Artist kenT Youngstrom lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and wakes up at 5am most mornings. He then works out, whirls the kids off to school, plants himself in the center of (at least) ten half-covered canvases, and rarely stops moving ‘til nightfall. We first saw the striking works he creates on his colorful Instagram feed and were taken with the organic use of text, hues, patinas and shapes. He counts CB2, Gilt and other companies as fans and they have added his art to their collections for their customers. It was exciting to learn that he frequently incorporates our Metallic Paint Collection and Metal Effects into his works. He graciously agreed to a feature and we are pleased to share his Modern Masters works with you.
“I started painting several years ago, in design school, without any big plans or ambitions. It was hard, unpredictable, time-consuming — and the best thing ever,” kenT shares. “By the end of day one, I was hooked. One gallery show led to another, and before long I was selling paintings to friends, family and a handful of local fans.”
He adds, “Local sales turned into national sales. National sales turned into licensing deals. Bulk orders from CB2 came knocking, along with flash sales at fab.com, pop-ups in People magazine — and flattering attention from a couple of those ‘home makeover’ reality tv shows. One day, I woke up and realized, “huh … guess I’m a full-time artist, now.” I grinned and then put brush to canvas again. My studio is a warehouse facility which contains an office, a gallery and a working studio. I have rolling work tables and large walls to stretch canvas. There is room for 20 people for painting parties and hundreds have walked through for gallery openings, holiday and corporate event parties. I am grateful.”
What is your most memorable, challenging or rewarding project?
I discovered the Modern Masters Iron Reactive Paint + Rust Activator nearly nine years ago. I used it to cover up a mistake. It worked. It worked so well it lead to others asking me to do the same for them. I started using it on canvas.
A few years later my rust on canvas caught the attention of retailer CB2 and I collaborated with them to paint 300 “love” paintings, which sold out in seven weeks online and in their stores. It was a mountainous climb to finish those pieces, package them and make sure they arrived safely for someone who may not have painted that many pieces in a year or so all together, let alone a few months time. I have since painted over two thousand original paintings with CB2 and am still working with them on art and other aspects of design today.
So, I like the rust paint. I use it a lot. It helped me grow myself and my business into what it is today.
What is your top tip for artists?
Wake up. Get out of bed. Work your backside off. Show up on time. Surprise somebody.
What are some of your favorite Modern Masters finishes?
Iron Reactive Paint with Rust Activator on just about anything.
Metallics. Metallics. And more Metallics. Currently my go to product and ride or die.
What is your dream studio project?
The next one.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the artistry and philosophy of kenT Youngstrom – so uplifting! Be sure to watch the video above to see more of his process. Follow along his artistic adventure via his website, Twitter and Facebook fan page – and of course, on Instagram as well. kenT will soon add ‘Author’ to his list of achievements as he releases an inspirational guide book for artists and those who want to create something for a living on April 18, 2016. We will absolutely keep you posted on it! Thank you, kenT, for sharing your time with us and we hope your work continues on to even more success!