Today we’d like to introduce you to Ruth Avra & Dana Kleinman.
Ruth & Dana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We each had our own separate artistic careers before starting our collaboration. We were each frustrated, filled with doubt and confusion and unsure of direction. Neither of us felt like we truly fit into the genre we in which we were working, and our artwork wasn’t understood the way we felt it should be. We would vent to each other endlessly. We would give each other advice and try to look objectively at each other’s work to offer new ideas. It was in one of those moments that the lightning bolt now known as KX2 was born. We didn’t know if we were crazy or geniuses, but we were both more excited about this new idea than we had felt in a long time about our own individual ideas. So, we gave it a shot. Within one year, we received more recognition for KX2 than either of us could have ever dreamed on our own. Gallery shows and sales were happening, and, most importantly to us, we represented the United States during the Beijing Biennale at the National Museum of Art in China running in conjunction with the 2008 Summer Olympics.
We spent the next 10 years creating new work, building lasting relationships with galleries and art consultants, spreading our wings creatively and pushing the boundaries of our mediums. It’s been a wild ride. We are still surprised at how much more work two people can get done vs just one. However, sometimes we wish there were more of us so we could do it all!!!
Has it been a smooth road?
For the most part, working together has been incredibly smooth. We consistently seem to be on the same page, pushing each other creatively and conceptually. We almost always see eye to eye, so making decisions is easy and fun. The challenges we experience have more to do with the business side. Pains have come from not receiving the type of communication we’d like from a gallerist or delays with the metal shops when creating certain large scale pieces that require partnerships. Since our work is still a new type of mixed media, it can also take quite a bit of explaining. Even pictures often don’t convey our work properly. We have found that having the artwork in hand can make all the difference in the world. Many of the consultants with which we work have small pieces to show to their clients. It is having that piece to see, touch, turn over, hold up to the wall, etc., that is the difference between “oh that’s interesting” and “WOW!”. Over the years, we feel fortunate to have developed some wonderful relationships with clients, gallerists, art consultants and buyers of all kinds. We partner with multiple machine shops that do great work and give us the extra boost when we need to go large scale or go beyond our home studio capabilities.
With that said, anyone who decides on a career as an artist is in for some bumps. You have to grow thick skin when putting your work out to the public and know that for all of the rewards there is going to be a decent amount of rejection you have to stomach. As women artists, the data tells us that the amount of rejection is a great deal more than it is for our male colleagues. And for those who decide to have children, as Ruth did, the path can be even bumpier. We are lucky to have been able to tackle these issues together as a team. Our partnership has been a huge advantage for us by having each other’s backs and being able to talk through tough moments, even just physically being able to lend a hand.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with KX2 – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are sisters and artists who combine metalwork and painting. We create abstract geometric wall sculpture that invokes a sense of wonder and balance. We are proud of the fact that our work provides an uplifting experience for the viewer. Although social and political artwork is important in the world today, we feel that it is equally if not more important to create artwork that has the ability to create a moment of pause, inspire a solution (connection, harmony) instead of illustrate the problem.
For the vast majority of our career, we were the only artists making this type of work and seemed to have started a new genre in mixed media abstract art. We are very proud to have created something that is so different and was so quickly accepted and appreciated. Perhaps it was the unexpected and dramatic combination of the two mediums and two minds that struck a cord and catapulted us into the public eye so swiftly. Collaboration is the way we started, and it’s still what we are known for. While our work has grown and developed over the years, the connecting of separate elements continues to be the foundation of our work as we push the boundaries of what it can do.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
We love how much the arts plays a part in daily life in South Florida. There are so many great venues for seeing, experiencing and supporting the arts here. We also love the discourse between artists living here. We have found it to be an interdisciplinary and supportive environment versus a competitive one. Outside of the arts, we greatly appreciate the diversity of multiple cultures and the natural landscape here. We find our work to be very influenced by all the color and vibrancy. It is because of these reasons, that after 9 years of us working out of studios in both New Mexico and Florida, one year ago Dana made the move to be in Hollywood, FL full time.
The only drawback to the arts scene here is that there is so much! Many weeks we find there are events that we are interested in every single night, often multiple events!
- Website: www.KX2art.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/KX2art
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/kx2art
Anna-Liisa Nixon (only for last photo of us working together in studio)
All others are our own photos