Who is Kyle Andrew Szpyrka?
I am a 28 year old emerging fine artist living in Stamford,CT. I wait tables during the day at Bistro Versailles on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, CT and spend mornings and evenings in my home studio pursuing my art. I hope to build a successful career as a fine artist sharing my works, traveling, and learning even more about the different spiritual traditions that influence my art and my life as an artist.
How did you discover your passion for painting?
I’ve known since I was very little that I wanted to be an artist. As a kid I never really played with toys. All I ever wanted to do was create. We would go to the store and my brothers would run to the toy aisle, but I always wanted to be in the craft section. Paints, markers, clay, yarn, frames, fabric….all of it… I just wanted to play with it all. Thankfully, my family was very supportive and they let me. My great grandmother taught me to sew, how to crochet, to knit, play piano, bake… anything that I asked. When I wanted clay to mold, she got me clay. Similarly my mother and father supported me each in their own ways too. My father was always interested in teaching me how to build with wood, how to fix things around the house. And if my mother wasn’t supplying me with paints and colored pencils and sketchbooks I was helping her wallpaper the house or refinish rooms in our old house. And all the time I thought “This is what I want to do with my life…. create…build….share.”
What drives you to paint?
My faith drives me to paint; wanting to know things that I don’t know yet…wanting to understand the world, its secrets… wanting to learn all the ancient wisdom that has been with us here since the beginning of time and expressed through so many different traditions throughout human history, across all the cultures and spiritual beliefs… that magic… that silver lining… that thread that runs through them all and holds all the answers to life and the mystery of what’s beyond… the mystery of energy and how to play with it, how to respond to it, how to BE it and let it work with/through you…. that is what drives me to paint, the chance to learn this. Painting is the place I can go to bring all these faiths together and feel my way through them and connect them to my life in a meaningful way.
Do you have a painting schedule?
I do. It’s not very rigid, but I certainly find that I have a rhythm for my days, and painting is always a part of that. The first thing I do when I wake up is grab my cup of coffee and head to my studio to sit and write for about an hour. Then I am right into painting in the quiet until the sun rises. Usually from about 6 to 8 am. Then it’s off to work for the day. And on my days off this time gets extended to after breakfast until about 4 pm. I rarely ever paint at night as that is usually the time I feel the need to exercise and be with my body, whether it be yoga at home or the gym. But I definitely find the balance of these two are critical to my work as an artist. It took me the first 3 years of my painting career to figure this balance out, though it is always free to evolve and change.
Did you attend fine art school? If not how did you learn your techniques or who taught you?
I did, I attended The College of Saint Rose and earned my BFA in painting and sculpture.
Which artist inspires you the most?
I’d have to say Michelangelo. Just the sheer VOLUME of his work is amazing! I think of him often as I am painting and how it must have felt to be in the Sistine Chapel, laying on his back up in the rafters knowing that he had to finish the entire chapel, accepting the challenge his art presented to him, and rising to the occasion…. I think of how transforming the experience must have been for him…all that he possibly learned of himself, of God, of the world he lives in, simply through accepting the challenge his art gave him. This and his bold color and strength as an artist all leave me turning to him often as inspiration.
Do you feel close to that artist’s art?
It’s odd but I feel closer to the artist than I do to his art. I love the feeling of connecting with his human self and how that human self became the vehicle for such profoundly large works of divine creativity. I feel more connected with him as a friend I can turn to in my mind and ask questions of logistics than I do to his works, and for that I turn to Michelangelo the MAN for inspiration rather than to his art….if that makes sense?
What is your painting’s genre?
I would describe my work as contemporary transcendental. Or possibly contemporary spiritual art.
Are you working on anything now?
I am indeed. I am always working on several things at once. Right now I have six different pieces in various stages of completion, one piece framed and on its way out the door to be shipped, and 7 more frames on the way. As an artist I feel it’s important to keep my framing skills and creativity in practice while working on paintings simultaneously as it helps the two relate and work together more harmoniously in the end. And for the same reason, I feel its good to work on a whole series of pieces at the same time as it too will help problem solving and creative issues work themselves out in more scenarios than just one. The new body of work is an exploration of the process of alchemy and the transmutation of darkness into light. I am intrigued by alchemy and its principles in the spiritual, emotional, and physical senses. Hopefully this new work will help convey some the vastness of potential these concepts hold in a simplified way. That is the challenge as I understand it.
I have been to one of your exhibit at the Agora galleries and one of your paintings stroke me “Learning To Fly” can you talk about that piece?
Learning To Fly was such a great experience for me. It was the first very big piece I ever created with as many figures, and it was my exploration of the theme of awakening. This was at the beginning of my personal intense exploration of this area of spirituality and I was very interested in the Gia Grid, that grid or matrix that underlies all of life in the physical world and our worldly connections and how we can free ourselves of their grip and usher in our higher soul selves. This whole first-time experience of these things, of experiencing life through my higher self, of seeing the world in this way opened up a whole new world of possibilities and this piece is a part of that experience.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration in the journey of life, in the journey of becoming, of awakening, of realizing new and before unseen parts of God in the world around me and within myself. I am inspired by the journey of looking inside and discovering what is there and how I can work with it. I am inspired by energy and learning to work with it and control it. I am inspired by the vastness of human potential to awaken within themselves all of the hidden knowledge for everything they could ever seek. I’m inspired by the journey to discovering and learning how to do all of this.
Have you ever participated in a gallery opening?
I have, yes. I’ve participated in a group exhibition at Cherie Greene Interiors in Westport CT, a group pop show at Loft 594 in Brooklyn, and a solo exhibition at New Century Artists Gallery in Chelsea, NY. Though it is a small start, I am very excited to show more, and am currently preparing a body of work to show in Greenwich this spring/summer.
Is your art accessible to the public?
What’s next for Kyle Andrew Szpyrka?
I would like to focus now on rooting myself here in Greenwich, CT. As an artist I am excited to connect with the town and explore the art and the community it bolsters and become a part of that. I would like to meet other artists in the area and share work where I can. I am also excited to return to work on a collaboration project with fellow designer and business woman Francine Steadman and her line of Buddah Booths (http://www.buddhabooth.com/
). I will be bringing my (custom) painted works to the exterior of her one-of-a-kind meditation booths. I am really excited to begin working together and creating something truly unique. These are the opportunities I look forward to in the future, creating and sharing organically the art that moves through us.