The 2017 AWN! committee is eager to host Ken Raney as the judge for its first-ever Illustrators' Portfolio Contest! Ken, who has been an artist and illustrator for more than forty years, brings a wealth of expertise to the conference. Artists will benefit from Ken's Principles of Design workshops.
Penny: You have been an artist and illustrator for more than 40 years. Did you always feel destined to become an artist?
Ken: Yes. I remember drawing pictures as far back as the second grade. I spent a lot of time in class drawing instead of paying attention to the teacher.
Penny: We won’t mention numbers or dates, but at some point, as an artist, you transitioned to the use of computers. How did that go?
Ken: It was a struggle for several years. I’m still learning. I have grown to love the fact that paints don’t dry out and the “undo” button is awesome!
Penny: Explain your motivation to create Clash Entertainment.
Ken: I noticed when I went to the Christian book stores, the section for young adults was extremely small and I knew there was more material available for them. A website seemed like a good way to get the word out.
Penny: In your art, I see cowboys riding dinosaurs, and girls accompanied by bears and tigers. As an artist, do you strive to break boundaries, or does that happen naturally?
Ken: I'm not sure I break any boundaries, but I’m, in many ways, still a kid at heart, so I think those things are cool!
Penny: With the aid of current creative computer programs, you can create hi-definition art with clean, crisp lines. Some say this results in art that is “unnaturally perfect.” What is your response to that?
Ken: The beauty is that the artist is not limited by the medium. Art, to me, is about creativity and craftsmanship. The computer might help with craftsmanship, but the creativity still must come from the artist.
Penny: Elise Leveque in Art vs. Graphic Design: The Debate Rages On, states, “It’s also an interesting paradox that, whilst many designers consider themselves artists, few artists would classify themselves as designers.”
How does Ken Raney fit into this paradox?
Ken: I’ve debated this with myself for years. I now think I am a designer that illustrates. I think design is an important part of communication, and I seem to always be concerned about communicating.
Penny: What artistic period influences your work the most?
Ken: The Golden Age of Illustration: N.C. Wyeth, J.C. Leyendecker, Howard Pyle, etc.
Penny: How does the artistic perspective of 2017 Ken Raney differ from that of 1977 Ken Raney?
Ken: Today, I try to communicate something greater than myself. Back then, I just wanted to be loved for my artwork.
Penny: Some of my friends are creative arts therapists & music therapists. Would you share your thoughts about how art can reach the afflicted or downtrodden, and bring healing?
Ken: One thing I have noticed is the older we get, we tend to lose touch with the desire to create. Other things squeeze it out. I believe art is a great way to relax and stimulate other parts of our mind and spirit.