Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline is as cool as the iced cappuccino he sips while pondering the impressive list of his recent achievements.
Graduate the University of Manitoba School of Art: check.
Gain acceptance into one of the most prestigious graduate schools in the art world, Columbia School of the Arts in Manhattan: check.
Exhibit in galleries in Winnipeg, Toronto and New York City: Check.
Sell paintings, truckloads of them, for as much as $3,000 a piece: check.
Kaktins-Gorsline may be cool about his success, but he's not indifferent. He admits to being a little ‘freaked out’ by all the recent attention given to him and his artwork, but it's also clear that he's embraced the zeitgeist - with typical modesty.
“It’s definitely a plus,” he says of the mounting positive reviews and the fire wagon sale of his paintings, “and you equate it with some form of success, but…”
And there it is. The but. It seems to be part of the vernacular of graduates from the School of Art; to constantly qualify personal success with a self-effacing footnote. Or maybe it’s a Manitoba thing to temper an abundance of talent with modesty.
Another shining example of talent and humility is Japanese wunderkind Takashi Iwasaki, also a recent School of Art grad.
Iwasaki, who draws, paints, embroiders and dabbles in web design – basically moving in whatever direction his creative whims take him – also gives a modest nod to his recent accomplishments, which include being named the regional winner of the BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition and having his work displayed at the competition’s exhibition in Toronto. (A point of fact that took the better part of an interview for Iwasaki to disclose.)
Iwasaki’s winning entry, Boomcity, even caught the eye of Globe and Mail art critic Gary Michael Dault, who was impressed by Iwasaki’s ‘exuberant’ painting.
“My main motivation for making art is to make people happy,” Iwasaki explains. “So much of the world is depressing and so many other artists’ work is dark and satirical. But I like positive and uplifting art. I like art that is playful.”
When not making art, Iwasaki bides his time working at Keepsakes Gallery and curating his own small gallery (Semai) in the Silpit Building in the Exchange District. Small samples of his work can be seen in the tunnel connecting University Centre and the Allen Building.
We managed to get the two artists together to ask them a few questions about their time at the University of Manitoba School of Art, the challenges of being a young artist, and the Winnipeg art scene.
Click here to read the full interview >>