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Chopping Block: Caia Koopman

A long time personal friend and extremely talented artist, Caia Koopman is a name you may want to remember if you love art with edgy girls with tattoos.  If you haven't heard of her, you have probably seen her art and portraits of bad-ass women on your neighbor's surf board or whilst shopping at an Oakley retail store.  We catch up with the unstoppable Caia Koopman, whose illustrations of strong female characters are forces to be reckoned with.

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POW: I gotta say, as a woman, I find your art to be very empowering. None of your subjects have that "damsel in distress" look that often accompanies women in art and other media. What is your thought process when creating your characters?

Caia: Yes, I'm happy to hear you say that, my ladies are my spokeswomen and they bravely relay the message to the viewer. I often paint them as protectors, guardians of the birds and the bees, the flora and the fauna.

seamonsterderric-a654d6fe66-crop-4x5.jpg.thumbnail_3Diving Buddy by Caia Koopman

POW: Your characters are often juxtaposed with various nature elements. Is nature something that you've always used as inspiration for your art?

Caia: Yes, I am truly inspired by nature, my pieces often incorporate the theme of our human connection with nature and the world around us, we are all connected to everything and need to work harder not to offset this balance.

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 9.31.40 PMGenus Rainbows by Caia Koopman

POW: You grew up in Santa Cruz, CA, immersed in the punk scene which definitely translates into your work. What made you want to be become an artist?

Caia: Actually I grew up in Livermore and went to college in Santa Cruz, and yes, immersed in the punk scene which was a lot of fun, high energy, excitement and great music. I had always been good at art so becoming an artist was something that just happened along the way. I was a math major but my calculus book mysteriously disappeared after my roommate borrowed it and I got behind in class so I switched my major to art.

caia-koopman-liberty-16x20Liberty and Blaze by Caia Koopman

POW: Recently, you were part of a Daft Punk inspired exhibit in San Francisco's Gauntlet Gallery. Do you think the translation between music and art is difficult to capture or was it something that came naturally?

 Caia: I hadn't attempted to incorporate the idea of music in any of my paintings before, music is one of those ubiquitous things, like air, and it hadn't occurred to me to paint it until being invited to the Daft Punk show. And then it did come naturally, music and bright colors seem to relate perfectly.

love-crop-1x1.jpg.thumbnail_5Love by Caia Koopman

POW: You've designed pieces for brands like Oakley and Rossignol, which are major action sport companies. Is your creative process different when it comes to designing snowboards and other active apparel versus traditional paintings?

Caia: I love doing collaborative projects like that, working with action sports companies can be a lot of fun and seeing my painting out there in the world and on the mountain is a bit of a rush. As far as the creative process I don't have to differ much from painting for a gallery, often the company will pick something existing that has already caught their attention. Oakley really liked my little zombie voodoo doll and Rossignol seemed to be able to pull a flower or a bird off any of my paintings and make it look like it was made for that board or ski.

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Raining Pink by Caia Koopman

POW: We are excited to have an upcoming signed and numbered print release with you that coincides with a solo art exhibit at Distinction Gallery in San Diego, CA in October, can you tell us more about what to expect at your show and the print release of "Raining Pink"?

Caia: I'm excited too, thank you for working with me on this! My show is almost a year in the making and there will be a lot of colorful, painterly yet detailed, sad but cheerful, and even fury, new images to sink your eyeballs into. Raining Pink is one of my favorites from the show and the print on wood looks fantastic!!

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For more information on Caia Koopman, visit http://caiakoopman.com/

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