artist interview: diane kappa...

Diane Kappa is a surface designer, painter, graphic designer, traveler, and all around lover of life living in Budapest, Hungary. She creates a wonderful catalog of silk pillows, stationary, and journals. Diane is always willing to share her knowledge, her time and even her home!! Today she has graciously decided to share a bit of herself with us! View more of Diane's work here.

what three to five words would you use to describe your work?
I would describe my work as colorful, bold, a touch of folksy and a bit whimsical...and on the verge of great change.

what inspires you?
I love learning the thought process behind the art. Watching lace being made, learning the lost tradition of kékfestő printing (blue dye printing in Hungary), viewing an artist sketchbook of ideas and experiments...these are the most inspiring things to me!! These things help me generate ideas and think outside the box. I use to be a bit of a perfectionist with my art and drawing. Maybe that’s why I love sketchbooks. I see them as thoughts in process, rough and not perfected. I love seeing the under layer-how it started, the original idea.

what was your first job? How did you land in the relatively small field of surface design?
My first job was at an ice factory...seriously:)

But my first artist job was an internship during college. It was for a company in New York that had licensing rights for Barney and Sesame Street. It wasn’t glamorous...I painted acetate sheets in Barney purple that would later be cut out and taped on t-shirts and used as samples. This is showing my age...this was before we used computers for art...a good old copy machine, paint and clear acetate sheets was all we needed-high tech! Just imagine...someone wants to change a color in the art...you have to get out the paints and start mixing color!

how did you learn to paint silk?
In college. I had an instructor whose passion was indigo dying and fabric manipulation-dye it, tear it, pleat it, paint it! She inspired me to experiment with silk painting...next thing I knew I was painting 20 yards of silk. Now I paint for me and for others. And I love it!

design books you can't live without?
A Sketchbook of my mothers (not the title of a book but really one of my mothers sketchbooks)

A book of inspiration I have been putting together over the past few years. It is all pattern and it is categorized by color.

József Huszka: Collector and sketch artist (he is a Hungarian artist from the 1930’s)

Morris by Himself-this book has many images of partial sketches and partial finished work-I love it!

Tricia Guild Patterns-her use of color and pattern is so outrageous that it often gets me thinking of color combinations I wouldn’t usually put together.

One thing about you that would shock the outside world?
This is hard....I think a few people people would be surprised to hear that although I live in the city and LOVE it! I ache for the countryside. I fantasize of one day having a house in the country with a small garden and detached studio. This works perfectly with my husbands dream of raising goats and a tending to bee hives....goat cheese and honey? Sign me up!

Why Budapest? how has it inspired/changed your work?
Budapest is a vibrant city located in the center of Europe. It is only a few hours away from cities like Vienna, Berlin, Prague and Zagreb. I am fortunate to live where I am surrounded by everything that inspires me: folk arts, architecture, different cultures and the people….they are all within my sight!

I think you said it best, “I quite fell in love with the grit living side by side with the grand”. Budapest has amazing architecture, spectacular café’s and beautiful tree lined streets. It also has, graffiti (tagging more than art), and the beautiful buildings are disguised behind dirt and cracks. It feels untouched, a bit undiscovered.

I don’t know if my art has changed...yet. I am definitely inspired by the people and crafts of the Matyoland Region. The embroideries and colors are fantastic! I can really see this influencing my silk paintings in the future...stay tuned:)

What's next?
Currently, I am building my consulting business. I have some great clients in the USA and Europe that I have been designing for. I have even started doing more graphic design work-logo designs specifically-although print and pattern is my true passion. My focus is finding additional projects that will further push me as an illustrator and help me grow as an artist.

In regards to silk painting, I recently had some interesting ideas on pushing my silk paintings to the next level....I have been so inspired by collage. You see it with illustrators, photographers and mixed media artists. It is really everywhere in all types art and design. I have some thoughts on turning my silk paintings into mixed media...tearing, sewing, stretching...I am excited and interested to see where this ends up. Its all just a raw idea at the moment.

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