A true collaborator and advocate for the arts, Kim Bishop, grew up in Austin, Texas. She received a BA and Teaching Certificates at Southwest Texas State University, and an MA at Texas State University. Bishop is currently an MFA student at the University of Texas at San Antonio. In 2012, Bishop joined forces with Luis Valderas and Paul Karam to open the 3rd Space Art Gallery in San Antonio.
In her artistic practice, she portrays “semi-autobiographical stories [that] examine themes of displacement and survival mechanisms.” She continues, “By using complex process-oriented techniques, the act of visually constructing my stories is just as important as the stories themselves, making my work move freely between private performances and public installation.”
Who is someone who always encouraged you to pursue your art?
My Mom and the community that I grew up with. I grew up in a community of activists in the 60’s and 70’s. We made arts and crafts and would sell them on the streets to fund events. Also, my Grandmother who would take me to museums and give me art supplies for holidays and my birthday. She would always point out the woman artists in the museums and tell me that I could do that too.
Then there were also these two young men that I met when I was a kid. One of them, Barry, lived around the corner from me. He was studying to be an art educator. He would try out art lessons with me. The other, Johnny, lived with us for a while. He was like an older brother to me. He got me my first show. It was of small little design drawings that I did when I was nine. He got his friend to hang them up in her book store. That along with a plate of cookies—BAM—my first exhibition!
What would one be surprised to find in your studio?
I think my studio, in general, surprises people because they don’t expect that I live in my studio literally. I think people look at me and think I’m very traditional. I live in a house with my husband, who is also an artist. Our living room is where we store and show our work. We don’t have much furniture. Then we have a kitchen and a bedroom. We knocked out some walls to create a large open space with the rest of the house, and it is all devoted to making.
Also, the fact that I got rid of my T.V. in 2005. That surprises people too.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Besides my family, of course, I suppose Judy Chicago, the Guerilla Girls. The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist has been beside my desk since 1988, which was also my first year of teaching.
Also, I grew up in the neighborhood with the Elisabet Ney Museum. Ney was a female sculptor in the 19th century. She built her house to be a living area on the top floor and a sculpture studio on the bottom floor. Growing up, seeing that made me think that that was a normal thing and that I could do that too.
Who is one of your favorite living artists at the moment?
Veja Celmins work is stunning. I appreciate that she can find so much interest in an everyday object that the rest of us wouldn’t even consider. Plus, I am grateful to her for making reproduction and realism legitimate.
Do you remember what your first art sale was?
Of course! My bookstore exhibition sold out! Fifty cents each, I think I made about $5.00. That was a lot of foosball!
When my children were small, I would paint murals in private homes over the summer for extra money when I wasn’t teaching. My first big commission was painting the ceiling of this huge bathroom. The shower was like a car wash with jets coming out everywhere, and the rest of the room was the size of my bedroom. My neck sure did hurt after a while :). It was the first time in a long time that I really thought that maybe I could make a living just making art and not depending on teaching.
What are your top 5 favorite art museums to revisit?
The Blanton, the Elisabet Ney, the Menil, and the McNay because I grew up in those museums. Their permanent collections feel like my friends. Besides them, then, of course, the MOMA, the Tate Modern, Pompidou (the escalators are amazing), Musee d’ Orsay, and the Uffizi blew my mind!! But I will never forget my pilgrimage to A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn just to be able to say I stepped foot there was a trip.
Who are some of the artists we should keep an eye out for 2020?
I am so blown away by ALL of the artists in the NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program exhibition like Hayfer Brea, Anastassia Rabajille, Ernesto Ibañez, Jose Balli, oh they were all wonderful. Plus, all of the artists in the UTSA MFA cohort like Jennifer Seo and Gabi Magaly who have their thesis exhibitions coming up soon. There is so much talent and thoughtfulness happening now. But I guess the three local artists that are capturing my attention at the moment are Juan Escobedo and Lauri Garcia Jones in San Antonio and Yareth Fernandez Gonzalez in Austin.