We are excited to collaborate on another upcoming fine art print release with artist, Aunia Kahn, entitled Frozen Era. Aunia is a figurative artist, photographer, creative entrepreneur and inspirational speaker whose interests in tarot provides us with some hauntingly alluring art. We were able to catch up with her and talk about her impressive resume and inspirations.
POW: The dark color palette and facial expressions of characters used in your paintings create an overwhelming sense of melancholy. Would you say that these works are a reflection of your-inner self, or is this just an aesthetic preference?
Aunia: Thank you for taking the time to interview me, I appreciate it and appreciate working with POW.
My art has changed over the years. If you look at older works they have a much more darker palette and also the subject is much more melancholy, however, my newer work over the last 2 years shares a brighter palette with the similar look, I feel more thoughtful and contemplative than melancholy. The older work was a reflection of a 10 year undiagnosed illness that left me searching for answers as doctors told me nothing was wrong and I was crazy; until I almost died in 2012. It was a very dark time in my life, especially after overcoming years of child abuse and thinking as an adult I would have a pretty normal life. Overall, the circumstances brought me to art, a deep love of mine and also the ability to help so many people. So as much as it was a dark place and reflected very heavy in my artwork, it was a place I learned so much from; and in a way I am thankful. To be on the other side of the illness now, I can see it’s been life changing. As I heal I see my color palette getting more and more bright, the subject will always be a bit dark no matter how healthy I am since I happen aesthetically like the juxtaposition of the two.
POW: When I view the artistic interpretation of the female form the point of view of my male colleagues, they seem to base their style on personal preferences, putting an added emphasis on physical qualities or characteristics they find attractive in the opposite sex. As a female artist, is your approach similar when creating your character based works? If not, could we please have a little insight into your process?
Aunia: Good question. I base almost all artwork off photographic references of myself, so I am acutely aware of the form beforehand since the form is me and has not changed too much over the years. However, I find my focus more on the stances and postures of the characters, as well as the narrative aspect of the work rather than “attractive” characteristics of the characters. For me as a female artist, I find the female form very attractive and my focus is very strongly focused on the eyes. I find them the most captivating in both sexes, which seems to be where a lot of my attention goes. The gaze is very important for the mood in my work.
POW: While observing the female characters in you work, they seem to look like a combination of Elvira, Peggy Bundy, and Jessica Rabbit (coincidentally, all of whom I had a 3-way crush on while growing up in the 80s). While most men can appreciate this, I curious as to how women in general react to your work? Has anyone every accused your works of creating an unrealistic portrayal of women?
Aunia: That’s quite the compliment, thank you! Also, thank you for this question. I think it’s an important one to address. Over the years I can’t say anyone has accused me of creating an unrealistic portrayal of women, yet it would not surprise me that it could come up or has come up without my knowledge. Personally, I don’t feel my work has an unrealistic portrayal of women since it’s modeled off actual reference pictures of me, and are proportionally close to my size. I do however understand that we live in a society where women are expected to be overly thin, have big boobs and a well-rounded bottom, be perfect and airbrushed until she looks almost unreal. It is my hope people will continue focus more on the messages and storytelling aspect of my work. No matter what you do in life someone somewhere will find a flaw with it, you have to move past it and not let it bother you. Women seem to love my work and feel empowered by it, and from what I have gauged over the years I have more female collectors than male. Go figure!
POW: When I was conducting research for this interview, Google describes you as an "artist, author, singer, lyricist, web designer, graphic designer and photographer", which happens to be a VERY impressive resume! If you were forced to choose only one of those as an occupation for the rest of your life, which one would you select and why?
Aunia: Oh Google! It’s funny you say that because I don’t write music or sing anymore because of my past illness wrecking my voice. But I have added to the list being gallery owner at Alexi Era Gallery, an inspirational speaker and weekly podcaster hosting Create & Inspire, and of course I am still doing those other things too. Like a lot of artists I have a need to explore, I love to learn and try new things. If I had to choose just one it would be an artist because it can crossover into anything else if you let it.
POW: You first decided to collaborate with Prints On Wood a few months ago with the limited edition wood print of your painting, Lost & Found. Could you please give us some background into the context of this image?
Aunia: "Lost and Found" is an artwork featuring a dog from Stray Rescue Saint Louis that I had the honor of painting a portrait of in a previous fundraising art show at the Saint Louis Contemporary Art Museum this summer. I fell in love with him and felt I needed to feature him in my work again, almost like a spirit animal of sorts. In times when I feel lost, or searching for answers I find peace with animals and nature, it always brings me such joy. This was one of the only pieces that had ever featured a dog, which happens to be one of my favorite animals. Well, to be honest, I love them all.
After the limited release of Lost and Found, we are excited to once again collaborate with Aunia Kahn on a new print release, Frozen Era, which will be signed, numbered and hand embellished. The prints will be available during a five day timed release beginning Friday, September 5th at 12 pm PST.
For more information on Aunia Kahn, visit http://auniakahn.com/