ARTIST KENDALL BOHN has been creating coloring books since 2002, and also publishes other coloring book artists under the Kaleidoscopia imprint. His designs, and those of the other artists he publishes, are wonderfully fun to color. Read on to learn a little about him and his art.
Color On!: What made you decide to start publishing coloring books under the Kaleidoscopia name?
Kendall: Some friends and I were having coffee, at Mill City Coffee Shop back in 2002; I showed them my drawings and asked if anyone had an idea for a title. We brainstormed for a few minutes – came up with lots of words. Someone said kaleidoscopic – that didn’t fit; the next was cornucopia, and then someone said “Kaleidoscopia.”
That was it… The title for my first self-published coloring book was Kaleidoscopia a Creative Coloring Adventure. Then with my next book in I decided it worked better as my business name – A Kaleidoscopia Coloring Book ABSTRACT ADVENTURE. Now I have the business name “KALEIDOSCOPIA” trademarked.
Color On!: Your books have an interesting twist with the “cloned” designs. Tell us how you came up with the idea of doing this.
Kendall: My business partner, August Johnston, had the idea while scanning and editing my drawings. He was working on the MASHUP ADVENTURE designs. We printed a few out and showed them to a bunch of people to see the reaction. Many actually liked the clones better than my originals, so we decided to add the clones along with the originals.
Color On!: There are a huge number of Kaleidoscopia books out there – how do you decide what artists to publish?
I like to see, unique creative ideas, and the quality of the line work is important to me. After I’ve accepted an artist, I send out the contract and then it is up to the artist if they want to be part of Kaleidoscopia.
Color On!: How do you create your art for your coloring books? Tell us about your process for creating new work.
The original abstract drawings in my books are hand drawn, ink on paper. I’ve also combined hand drawn with digital, and created images digitally. Depending on the subject matter, I might make stencils if I want to repeat a specific shape. After the drawing is finished, I scan the drawings then edit and do touchups to them.
Color On!: Do you create other art besides designs for coloring books?
Yes… I do oil and acrylic paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramic and drawings for my coloring books. My paintings cover a range of size and subjects from outer space to undersea with everything in between. My sculptures are created from many mediums as well. I’ve created marble, sandstone, ceramic, metal, and wire sculptures. I have a three-year long project photographing the construction of a bridge, that has turned into a few paintings, a sculpture, and soon I will be making a coffee table book with the best photos.
Color On!: Do you enjoy relaxing with coloring books by other artists? If so, do you have a favorite artist or book?
I’ve colored many and had lots of fun coloring the images of the artists I am working with. I’ve colored most of the Kaleidoscopia covers. I’ve had lots of fun coloring Lonneke Holla’s Crazy Creature Collection, Lizzy Blu’s Lighthearted Lunacy, Loni Gansmann’s Tangled Angles, Racheal Mayo’s Dragon Adventure and Ann Marie Irvine’s Ann’s Doodles.
Color On!: What color or colors do you most love to work with?
I really like working with all colors. It is about harmony and balance. I‘ve done monochromatic paintings using blues or purple or green or whichever color I want or feel at the time to create the desired image. I’ve painted sunsets with the entire spectrum, and abstract paintings with as many colors as I could come up with.
Color On!: Tell us a little bit about your art. Do you have a favorite piece that you created?
Every piece of art has some story. I don’t think I really have a favorite piece of art. I have a love/hate relationship with some of my work. Some pieces have more meaning then others. I am very passionate about all of my work. I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to create many different things.
Color On!: Other than creating art, what interesting hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
If I am not creating, I like to hang out with my girlfriend; she is very active and keeps me busy. Right now I have a part time remodeling construction job.
Color On!: Have you had any memorable responses to your art work from collectors?
During a coffee shop book signing a woman told me she is a recovering alcoholic. She said that she colored my designs to keep her mind off drinking. Another lady thanked me, and said how much she liked my abstract drawings. She told me that during her six hour, three times a week chemo therapy treatment, she and her daughter colored my books.
Color On!: If you had to choose one superpower, what would it be?
I would like to fly!
Color On!: Who is your favorite artist or artists (not necessarily coloring book artists)?
I study the painters Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Matisse and Vlaminck. My favorite sculptors that I study are Isamu Noguchi, Henry Moore and David Smith. Maybe most influential to my art are Wayne Tollefson and Cathryn Mulligan, my painting and sculpture professors.
While working I think about how to use colors to create light, define shapes, depth and time. I was influenced by the impressionists’ use of color, and brush stroke. I also studied the fauvists for their emotional use of colors, shapes, bold brush stroke and the surrealists, for going beyond reality.
Color On!: Is there some person, place or thing that inspires you when you are creating your art?
Yes….. It all depends on the situation and what I am working on. Inspiration happens from all things. My girlfriend Tatyana, a colorful sunset, an emotion, an event, fireworks, losing someone, finding something in a dumpster that will make a perfect something else. This is where inspiration happens – creating something from nothing.
Color On!: Tell us about your plans for the rest of 2016. Do you have anything interesting coming up that you’d like to share with your fans?
I have some new drawings that will go into my next abstract adventure. Kaleidoscopia will be working with a few new artists who will be producing coloring books. I will be working on my paintings and sculptures along the way.
Color On!: Sounds great Kendall! We look forward to seeing great new coloring books from Kaleidoscopia!