We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Marra and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kim, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
Last year I went down a real rabbit hole consuming a ton of work by Jonathan Ames. His book “The Extra Man” I found particularly moving. It focuses on an unlikely friendship between a struggling young teacher with a penchant for cross dressing, and an older, oddly posh former actor who end up roommates in New York City. Like most of Ames’s work, it’s quietly hilarious, extremely honest and self aware; He’s a master at exploring male relationships and gender roles and it’s a rare experience for me to be actually laughing and crying within the same few pages. I can’t say there’s a direct correlation to my artwork, but there’s certain writers, particularly ones whose writing feels effortless, that inspires me to create. 

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m an abstract painter; I focus on textures and architecture in my environment to create geometric compositions of texture and color. Lately I’ve been working on a series about the wild fires on the west coast; The air quality is devastating, forcing an already isolated population further indoors. This reality is at odds with how eerily beautiful a landscape these fires create. My new paintings are a meditation on this conflict, combining these unnatural immersive color palettes with the visual vocabulary of my body of work. Pursuing an art career is a constant challenge; I’ve gotten to where I am today by trying to find day jobs that are flexible enough for me to spend time in the studio, and not too draining so that I have energy to keep working. I’ve had many jobs, including waitressing, dog walking, textile design, project managing and more but I always try to be up front with my employers that my priorities are with my artwork. Sometimes that means sacrificing a raise or promotion to keep my schedule open, but for me that’s wort it. All I want the world to know about my story is that I’m a painter, I love creating, and I work very hard to keep doing it.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m going to have to go back in time here and pretend it’s 2019, but we probably all want to do that. I try to gear my recommendations to who’s visiting, but since I’m from New York and most of my visitors are too, I always like to show them a good hike in the mountains; most east coasters only consider the beach when they think of LA, so I like to show them the Angeles National Forest or if we have more time, a trek out to the San Bernardino Mountains. Hitting the museums and galleries is always a good Saturday afternoon; I love heading to the Norton Simon in Pasadena, or MOCA downtown. After that a brewery is always a good stop; some of my favorites are Highland Park Brewery or Modern Times. After that I always like to take guests to Koreatown; start with dinner at Dwit Gol Mok, everyone’s favorite Korean dive bar, and then head to Pharaoh Karaoke Lounge, my favorite neon drenched fever dream underneath a parking garage. Wow, I miss public spaces.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m really lucky to have a great support system in my friends, family and colleagues. I’m grateful to all of them, but I’m going to dedicate this shoutout to my partner, Paul; He’s been so enthusiastically supportive of me and my work, especially in quarantine. We’ve slowly been gathering supplies to have a functional wood shop in our yard so I can build canvas stretchers, and he’s a wealth of creative knowledge and experience to talk about art with and bounce ideas off of. I’m super lucky to be stuck in our house with him this year.

Website: kimmarra.com
Instagram: @kimmmarra
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kim-marra-93592319a/

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