Tag Archives: Residency Program

Meet the Artist in Residence: Kira Buckel

Kira Buckel is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts. She’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of November–December 2016 (you can stop by the gallery to see her studio and works in progress). We asked Kira a few questions about her artwork, life, and more:

Kira Buckel working in her studio at Main Street Arts

Kira Buckel working in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: To start this off, would you tell us about your background?

A: I grew up on the East End of Long Island and always enjoyed drawing as a child. I studied art in high school and through college. I graduated from Bard College with a BA in Studio Art this past May. As a recent graduate I’ve been working and living back home and looking for job opportunities in art.

Kira Buckel, "Infinite Kitchen" (detail), acrylic, gouache, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 22’ x 7’, 2016.

Kira Buckel, “Infinite Kitchen” (detail), acrylic, gouache, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 22’ x 7’, 2016.

Q: How would you describe your work? 

A: I usually work in a 2-D format, mostly painting and drawing, and occasionally printmaking. At college I explored sculpture as well, but settled back into painting for my senior thesis. Most recently I have been working with collaged paper that I paint or using found papers and incorporating them into paintings. I like to work representationally, usually of everyday reality, but mixed with the imagined in order to express a personal relationship to the subject of the painting.

Kira Buckel works on a new painting/collage

Kira Buckel works on a new painting/collage

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

A: I work from sketches and photos, but ultimately allow the materials I’m using to direct the process of painting. When working with collaged paper I sometimes peel off layers or use sandpaper to reveal what is underneath. I enjoy working this way because it is tactile and almost sculptural.

Kira creates her works by collaging painted paper

Kira creates her works by collaging painted paper

Kira Buckel, "On an Anxious Sea" (detail), acrylic, watercolor, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 12’ x 6’4”, 2016.

Kira Buckel, “On an Anxious Sea” (detail), acrylic, watercolor, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 12’ x 6’4”, 2016.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?

A: One of my favorite artists is Pierre Bonnard. I’m always inspired by how he transformed everyday scenes into otherworldly images through his paintings. His use of color is especially magical.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.

A: I want to make as many paintings as I can during my time here, using sketches and imagery from the past. I’d like to explore the Finger Lakes region and paint local scenes as well.

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Q: What’s next for you?

A: Next I’ll be attending a residency at the Vermont Studio Center for the month of February. After that, I’m applying for other residencies and opportunities, and continuing the search for jobs in NYC or the northeast in general. Eventually I’d like to attend graduate school.

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Q: Where else can we find you?

You can view my work at www.kirabuckel.com. I’ll also be on Instagram soon!


Are you an artist looking for new opportunities? Apply for a residency at Main Street Arts! Artists in residence will have 24-hour access to a large studio on our second floor (with great natural light), the option to show work in the gallery, and the opportunity to teach paid workshops. Housing is available. Submissions are reviewed and residencies awarded quarterly.

Meet the Artist in Residence: James Mikhel Emerson

James Mikhel Emerson is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts! He’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the month of August 2016 (you can stop by the gallery to see his studio and work in progress). We asked James a few questions about his artwork, life, and more:

Artist in residence James Mikhel Emerson

Artist in residence James Mikhel Emerson in his studio at Main Street Arts

Q: Where are you from?

A: I’m from a real small town called Candler, in the heartland. It’s actually an unincorporated borough, just like one that I passed real close to Clifton Springs.

"The Totem Can Project" by James Mikhel Emerson

“The Totem Can Project” by James Mikhel Emerson

Q: How long have you been making artwork?

A: I’ve been making art my whole life. Both of my parents were artist craftsmen, so I started very early in clay and paint. Later, I moved to New York City and studied traditional drawing, painting, and advanced mixed media at the Art Students League in Manhattan.

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Q: How would you describe your work? What is your preferred medium and your typical subject matter?

A: Primitive Surrealism is a term I like. I work with concepts and styles that extend across generations; things that humans can relate to regardless of time and place.

Somebody else just asked me what my preferred medium is, and I’ve been thinking about it. It’s sculpture when coupled with drawing and painting. I usually draw to absorb and explore different styles, and then sort of port that over into sculptures through a lot of different means.

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Q: Do you collect artwork?

A: I do, very occasionally. I have a couple of very cool prints, a coke bottle, some small stone objects, and a wooden piece of a new alphabet created by a great artist, Esteban Patiño. I also have a small collection of artwork that I found around NYC over the years, which was created by #FAF and #FreeArtsMovement artists. Some of it’s good stuff.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?

A: Good question. My favorite places are anywhere art doesn’t normally occur, so outside of galleries, museums, etc. I have participated in the #FAF as I mentioned before, and have left a bunch of small sculptures in public places for people to find and to hold, so I get a kick when I find other artists doing that as well.

A recent public sculpture by James in Riverside Park South in Manhattan

A recent public sculpture by James in Riverside Park South in Manhattan

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.

A: Right now I am working on a new series of paintings and sculptures which use old visual language to present contemporary life. I’m using a bunch of styles to create contemporary symbols and representational imagery with which to talk about the world we live in.

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Q: What advice would you give to other artists?

A: Seek the deeper function of art. Ask “What does art do for us humans, why do we keep creating it?” It is a question that is as old as us and is absolutely relevant today. See how far you can go to find your answer.

Q: What’s next for you? 

A: I think I’m gonna drive over to New York to the Wassaic Project. There are some folks over there that I’m hoping to see.

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Q: Where else can we find you?

A: You can see more of my artwork at www.jamesmikhel.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @JamesMikhel.


Sign up for a Social Media for Artists Workshop with James Mikhel Emerson! In this workshop, James will discuss different social media platforms and strategies for creating platform-specific content. Increase your reach and get your work in front of collectors, galleries, and more! Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 12-3pm. $25 per person. Call, email, or stop in to sign up today.

Are you an artist looking for new opportunities? Apply for a residency at Main Street Arts! Artists in residence will have 24-hour access to a large studio on our second floor (with great natural light), the option to show work in the gallery, and the opportunity to teach paid workshops. Submissions are reviewed and awarded on an ongoing basis.