Kimmy Cantrell

 

Striking ceramic faces, still lifes and nudes, are the creative foundation for College Park, Georgia artist and sculptor, Kimmy Cantrell. The bold colors and distorted figures beckon you to view the world through an unorthodox lens. Cantrell uses color and asymmetry to challenge traditional definitions of beauty.

 

Largely self-taught, Kimmy discovered his artistic vision in high school. His art teacher, Curtis Patterson, now at the Atlanta College of Art, admired his command of clay. Kimmy’s very first piece, a clay vase, landed on display at the Atlanta Board of Education Building. Still, he never considered making art his livelihood. Instead, he studied business administration at Georgia State University and spent 12 years in distribution management. In 1991, a recently divorced Kimmy left College Park to accept a job in rural South Georgia, and it was there, almost 20 years after high school that Cantrell decided that it was time to reconnect with the clay. He picked up some clay and sculpted a vase. The vases evolved into bowls, and bowls into faces, and he has been creating ever since.  

 

“I want to show the beauty within flaws,” Cantrell explains. “Imperfections tell stories that are far more compelling than perfection so I manipulate the shape and position of eyes to express a range of emotions.” The titles of Cantrell’s work pay tribute to his own life experiences. For instance, fragmented pieces of watermelon, flowers and fish, recount fond childhood memories of cooking, gardening and fishing with his grandmother.

 

It’s no wonder that Cantrell has been a very successful artist since 1994. He has won numerous awards and exhibited at many American galleries and major art events, including New York’s prestigious International Art Expo and the National Black Arts Festival. Cantrell has also been featured in national publications, including Art & Antiques Magazine, Images Magazine, and The Washington Post Magazine. Creative Loafing Art Critic Donald Locke has compared him to renowned artist Thornton Dial. Kimmy’s pieces are in private collections across the United States and abroad.

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