When Klari Reis was growing up in Menlo Park, she knew she wanted to be an artist but remembers thinking, “I love art but how can I make a living at it?” And, while she started college as an art major at UC Santa Barbara, she switched to architectural design when she transfered to Davis.
“My focus was on architectural illustration,” she says. “But, doing that for a living meant sitting in front of a computer all day, although a highlight from that period of my life was getting to work on the new International terminal at SFO.”
Eventually she decided to follow her muse and went to grad school at the London Art School. “It was a one year intensive masters program, and I loved it there,” she says. “The school sponsored my visa so that I could spend another year as associate research fellow, lecturing a bit in addition to working in my studio and selling my work. It was fantastic – contemporary art is part of everyday life for people there.”
Today, Klari’s studio is in San Francisco, where she creates her artwork using epoxy polymer. “I’ve been using it for the last 10 years of so,” she says. “I discovered it when I was working in architecture. It’s a clear material with a honey-like texture that’s typically used for flooring. To add color, I use industrial pigments and dyes and paint with spoons. I don’t use brushes at all.”
Her composition features brightly colored smears, bumps, stains and blobs atop aluminum and wood planes. In her artist statement, Klari explains that she uses “the creative process on both painting and science as metaphors for one another: for curiosity and exploring and documenting the natural and unnatural world with a sense of wonder and hope.”
Represented internationally by the Cynthia Corbett Gallery, what Klari enjoys most is meeting her clients face-to-face and selling works out of her studio. “There’s not much in my life I’d want to change,” she says. “I know I’m going to be a painter for the rest of my life. I know I’ve found my dream career. What I’m doing is new and different but it’s been embraced. And, if something happened and my art work stopped selling, I’d still be a painter.”
Photos by Scott R. Kline
Photo of 150 Piece Petri Dish Installation (60″ diameter, mixed media on Petri dishes, t-nuts, and steel rods courtesy of Klari Reis