What if you could wear your favorite work of art? Kevin West, a local temporary and abstract artist, is exploring the possibilities of combing art with fashion.
After he creates visually fascinating works of art, he takes the scarps of his canvases and creates accessories such as purses, bracelets and earrings. All of these accessories can be purchased at Roqstars Boutique, 7255 N. Keystone Ave., while visual art by Kevin West can be viewed and purchased at the Mavris Arts and Events Center, 121 S. East St. I recently sat down with West to discuss his art.
Recorder: What got you interested in creating art?
West: I got interested in art in high school. My main focus was on playing basketball at the time, but when that season was over I had time to explore other interests. I went to college with a basketball scholarship, but after a knee injury I went to Herron School of Art.
How did you get your name out there when starting your career as an artist?
My friends and family played a huge role, as well as members of my church. My pastor would sometimes mention me and my church family would mention me to more people that they know. Also, instead of doing things like the Broad Ripple Art Fair where you are one of many, I did a lot of solo shows so that people would see me as an individual.
What made you decide to turn your paintings into pocketbooks? It’s a very unique idea.
In these economic times art collectors still buy art, but as far as the general public goes, the whole “starving artist” thing really comes into play. They may like your art, but that’s $500 or $300 they could use for something else. Then I had an idea of my “gifted” clothing line. People who see a painting, love it, but can’t afford it can buy it as a clutch purse instead.
What are your plans for the future?
A designer by the name of Nikki Blaine came to one of my art shows and we had dialogue about art and fashion. She gave me the idea of painting fabric and having the fabric made into couture dresses. That’s what I’m working on now.
Do you have any words of advice for people who want to get involved in the arts?
A lot of music, performance and visual arts programs are cut in schools because it isn’t looked at the same way as, say, playing basketball. To certain individuals these things can be just as important. If you love art, my advice is to stick with it. Don’t lower the value of your product. There are still people who love art and will pay for it.
A Family member helps West sell Gifted art and accessories at
Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration. (Photos/Keshia Smith)