A Traverse City native since she was 10 years old, Krumrey still considers the area home. She attended Western Michigan University with a stint at Northwestern Michigan College her sophomore year with classes in graphic design. Back at Western in her junior year, she realized commercial art wasnt for her.
I dont really like to compromise when it comes to my artwork, Krumrey says with a laugh. Her focus shifted to ceramics, and in 1993 she completed her Bachelor of Science with an emphasis in art, and settled in Petoskey, unsure of what to do with her life.
They really dont prepare you for what to do after you get out of school, she admits. There was definitely an attitude there, where art shows were not the way to go. It was more oriented toward galleries. But they really didnt teach you how to put together a portfolio, how to approach galleries, or what to do once you got out of school, to actually try to make a living the reality of having to make something that people are going to buy.
AN ART JUMP-START
After several years in Petoskey, Krumrey met local potter and sculptor, David Austin.
I liked his work; I liked his sculptural work and kind of got to know him a little bit, and he was looking for an apprentice. I started apprenticing for him just a couple days a week for about a year, and at that point set up my own studio and started applying to art fairs.
Now, Krumreys brightly patterned and colored pieces are shown in seven galleries around the state, as well as at various art fairs during the summer. She manages to get in her studio nearly every day during the summer and twice a week throughout the winter.
Theres a lot of other things that I like to do. I used to love to draw and Ive done some painting I just started incorporating some drawings into my ceramic pieces to kind of get back to that. Part of the problem when youre trying to make a living off of something is that you kind of focus on that one thing that one medium and it doesnt leave a lot of time for the other things that you enjoy, she says.
ISOLATED ARTIST? NO WAY
When not creating in her studio, Krumrey can be found working at Petoskeys only co-op, The Grain Train.
I tried [supporting myself with art sales] for a couple of years and the financial stress was just way too much for me. Not having a steady paycheck, not knowing if you get rained out at an art fair.
She relishes the social aspects of the job, as well:
I found that I really missed the social interaction of having a job, the energy that I get from being around other people that I dont get at home. Its very isolating (being alone in the studio), and I used to think that that would be the greatest thing.
Krumreys interest in ceramics didnt begin until college, but she was being creative in other ways, long before that.
I didnt really do much with art as far as schooling until I got into college, but my family is very artistic, she says. I have an uncle who makes a living as a wildlife painter and my other uncle, he used to do a lot of painting on cars, and my grandfather was a very talented man. If you go up to Manistique, his murals are everywhere churches and restaurants and peoples homes. Their house is like a little museum -- every inch of it is his craftsmanship.
With a creative style thats accessible, Krumrey is continuously evolving her technique. For the most part its just kind of fun, she admits. The biggest comment I get from people is it just makes them happy to look at it. Its not making a statement, there are no political issues Im working through in my art or personal issues.
Her newest pieces are ceramic wall pieces that include her own drawings a more serious side of her personality which help fulfill a different creative need.
I dont want to do the serious stuff all the time its exhausting but I dont want to just do the fun, playful stuff all the time, either. There are a lot of different styles that I want to explore . Im constantly changing and trying to do new things, which can be a really dangerous thing to do when youre trying to make a living, she admits.
Shes recently begun making scarves and will add them to her local offerings. I used to do a ton of sewing but never really thought of it as an art form -- as something to make a living off of, Krumrey admits. Id like to expand on that into skirts and purses and just kind of play with that and see where it goes. I just like creating things it doesnt really matter what Im working with.
Even if I never made a dime off of (my art) I would always be out there doing it. I just so enjoy that creative process. My mind is just always working like that I cant shut that off its just always in there, designing things.
Kim Krumreys work can be found locally at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, Tvedten Fine Art in Harbor Springs, Gallery on Main in Bay Harbor, Viola Gallery in Elk Rapids and Michigan Artists Gallery in Suttons Bay. To contact her please call 231-347-8958 or e-mail, email@example.com.