Material Artstincts with Caroline Geys
Caroline Geys is a multimedia artist, with an eye for design, architecture and textiles. Her colorful works of art bring light into any room, while their strict lines demand your attention.
The combination of hard, bright, strong, emptiness and softness bring you into a world that begs you to know more. Upon looking deeper into the world of Caroline, we were drawn in by her rich art heritage, which in no small part resulted from her father (an art collector and her first personal knowledge of art).
Her Kandinsky-like works and color theorist sensibilities come to life as she weaves her story between being a businesswoman, fiancee, artist, and American immigrant. We were welcomed into her downtown LA home studio where her cat Frida joined us in hearing all about the wonderful world of her swirling colorful works. Caroline’s work consists of paintings, drawings, installations, murals and graphic design.
What is your background?
“I was born in Belgium, but grew up in the states when I was three.”
Caroline’s parents moved to the United States for her dad’s job when she was a child. She travels yearly back to Belgium and her European roots have deeply impacted her perspective on art. Her father is an avid art collector, which has contributed her art IQ. She speaks of many artists that have influenced her from Picasso, Helen Frankenthaler (color field painter from the 1950's), Julie Mehretu, Georgia O'Keefe and Kandinsky.
DAUGHTER OF AN ART COLLECTOR
What kind of art does your dad collect?
“All kinds of modern art and actually when he first started collecting he had a gallery. It was of 18th-19th century Flemish paintings. Then we moved over to the United States and we had a house fire and lost everything. After a few years being in the states and being exposed to the modern art, he started collecting Murano glass and modern art.”
You speak a lot about your childhood and specifically growing up in a family where art was a big part, how has this affected your works?
“‘Kinderenscape’ means a ‘child’ state or likeness.’ A lot of my work is based off of being a child and not wanting to lose that innocence.”
Caroline showed us her works made as a child and into her teen years. It is clear to see the consistent storyline of color in her works throughout her life. Her portfolio was full of artworks that tell stories of different seasons in her life. Still-lives, portraits, and her first artistic signature. Her works held a strong design point of view even from a young age.
A DIFFERENT JOURNEY TO BEING AN ARTIST
Were you always an artsy kid?
“Yes, it was always a part of me, but I think that I have been self conscious not going to art school. When I lived in Miami I had a lot of friends going to New World School of Arts, and the galleries had only been taking art students.”
Caroline’s art education came mainly from her father, an avid art collector. At a young age she was fascinated by art and her ability to create joy through her works. Her family relocated to the United States for her father’s job as a land developer. As a result she was able to stay here on a student visa. Her father encouraged her to receive a business degree, because of the lack of jobs as an artist. She studied Marketing and Real Estate, but her passion always lied in art.
She has lived in Florida, New York and Los Angeles in the states. Los Angeles is now home to both her and her fiancé. Her passion for art can be seen even in her care and attention to the details in her apartment. Her style is reflective in her decorations, clothes and bad ass attitude.
In between glasses of wine we dug deeper into the finer points of her art.
COLOR VS. FORM
“I would say my strongest point is color. Color and line work is my art.”
Caroline’s works have striking colors, as she explained one of her favorite works “The Color Wheel” by Robert Swain. In Swain’s works the color is the storyteller and composition of his works. Caroline spoke about her desire to have her works be fun, light hearted, feel good and not taken too seriously. Her color adds spontaneity to the composition so the highly organized structure welcomes another dimension.
“My biggest female inspiration is Julie Mehretu, and she had an exhibition at the Guggenheim. I remember it was the first exhibition that I cried at. All of her work is based off of a blueprint of a city”
Caroline speaks of architecture like it is the brush strokes of her artwork. It is the lens through which she sees the world. With her degree in Real Estate, her father in land development, and her love of linear work, it is no surprise architectureis one of her strongest influences.
With fewer well-known female architects Caroline’s works highlights her female approach to the design and architect world.
In looking through your portfolio, the word vortex pops up repeatedly, what does this word mean for your works?
“The word vortex definitely comes from my father’s collection of art right outside of my 'childhood bedroom.' Right outside of my room was a limited edition print from Victor Vasarely's early Vega period. Every once in awhile I would think about that pop art piece and I would be influenced.”
This vortex or idea of tapping into the past and allowing it to speak to the present has now resulted in a large series consisting of over 150 works.
MATERNAL ART INSTINCTS
“I want to nurture those in my life but my art is my baby.”
Strong, collected, and driven with a mission to live out her passion for art, Caroline lives out the female artist hustle of giving all that she has to her work. Her life is dedicated to her practice, not as a slave but on the journey to give herself to her work. She never felt that she had to choose between kids and herart but that she simply wants to nurture her art.
Caroline’s takes great care and attention to all of her works even in storing the formative pieces she made as a child. Her value for what she has created brings great respect to her and as an artist. Her female voice is heard strong as she engages in her world where her point of view brings hope and joy to all who encounter her art.