A Q&A with Ellison Bay’s Newest Gallerist

Keven Wilder. Submitted.

Get excited, Ellison Bay – there’s a new gallery in town. The K Wilder Fine Art studio/gallery, 12495 Door Bluff Road, is opening to the public for the first time during this year’s art crawl. Before the grand opening, we talked to gallery owner and artist Keven Wilder to hear about her background and work. Responses have been edited for clarity.

Sam Watson (SW): How long have you been in Door County?

Keven Wilder (KW): I’ve been splitting my time between Door County and Chicago since 2007. I have a studio there, too, but it’s on the third floor, and it’s harder to open to the public.

SW: What’s it like having a studio in Chicago versus having one up here?

KW: It’s easier up here. A lot of my paintings are plein air [created outdoors], and it’s not always easy to do that in Chicago. 

SW: Does your environment affect your art?

KW: I’ve been painting for so long that I do tend to do the same kind of work in both places. I’m mostly inspired by nature, so I take a lot of photos and use those photos as a jumping-off point for my paintings. I’ll even move the same canvases back and forth between Chicago and Door County. But I’ve been doing some workshops at Peninsula School of Art, and those push me to make more experimental work. 

“Red Ribbon” by Keven Wilder. Submitted.

SW: I know you work with oils, pastels and mixed media. Which of those is your favorite? 

KW: Probably oils. I recently started working with these oil paint sticks, and they’re just great. In terms of mark-making, they work like charcoal.

SW: What kind of art will folks be able to check out at the art crawl? 

KW: I’ll have lots of smaller paintings that start at $30, then larger, more expensive ones. Most of them are abstract.

SW: How long have you been doing art? 

KW: Since I was a kid. But I figured I couldn’t make enough money as an artist, so I went to law school. I didn’t go back to art school and get my B.F.A. until I was in my 50s. 

SW: Why was art such a long-standing interest for you? 

KW: I think Joan Mitchell [Chicago painter] said it’s an addiction. It makes you feel more alive, more connected to the world around you. Thankfully, it’s one of the better addictions to have.


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