In the arts, each individual creator channels their passion and illustrates what art means to them into their finished work. To artist Kim Ensch, art is a form of communication and expression.
“It’s a form of communicating that binds souls, opens minds, unites and impacts with its voice in a way no other form of communication can,” the 59-year-old artist from Van Buren said. “For me, it levels the playing field.”
This year marks Ensch’s fifth year of participating in ArtPrize. In years past, she’s entered different types of work, all consisting of a collage of some sort. This year, she constructed a collage using 2D layered paper and fiber collage, and followed a tedious process to create the final product.
“Starting with archival quality paper such as watercolor, rice, and mulberry, and fibers like cotton, linen, wool, and silk, I hand stain or paint the materials,” she said. “When it’s dry, I tear or cut the paper/fiber and glue onto a substrate layer after layer until an image emerges.”
From this project, “Neck Of The Woods” emerged. Ensch said this particular piece is a symbol of its title and represents a region or a neighborhood.
“I use symbolism to share thoughts about community, the place that you live and how you have a part in making it what it is,” Ensch said. “For example, the trees (are) growing straight up, seeking something greater, and the roots are the foundation, (symbolizing) ancestry that supports and nourishes. The fallen tree is positive in creating a new pathway instead of a reminder of the devastating loss. See how the fallen tree crosses over the water, as a symbol for renew or bringing life.”
Ensch said the inspiration behind this piece of art was her ArtPrize entry from last year, where she made a sculpture. When she was finished creating it, a hole was formed at the top and instead of covering it up, she left it open, as an invitation for viewers to place an item, such as scrap paper, for the artist to use in making her entry for this year. Anyone who gave her materials and contacted her recieved a thank you card Ensch created herself.
The artist added that the reason why she enters ArtPrize every year is for the “enmeshment, (which is) to be absorbed into all that’s created whether by artists or by those experiencing the community of artists.”
“Where can I show my art to thousands of people who have an interest in art, participate for such a low cost and increasing the chances for a possible sale?” Ensch said.
Ensch draws her artistic inspiration not from one, but from many artists, and working in a museum helped her discover that.
“I finally understood that no one artist inspires me, but bits and pieces from each one feeds my creative spirit,” she said.
She added that in addition to liking a variety of artists, she also enjoys using a wide variety of different mediums to create her work.
“It is not so much the medium I like to work with, but the process itself,” Ensch said. “For example, this week I worked with students in oil paint, acrylic paint, and charcoal drawing, and I took an encaustic monotype workshop.”
Ensch concluded by saying that art has given her a way to express her thoughts, and doing so has given her a voice in the world.
“I cannot so passionately use words like Maya Angelou, nor dance like Martha Graham,” Ensch said. “But I can make marks that express my voice and my movement just as beautifully and just as meaningful through my art.”