Wednesday, December 16, 2009

OK Artists Inspiration & Challenges: Kolbe Roper

Kolbe Roper’s artwork is centered on the artist’s age old desire to capture the meaning in daily life. It was this desire, or need to create art, that led him to a profession in art despite his family’s urging to study anatomy and trigonometry. When describing the main ideas behind his art, Roper said, “Overall my work is about my life and what happens and where I am. I live in Oklahoma and I am dealing with family issues: divorce, arrest, life with a hard dad and loving mom, drugs, alcohol, and just day-to-day living. My work is about me, but I want others to find their own stories.” He added that a recurrent theme in his work is societal boundaries and gender roles. “I love the idea of gender roles and boundaries. Here I am a gay guy doing weaving and learning to knit and I am so happy about that. As a gay guy, I find it funny to play with gender roles. Gay man takes up woman’s roles. It makes me smile.”

Unlike many of the other artists interviewed for this blog who focused on the Oklahoma landscape, Roper said, “I get inspired from what Oklahoma is and how if affects people. Also, how people understand and process Oklahoma.” Roper’s answer to my question, “What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being an artist in Oklahoma?” was, however, not surprising. Like many other Oklahoma based artists, Roper finds that the Oklahoma public is not as supportive or interested in local art as he would like. He contended, “Oklahoma is a great place to get to know yourself and although we have many galleries and art spaces, we do not have a strong back bone in buyers and patrons.”

Part 4 of 5 By Katie Seefeldt, OVAC intern

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