MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS
Artist and Musician Kim Kennedy
If you’ve ever driven past 12th and Porter at 114 12th Avenue North, you’ve seen Kim Kennedy’s work. In 2014, 12th and Porter chose the local artist to paint the venue’s mural, which became a larger than life image of local musician, Dave Baker (Kellie Pickler’s guitarist) playing a Gibson Dobro. Kennedy, an Ohio native, moved to Nashville from Milwaukee in 2013 and hit the ground running not only as a visual artist, but as a musician as well, having recorded two albums since hitting town. I caught up with Kim recently to talk about her work and what lies ahead for 2017.
Before the 12th and Porter mural, had you done other mural projects?
Actually, no, the 12th and Porter project was my first mural, so there was a bit of a learning curve. In translating my original small scale piece to the entire side of a building using just a projector and my eyes, I had to think differently about lighting, making small details pop, and doing art publicly. So many people walking by would stop to chat about what I was up to--not quite as private as painting in my room!
Have you done other large scale projects since?
Yes, since the 12th and Porter project, a number of other opportunities have opened up, including one in Hamburger Square in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, which I finished up in the late spring of 2016. I also have a couple new mural propositions in the works in Nashville. One of the most satisfying things about doing murals is that they become bigger than what covers the wall; the murals belong to the communities that host them and to be part of that kind of local giving feels really great.
Besides murals and small pieces on more traditional canvases, you also do body painting. Tell me about that.
Yeah, so, body painting is an interesting thing. First off, it’s not easy to paint a body. Skin is squishy and certainly not without imperfections, so navigating curves on a pliable surface can be a challenge. Second, body painting can involve nudity which not everyone is totally comfortable with, but I’ve found that body painting is a powerful way for people to celebrate their bodies while expressing themselves. For instance, my personal body painting has involved portraits of musicians that I highly admire, like Prince, David Bowie, and the Beatles.
In addition to being a talented visual artist, you are a monster musician. What role has music played in your world?
I’ve been writing music for thirteen years. I love classic rock--Zeppelin, David Bowie, the Beatles, of course--and so many of the ‘90s and 2000s female artists who were making waves then--Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette. Lately I’ve also been getting more into jazz and blues and some of the classic crooners like Frank Sinatra. I write a lot in the pop vein, but I try to soak up everything I can get my ears on. If you’d like to check out some of my music, you can check out my reverbnation page and I have a full album available on itunes too.
What are you up to now?
Currently I’m working on the mural proposals I mentioned but I also have a couple events coming up: Skully’s Saloon on February 9th (9pm) and an art show on February 11th (7-10pm) at MAIN in East Nashville where I’ll also be performing. The latter is part of the East Side Art Stumble and will help fight human trafficking in Tennessee, so we’d love to see people come out for that.
Thanks to Kim Kennedy for indulging me! Check her out @allyouneediskim on Instagram and see her live in Nashville soon:
February 9, 9pm
333 Swinging Bridge Rd, Old Hickory, Tennessee 37138
February 11, 7-10pm
709B Main St. with alley access.