Interview of Kris Lodu by Kara Zosha
Kris Lodu (They/Them) is a queer visual artist based in Toronto who works with acrylic/gauche paint and digital art. Their art focuses on the human form in its many representations and explores themes of vulnerability, identity, gender, and sexuality as they relate to self-image. One of the main purposes of their art is to create a warm and inviting community where people can see themselves represented.
I am well, thank you! It has snowed a lot in Toronto the last few days and so I’ve been hoping spring will be around the corner soon.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a Queer/Trans/Non-Binary freelance painter, mixed media artist, model, and 3D digital sculpture artist in Toronto. I am currently studying at OCADU for art curation and criticism, where I hope to begin a career that mainly focuses on showcasing Queer youths’ artwork. My art focuses on the human form in its many representations and explores themes of vulnerability, identity, gender, and sexuality as they relate to self-image. One of the main purposes of my art is to create a warm and inviting community where people can see themselves represented. I also have a commission series that is now open where I paint peoples’ nudes for them. You can find the forum on my Instagram.
Your art style is unique and expressive, each painting conveys different emotions while representing the human form in many ways. How did you come about this current art style?
I have always been fascinated and inspired by the human form. Each painting I create is a part of the visual diary that I have been making for the last three years. I use my paintings to document and understand my emotions and as an outlet that makes them easy to digest and decode. I am from Toronto and for six months of the year, it is very cold and dark, the city swifts quickly from vibrant colors to an untouchable but smothering grey. During the winter, I fall into a yearly seasonal depression and something that has gotten me through those months is taking those reminiscing feelings of summer and painting bright, warm inviting colors in my work. My studio has helped me escape the winter blues and be surrounded by bright vibrant colors all year round.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
When I first started drawing, I found a lot of inspiration in myself and my body, and I would draw myself and the different movements I would make. After a while, I started drawing friends and people I knew, I’ve always been inspired by the human form. I love the way the body is transformed through movement, color, and shape when painting, especially when people can see themselves being represented, seen, and heard in my work. Being queer has also influenced my work by creating mini-queer love stories in my paintings and proudly representing the community. Folks need to see Queer love in a way that doesn’t have pain involved as the media loves to represent it as.
How do you come up with a name for a piece?
The titles of my works usually come from the feelings/emotions I experience while painting. I usually have a phrase that stays in my head the whole time, and when I make sense of it I turn it into a title.
How long does it take to complete a piece?
Not long! Once I feel inspired, I have to put it on paper! My 11×15 paintings usually take 2 hours, and my larger 24×30 inch canvas paintings take about 4 hours. It’s hard for me to have a stop-and-go process and so I try to get them done before the inspiration fades away.
With works like “Sitting on Venus with You”, how and why did you decide to add yarn to the painting?
I have always been interested in mixed media artwork, especially ones involving textiles. For my painting “Sitting on Venus with You” I wanted everything about the piece to be welcoming, comfortable, and soft, it is a representation of what Queer love is to me, and I wanted to enhance that feeling by adding wool to make the painting physically soft to touch as well. Also, I love making the figures I paint as comfy as possible.
Also of all the mediums you use; acrylic, gauche, and digital. Do you have a favorite?
My favorite medium would probably be Acrylic just because that’s what I started painting with and I am most comfortable expressing myself with, but I love to jump outside of my comfort zone and experiment with all mediums.
Out of all the pieces you’ve made, which has had the biggest impact on you?
The piece that has had the biggest impact on me is “Fairies’ (2021), it was the first painting I did that I fell in love with immediately. It represents me as an artist and how I see the world.
What are your aspirations for the future?
Someday goal is to become an art curator/freelance painter. Help other artists showcase their work as well as my own. I would also love to experiment a bit more with installations.
Thank you so much for chatting with us! Where can people find your work?