I had a chance to sit down with local artist Jill S. Krutick in her home/studio in Scarsdale yesterday. I was truly amazed by her talent. I took note of the evolution of her work. I had dabbled in painting myself a number of years ago, so it was interesting to see how she took a hobby and turned it into a wonderful fulltime career.
HamletHub: What initially sparked your interest in art?
Jill Krutick: I was always drawn to color and texture and loved the masters like Monet and Van Gogh. I took painting lessons as a child and my Mother painted.
HH: How exactly does an investment analyst and media executive transition into a career as an artist?
JK: Painting was always something I came back to whenever I had time. I painted during my maternity leaves and whenever I had a respite from work. During my tenure at Warner Music, I started painting in the evenings and devoted increasingly more time to art. It was both therapeutic and extremely satisfying. I never realized how much one could express through painting. The more I painted, the more I wanted to paint. Developing a business became a fun experiment that grew over time with the art. Eventually, I began renting and selling paintings across the country to both corporate and private clients, hosting solo and group shows in corporate spaces in New York City, Westchester and Long Island, hosting Open Studio and charitable events in my home and even broke into the gallery world in Philadelphia and soon to be Bronxville, NY. -- all in just the past few years!
I also began working with an extremely talented antique European and Oriental rug dealer, Zia Zaman. We are exploring turning some of my abstract paintings into fine modern rugs for sale. In addition, Zia just moved store locations from East Norwich, Long Island to 21 The Plaza in Locust Valley. The store move gave me an opportunity to open a pop-up gallery at the East Norwich location with a solo exhibition through the end of July. Over 40 oil on canvas works are on view together with some modern rugs and antiques, creating an exciting home décor environment. We call the store, the At-Home Gallery. An opening reception will be held Sunday, June 1st from 1-4pm at 6303 Northern Blvd, East Norwich.
HH: You have a BS in economics and a MBA in management. Do you have any formal education in the art world?
JK: Not really formal...mostly informal and self taught. Over the past several years, I have taken painting classes at the Art Students League and studied with Mariano Del Rosario and Ronnie Landfield. In addition, I have also taken art classes at the Westchester County Center with David Fox. I plan to continue my art education at these and other institutions, develop my photography skills to best capture my art work and fill in my art history knowledge over time. Art is a field that you can constantly learn and grow in.
HH: What drew you to the abstract form of art over contemporary landscapes, portraits, etc.?
JK: I enjoy the free form expressionism of abstract, whether it is applied to a landscape or geometric shapes. An exploration of my works should reveal as much about a viewer's emotional state as it does mine. The oil painting may be abstract or it may be representational, but what makes the painting come to life is the interplay of light, colors, textures, shapes and spaces.
HH: How long did you paint before you decided that you wanted to take it seriously and create things people would pay to have in their home or office?
JK: Within the past five years -- as soon as I started painting everyday -- I quickly transitioned to gifting paintings and then selling them. Today, I work with decorators to find home solutions for their clients. I also work with artist representatives and corporate designers who have individual and corporate clients with specific decorating needs. Sharing and selling my art is extremely satisfying as it gives me the freedom to continue to develop my craft.
HH: How did it feel when you sold your first painting?
JK: Awesome! It was very exciting to have someone take the leap and purchase a work of art from me. To know that my painting graces someone's home is a powerful feeling...and it is this feeling that has given me the confidence to continue to develop artistically and strive to expand my business.
HH: Where do you draw your inspiration from and how long does a typical painting take?
JK: I draw my inspiration from everything around me. I collect colors wherever I go. Typically, I'll approach a painting with a short list of colors in mind and a particular strategy towards developing an idea. Inevitably, the color list changes, as does the outcome of the painting. It is rare that I execute on a painting with the colors and texture that were originally contemplated. Each painting is a journey. Some take weeks, others months. Layering the paint gives me the freedom to change the texture and mood of a painting until it is "balanced" and "complete." Completion of a painting of course is subjective. However, I do find there is a tipping point when working on a painting -- that is, the point when additional work begins to detract from the end result...at which point I know the painting is done!
HH: Do you have any favorites that you hold onto for yourself and don't want to sell?
JK: I used to have favorites...but increasingly I'm finding that the more I develop as a painter, the more I can apply effective techniques from one work to the next. Having said that, I still hold onto the 4 foot by 5 foot oil painting copy of Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night, which I painted in 1995 when I was pregnant with my daughter. In addition, I hold onto the painting called "Jean's Challenge." This 5 foot by 7 foot painting my decorator challenged me to make (after he stretched the canvas for me), to match my bedroom. This was an amazing accomplishment that Jean approved.
HH: You have received some high praise from the art world over the last few years, how has that felt to enter a completely different world and be accepted and honored in a short period of time?
JK: It gives me great joy to have people enjoy my art. Having the opportunity to pursue my true passion is very special and I thank my lucky stars! The artist world I find very welcoming. While it can be difficult to break into galleries, the key is developing your craft and participating in as many shows or opportunities you can find. Being connected to an art school can facilitate many opportunities. For example, through the Art Students League in Manhattan, I have participated in many shows. The shows have taken place in beautiful NYC corporate spaces, the Manhattan Borough President's Office, at the Art Students League and other venues.
HH: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
JK: Follow your passion. Find masters that you love, study their work, take art classes so you can be surrounded by creativity and enjoy! The key to developing your art is engaging in it as often as you can. Be open to new ideas. Explore Artsicle. This fairly new emerging artist website is excellent for broadening your creative community in a very productive way. I started with them a few years ago. They offer rentals of art with the option to purchase, among many other services. Today, I collect a monthly stipend from them based on rentals of my work that are still in the marketplace. This helps defray the cost of materials, a significant expense for oil painting.
HH: Where can people go to see and/or purchase your work?
JK: My new pop-up Gallery in East Norwich, Long Island (6306 Northern Blvd) has many of my latest works on display. My website has all my work displayed by size and category of painting -- be it landscape or pure abstraction, for example. My larger works generally range from $1,000-$7,000 and the smaller ones are typically less. If someone would like to purchase a piece, they can contact me directly. I also host tours of my studio and home gallery. I am happy to set up appointments for this. My contact info is also on my website: www.jskartstudio.com
Check out the photos from my new pop-up gallery: