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Breathing in Art

The hall leading to the English Department was full of glowing, illuminating colors from the many paintings lined up next to one another. Many people wandered around looking closely at the paintings--like they were peering through windows.

On February 7th, PCCC was visited for the third time by artist, Kimberly Camp. Camp made her appearance, chatting with staff and students, telling stories and answering questions about specific paintings in her art gallery, located between the PCCC cafeteria and the English department.

Many students and staff, lined up to talk with the artist about her work. Some came up to compliment her work, while others asked questions about the symbolism and characters presented in her paintings.

Prof. Howson brought her Art Appreciation class to view the gallery of paintings that were displayed. Many of her students spread out towards different paintings, taking notes and pictures of Camp’s work. Others stayed close to the artist, listening to her stories behind specific paintings.

The painting that are displayed are all realism portraits, and Camp’s medium in these paintings are acrylic paints, largely Daniel Smith acrylic paints which she favors.“I fell in love with Daniel Smith acrylic paint years ago...I love it--I have a love affair going on with this paint. Problem is, they stopped making it and it’s causing me trauma. Their pigments--their colors were so amazing, that I even have professional conservators look at my work and can’t tell the difference between acrylics and oil,” said Camp.

From all her paintings, Camp felt connected to one particular portrait called Nana Wisdom. “Nana Wisdom is one--she’s really special to me...and she’s made up. I think she’s one of my spiritual guides, I painted that in one sitting. That is extremely rare. I sat down and started sketching her, and painted her and painted her, and I realize I haven’t eaten and I went down stairs and gotten something to eat and then I came up and I was looking at that--I swear she finished herself,” exclaimed Camp.

One of the paintings change colors if you walk past it slowly. Which one, you may ask? This painting captured a woman in a light yellow dress with a smile that stretched to one ear to another, playfully swinging on the swings, on what seemed to be a bright summer's day. Surrounding her are the different shades of green leaves from the trees; with every stride past the painting, the leaves will morph to a coppery orange, that whispers of what’s to come...which is autumn.

Camp has been in the art field for 51 years.;She has been an artist; she has also run museums and galleries and taught students. Her love of art has been passed down to her from her family, who are all are well accomplished artists.

“All of my family are artists; all my uncles and aunts were all artists. My Uncle Iroh was a jewelry designer. Aunt Sylvia was (a) plane air painter, which means she painted outside realistically--she spend a lot of her time in she painted in the style of Matisse and Cezanne. Next was my dad, he was a dental surgeon, also combining medicine and art together--so there’s a lot of that was going on...His twin brother was a ceramic artist and an interior designer. The next brother was a wood sculpture and the next one was a concert pianist, who played at club harlem at Atlantic City for 20 years and went to medical school when he was forty...then the youngest of the family Uncle Donald was a photographer,” said Camp.

“A lot of artist(s) talk about their work in ways that are romantic because they think it’s what collectors want to hear, I think it does a disservice; I paint because that’s like breathing to me. That’s the form of expression; that’s how I work through (stuff), That how I have conversations with myself about things that I’m thinking of--things that I’m dreaming about, things that I’m going through--it’s about that conversation,” explained Camp.

Camp also mentioned that a lot of art schools and programs don’t focus on studio practice for the artist, because studio practice teaches students how to be productive. “...As a result they come out of school they don't have the discipline to be able to continue their careers based on their work, they approach their work like they’re guys playing basketball at a court in the neighborhood...just wait for greatness--that doesn’t happen!,” informed Camp.

Camp received her Bachelor's in art history and studio arts from the University of Pittsburgh.This is Camp’s third time in showing her art on PCCC campus. Her first time was in 1979 and her second time showing was in 1989 and hoped to see her again in the future to show more of her beautiful work.

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