The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Kathleen Boettcher

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature artist Kathleen Boettcher.  

When did you first get started in the arts? 

I loved drawing from early childhood. I distinguished myself, the middle child of five, by my artwork. Art gave me a skill I could own, and it gave me a lot of satisfaction.

Did you receive formal training in art?

As a clueless freshman at WSU I was unsure about a major. I was fulfilling liberal arts requirements with a view to becoming a teacher, but I envied the fine arts students I would see on campus carrying their portfolios. I feared that majoring in fine arts might lead to a meager living. My solution, with encouragement from family, was to major in art education. Becoming an art teacher allowed me to be an artist and to earn and raise a family at the same time. It turned out to be the right choice for me.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?   

When I moved into Farmington Hills, I joined Art On The Ridge, a life drawing group at Oakland Community College.  I now belong to Farmington Art Foundation, Visual Arts Association of Livonia, Detroit Society of Women Painters and Sculptors, and the Mary Step Studio.

I would suggest to young artists that they get it out, put down what they want freely and be unafraid of judgment.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

As a result of a one woman show in Ann Arbor, I sold a piece, People of the Stone, to Dr. Diane Kirkpatrick, Professor Emerita at the University of Michigan. The mixed media painting, People of the Stone, was a culmination of an art trip with the Glasgow School of art and encompassed the history, mythology, ancient architecture, art and much more, of Scotland. Dr. Kirkpatrick developed a lecture and presentation created around my piece using People of the Stone and her knowledge and memories of life in Scotland. I was honored to be recognized by Dr. Kirkpatrick and the University Commons members. It was painful to part with my painting but an honor to have it go to such a prestigious patron.

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

I believe Picasso said he had spent his life trying to paint like a child. When I taught my elementary level students much of what they created was so free and unexpected that I envied their lack of self consciousness. I would suggest to young artists that they get it out, put down what they want freely and be unafraid of judgment. This seems to become more difficult as we grow older.

(Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to info@kickstartfarmington.org.)

The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Marat Paransky

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature artist Marat Paransky.

When did you first get started in the arts?

I began drawing when I was three or four years old, and I have never stopped.

Did you receive formal training in art? If so, where and what did you enjoy about the experience?

I have a BFA in Drawing & Printmaking from Wayne State University, and a MFA degree in visual arts from Lesley University College of Art & Design. I enjoyed the comradery in grad school, as well as learning how to talk about my art without sounding lost.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

Susan Goethel Campbell, Michael E. Smith, Petrova Giberson and Michael Rakowitz. Also, my advisors in the MFA program: Hannah Barrett and Oliver Wasow.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?

Whitdel Arts.

A good art program is often a sign that other spheres of the community are healthy.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

My two kids—it is a collaboration.

Has your art appeared in any city programs or events, such as the Public Art Program at City Hall or Art on the Grand?

Yes, the Public Art Program and the Rotating Exhibits at City Hall (“Remix Eternal,” August/September 2018).

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

How about my favorite art joke?

A lady got her purse snatched in the street. When the police officer arrived, he began asking witnesses what the thief looked like. Picasso happened to be walking by when it happened, and he offered to make a sketch of the person, explaining that he is a famous artist. On the next day, the police arrested a bus and two washing machines.

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

Be prepared for the rejection pile to grow tall. Don’t take it to heart.

It’s all about who you know. Just about every good show came to me through friends or going to events and talking directly with people.

What do you think is missing from the arts community in Farmington/Hills?

A few more venues within walking distance from each other.  One gallery downtown is an outpost, no matter how good it is. Perhaps, a film festival to coincide with visual art events?

Why is celebrating and promoting art healthy for a local community?

Life can go on without art, but it will be a poor one, intellectually. The arts can inspire and provoke like few other things. A good art program is often a sign that other spheres of the community are healthy.

Learn more about Marat and his work here.

(Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to info@kickstartfarmington.org.)

Join us for the Classical Lunch Series

KickstART Farmington & Thistle Rose Academy of Arts invite you to bring your lunch and a colleague and join us for our free Classical Lunch series in December and January at the KickstART Gallery & Shop at 33304 Grand River Ave.