Brian Kyhos | Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts

Brian Kyhos

Studio Number: 


I think it was either one of the great jazz masters Miles Davis or Thelonius Monk that said he was “born in Chicago, bread and buttered in New York”.  Well, similarly you might say that I was “born in Maryland, bread and buttered in New Jersey, and toasted with cheese in Rochester, New York”. I studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. and graduated from there with my BFA.   At the time I was there they offered many areas of technical and fine arts study to their undergraduates including printmaking, crafts, photography and commercial printing and graphic design.  I have had experience in all of those areas.  After graduating, my professional career concentration became graphic design, aka “commercial art” and the fine arts.   For some years I had an illustration and design studio producing work for many corporate clients and advertising agencies.  After that career had run its course for me, I returned to the fine arts career path. I became interested in bronze sculpture and I found my way into the  apprenticeship program that was offered at the Johnson Atelier in New Jersey, a bronze foundry and sculptural fabrication facility that is well known for producing the monumental work of J. Seward Johnson and also for being  affiliated with the Grounds for Sculpture.  While there I learned the fundamentals of bronze casting, welding and finishing of fine art metal sculpture. I took time off to study and work in the southwestern United States, specifically, Santa Fe, New Mexico for an extended sojourn. During that time I created a series of drawings and studies for sculpture with imagery inspired by the great Southwestern deserts and the cultures that are indigenous to the region. For the past couple of years I have been doing volunteer work at the Arundel Lodge Behavioral Health Organization here in Annapolis as an artist-in-residence and I am currently on the Open Eye Gallery board there.

Artist Statement

Asked to describe my artistic worldview in one sentence, I can’t. I am an object-maker by instinct. My art is an expression of my playful attitude about life. I mean, aren’t we here to have fun?! Interactive storytelling through art, that’s one way of describing it. Intrigue, joy, passion, mystery, endless possibilities . . . all the elements of story woven into a piece of art, available to be augmented by the imagination of the viewer. My pastel drawings/paintings and color palette are intended to add to the “visual ambush”.  Think about the word pastels. It’s “past-tells,” isn’t it? What has come before? What is happening now? And what is to yet come? I like to lay out the tableau for the viewer of my art to become involved with, and then take further, to visualize their own scenarios. I want each piece to be the sight of surprise.  A way to go beyond the dust of everyday life into another dimension. I try to let the person viewing my work enjoy the bucket of artistic cold water I offer to pour over them  and enjoy the experience when they become involved in my work.  Adults, like children, still want toys. I hope my art can serve up that same kind of enjoyment. Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Of course, it is also said said of Picasso that an idea was never safe with him in the room. I say, “so what?” It’s not where you take an idea from but where you take it to.

I love materials. I am very materialistic.  A new material, like a new tool can be inspirational, can lead to a whole new body of work and experimentation. I was surprised and delighted to see some of the jewelry work done by Salvador Dali at the wonderful  Dali museum when I was in Figueres, Spain. He had always described himself as a theatrical backdrop painter. Similarly, in my own work my pastel drawings can and do inspire my sculpture. But the foundation of most of my work is mined from my sketchbooks which I work on all the time. That is the place where the imagery and inspiration becomes first manifest. When I give drawing classes I always explain that there are at least two kinds of drawing:  analytical, such as figure studies, still life studies and diagrammatic drawings . . . and then there is what I call “drawing from within”, letting the imagination bleed onto the page or canvas right from the imagination following the neural pathway down the arm and digits of the hand out through the drawing tool and at last free to manifest itself on the page. Now look what you’ve done!! What will happen next?