State University and eventually won a Student Emmy for my senior film, though I never formally studied photography itself. I felt on an innate level that I needed to discover all of the ins and outs on my own. My parents bought me my Nikon FE-2 that I use to this day. I memorized Ansel Adams’ The Negative. I studied the masters: Avedon, Ralph Gibson, Cartier-Bresson and a host of others known and not so well known. I made a point of learning what cameras they shot with, what film they used, even what developers they employed. I watched how they used light as a language or more appropriately, how they used the light more like a paraglider uses the wind. I don’t think I used a traditional three-point light set up ever again. However, it wasn’t just the photographers I studied. Artists such as Andrew Wyeth and Caravagio taught me truly how to see a world beyond the visible. I began to shoot small professional jobs then. Portraits, headshots, fashion, concerts, theatre. 

I moved to Los Angeles in 1992 and set up the studio that I still work from. I began slowly building a client base in fashion and gave myself no other option but to shoot for a living. In 1994 I was inspired by the watercolors of Kent Williams and Jon J Muth. I wanted the images I made to look like those…but as photos. I began experimenting with a variety of media and discovered that there was a way to blend oil color with the prints in a way that looked cohesive and not “painted on.” I ended up calling the process “oilgraphing.” The early pieces were strictly monochrome. Over the years they began to warm up and I started montaging the work together. Around that time I was lecturing on the technique when someone asked me to demonstrate it. I took it as a challenge. That began what has now turned into a regular series of performances where the work is created in front of an audience. 

In terms of the work you see here, I believe the nude human form is the purest, most vulnerable and most honest of creations. It demands respect and dignity for there is nothing to hide behind. Though we are sexual creatures, I believe that nudity does not equate with sex. I’m not interested in purely sexual work. Though I feel it is a subject that I deal with, I am more concerned with that person’s story and the emotional forces that are at play. 
Location: Los Angeles, California
Email: gallery@kevissimo.com
Website: www.kevissimo.com 
Yes - Kevin offers open edition prints, limited edition work, original oil graphs, and commissioned work for select collectors. Please contact artist directly to purchase fine art prints and for more information.
06-04  Nudes
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