Have you ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes in studios of local artists? On Saturday, August 8, Montgomery artist Karvarus Moore will broadcast live on the Museum’s Instagram—opening his studio space to share his artwork, reflect on his inspirations, and offer a live Q&A with his audience! This is a great chance to meet one of our local artists and learn about his creations.
Meet the Artist
The featured artist on our upcoming segment of Local Artists Live is Karvarus Moore, a Montgomery native whose work focuses primarily on portraiture. Karvarus began exploring creative outlets when he was around seven years old, after watching his late older brother Kordarrius Young draw animated characters from shows they would watch on television, such as Dragon Ball Z. Karvarus wanted to do what his big brother was doing, so he picked up drawing, and over time his interests grew into a desire to draw things from real life, always pushing himself to learn more and do better.
Karvarus continued artistic exploits through his studies first at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School then at Troy University, where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Studio with a concentration in 2D. After a college experience that encouraged exploratory art-making and helped Karvarus find true purpose in creating, he was excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Sara Ivey from Troy on the creation of a mural at the university’s International Arts Center. The project, a rendering of the Qin Shi Huang terracotta warrior statues, highlights Troy University’s internationality.
Last year Karvarus moved up north a little way to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he recently completed the Post-Baccalaureate program for painting and drawing, and will begin the Masters of Fine Arts program later this month. Be sure to tune in this Saturday, August 8, at 10 AM on the MMFA’s Instagram, when Karvarus will go live for a Q & A with the audience and share some of his artwork and inspirations.
What is your favorite thing about living in the South?
The food and the warmer weather. You know the food is good when you want to just laze around and sleep afterwards. As far as the weather, I hate being cold and luckily it doesn’t get freezing cold down here much.
What excites you most about the growth of Montgomery’s art scene?
The gradual exploration of abstracted and nonrepresentational means of visual expression. I used to think that being a great artist meant you had amazing technical skills, but sometimes it’s more than that, depending on what and how you’re trying to express something. The playful, experimental work I see from Montgomery is inspiring and a joy to see. I also love to see more socially driven artwork that sparks a conversation on the problems still embedded in America especially from a city so rich in Civil Rights history.
What is your favorite work of art from the MMFA’s collection, and what specifically about the artwork speaks strongly to you?
My favorite piece at the museum is Long Day, Late Night by American artist Dale Kennington. I love the ordinary moment on the subway she captured. Everyone in the piece seems to have their own world, bubble, and life.
What piece of art that you have created is your favorite and why?
I am torn between two. A Moment In My Life Time, pictured above, is an embodiment of who I am at this moment in time and everything leading up to now. My family, my values, my interests, my quirkiness—everything. It also shows my growth towards more playful and emotionally evoking applications of paint and use of materials to make a more interesting and compelling composition. I also really love Red Chair, pictured below, because of its sense of quirky mystery. Some elements are rendered and other elements are just the base structure, but together they create this sort of harmonious tension that goes on to form other areas of the painting. You aren’t really sure what you’re looking at. It invites you to look deeper and explore the context to figure it out.
Do you have an all-time favorite work of art, and have you seen it in person? If you have, how did you feel in the moment?
I love David Hockney’s painting American Collectors (Fred and Marcia Weisman) on view at the Art Institute of Chicago. I love every aspect of this painting. From the figures to the setting to the patterns, textures, and paint application. In the moment of viewing the painting, I feel standoffish.
Tell us about your most preferred place to be on earth. What role, if any, has the energy of that place helped shape you as an artist?
At the moment, I would love to be in Chicago. I’ve really grown as an artist there while attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My peers are all such incredible artists and I’m inspired and encouraged by them. I’m excited to go back for the MFA Program. I love going to the museum there, too. I always feel inspired and excited to get back in the studio after every visit.
What drives your creativity?
My Christian faith. God knows each and every one of us deeply, more than I could ever know someone. As humans, however, we all notice at least one compelling, unique characteristic or spirit about others that speaks volumes about who we are. As an artist, I want to express that essence through painting and drawing in an emotionally powerful and interesting way. I want to express that humanity through my love of art to bring glory to God.
What is your preferred medium?
Oil paint. There are a multitude of different ways it can be applied.
Do you listen to any particular music when you create?
I listen to rap for the most part and sometimes a jazz station when painting. My favorite artist to listen to is J. Cole.
What advice would you give to beginning artists?
Never doubt yourself or your work. You have something to say. Your work is an extension of you, so say it boldly and proudly! And never throw away undesirable work you made. You can always learn from what you experimented with.
Above: Karvarus Moore, Tyler, 2019, oil on canvas, 48 in x 36 in