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Artist Sophie Kipner On the Unique Intimacy of Drawing Without Looking

The intention behind Sophie Kipner’s DONTLIFTUPDONTLOOKDOWN series is not to create caricatures of the subjects, but to instead capture their essence. Her pieces are an abstract reinterpretation of whomever she is looking at, whether it is a pop icon, a family member or animals. Since Kipner doesn’t lift the pen or look down at the paper during her initial sketch, she’s able to fully absorb and see her subjects for what they are instead of what they are supposed to be.

In such a busy world, it’s refreshing to be able to stop and really look at someone and in that moment, capture a distinct feeling without being caught up in their literal representation. Kipner is able to see something beyond facial features to tell a different story about her subjects. This method has proven much more evocative than conventional portraiture and is just one reason why her commissions are displayed in recording studios, homes and restaurants across the United Kingdom, Jamaica, India, Australia and the United States. To help us gain a deeper understanding of her work, Kipner took some time to chat with us about her process, what inspires her and how she came to work with actor Michael Cera.

JustLuxe: How did you start working as an artist?

Sophie Kipner: My dad had this character he’d always draw whenever he had the chance, like at those restaurants with the white paper-covered tables and a basket of crayons to color with while you waited for your food. I’d see him draw it and start figuring out my own, just to keep up and be a part of it. And then, it just stuck. It really did become my own. I remember taking a lot of art classes as a kid after school, specifically painting and drawing courses, which laid a healthy foundation for exploring other media as I got older.

Throughout the years, though, my art became more intermittent as I focused on writing. About six years ago though, I went on a first date…that consisted of drawing games. Specifically, drawing freeze frames of Saved by the Bell episodes. Something about it, maybe his reaction or my own, I’m not terribly sure, made it all fun again. It reignited the itch, the satisfaction in that immediate release you get when you create art, that purge of creativity, and I had a taste for it again. It’s like not thinking you’re hungry until you walk past a bakery, and then all of a sudden you’re starving. Shortly after, I had booked a solo show at PÄS Gallery + Studio during the Fullerton Art Walk and was participating in other group shows around the Los Angeles area.

Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

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