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Abstract Artist: K.D. Tobin

K.D. Tobin featured acrylic abstract artist on Princeton Artist Brush Co.

K.D. Tobin is a professional painter, sculptor, teacher, and writer.  He has been painting for over 35 years and is an abstract artist known for his abstract-figurative paintings and sculptures.

We interviewed him to discover his processes and inspirations behind his exquisite works of art.

What do you love about working with acrylics and mixed media?

“The immediacy of the medium and its ability to translate a series of thoughts into actual physical objects without a prolonged waiting period between layers. When viewing all of the available artistic processes are there any that are more versatile than acrylic for color, texture, depth, dimension and the ability to affix other mixed media elements into the work?”

Who are some artists that influence your work?

“For me, any serious discussion of influences would begin with Henri Matisse as I believe at my core, as Picasso once said; “All things considered, there is only Matisse.” However, to expand beyond that just a bit I would add Romare Bearden, Bruno Fonseca, Nathan Oliveira, and Richard Diebenkorn. Bearden for his All-encompassing collage work, Fonseca for his restrained minimalist abstractions, Oliveira’s dynamic abstract figurative work, and Diebenkorn’s masterful color palette. In fact, if I could have only one painting in my home, and money and availability were not limiting factors in this fantasy, I would, without a doubt choose Diebenkorn’s 1963 work, “Cityscape I.” As a point of reference, I can’t ever remember a time that I wasn’t completely captivated by this piece.”

What inspires you creatively?

“Music, travel and a hyper awareness of everything around me. I am in a constant state of observation and the filing of imagery within my head.”

What inspired the evolution of your art?

“The day I woke up and decided to be happy, which also happened to be the same day I realized that this life is not a dress rehearsal, there are no ‘do overs’.”

Can you describe your creative process?

“For me it is very simple, I spend the time I am sleeping, ruminating over a painting, either its subject matter or its palette and then I get up and lay down the preliminary notes in the morning. Break for other projects, writing and household matters and then return in the late afternoon and early evening to hammer out the finer details of the work.”

Gathering Storm by K.D. Tobin, Abstract Artist      Diety Head by K.D. Tobin, Abstract Artist      Down and Not Out in Palm Beach by K.D. Tobin, Abstract Artist

Which Princeton products do you use?

“All of the brushes are made to the highest standards, but when the Catalyst line of wedges, scrapers and polytip brushes came out it was, game, set and match.”

What do you love about your favorite Princeton product(s)?

“The Catalyst brushes simply have no peer for acrylic work. They are built to take anything that I can throw at them, they clean up very easily and just keep coming back for more. They truly are the Rolls Royce of acrylic paint brushes.”

Can you offer any tips or tricks for using these products?

“Anyone who is serious about painting doesn’t need any specific tips or tricks for the optimal utilization of the Catalyst line of brushes. It’s like sitting behind the wheel of a Porsche with the key in your left hand, give the key a twist and you’ll know what to do. The same holds true for the Catalyst line, put one in your hand, and you’ll instinctively know what to do with it.”

Red Car by K.D. Tobin, Abstract Artist

Can you describe a signature art or painting technique that you do?

My work from around 1994 to 2014 was primarily abstract figurative with elements from newspapers and periodicals infused into the work to add both texture and to serve as a time-coding element. The headlines and copy, while subtle, mark the period of creation and act as a witness to the end of the twentieth century and the tumultuous beginning of the new century. These paintings were largely done on the floor on un-stretched canvas as they can be rather large. In a nod to the abuse my knees have taken crawling around on concrete for twenty plus years I am moving to smaller sized work that explores a purer abstract language while still attempting to impart texture, history and meaning in the object itself, (the painting).

Tobin says of his work, “I find the act of painting akin to breathing, and while I continue to breathe I know I will always have a visceral response to the creative process and be at my happiest.”

K.D. Tobin’s art and workshop information can be found on his website:

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