As the age-old adage goes, a drawing speaks a thousand words for 22-year-old emerging artist Kylie McGinnis. Her attraction to linguistics was sparked in her Japanese language classes at Florida State University from where she will graduate this summer with her BFA in art.
As part of the FSU Museum of Fine Art’s Summer Graduating Artists Exhibition, McGinnis’ culminating work blends her interests in Japanese language and culture with the pictorial language of her drawings, which will be seen at the opening reception on Friday, July 14, from 6-8 p.m., and will stay on display through July 27.
“Japanese helps you to process thoughts differently,” explains McGinnis. “The way speakers form their sentences, and even the beauty of the written language, makes you consider things in a different way and has influenced me a lot in terms of my art.”
However, McGinnis’ journey towards combining language with art was not a clear-cut path. She did not pass her first advancement review, a metric used to determine whether a BFA student may graduate, and a hurdle that opened her eyes up to what she truly valued about her work.
“I became motivated and started thinking, asking myself what I care about,” states McGinnis. “Before that, I don’t think I was particularly in touch with myself. That’s when I started doing work informed by Japanese culture and that’s when I started making art that was more meaningful.”
During her time at FSU, McGinnis completed an internship with Phillips Auction House in New York City, where she experienced a little known side of the art world compiling catalogs for art sales. Currently, she is enrolled in a five year program that will also award her a master’s in art education in spring 2018.
Her mother, an interior designer, first inspired McGinnis to pursue visual art. In West Palm Beach, McGinnis attended Dreyfoos School of the Arts. It was during that time that she identified her interests in drawing with the guidance of instructor Scott Armetta whose sense of humor and approach to art spurred McGinnis to continue developing her talents in college.
While she’s always painted and drawn, McGinnis expanded her horizons by including sculptural and installation elements into her work, though cedes that she much prefers expressing her ideas on two-dimensional surfaces. Regardless of the end product, she says she doesn’t hold precious any one finished work, past or present. “I learn a little bit from everything that I do but I’m not attached to it,” says McGinnis. “I’m so ready to throw it out when I’m done with it, because, for me, it’s more about developing an idea in a visual language than keeping something.”
In terms of current influences, she cites films like “Ugetsu” and the television show “Sailor Moon” for their hand drawn meticulousness, as well as Björk’s music which reveals a layered approach to listening. Japanese filmmaker Satoshi Kon and his movies have opened McGinnis to accessing duality in her own work as he creates beautifully animated stories with darker, serious undertones.
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