Friday, June 1, 2012

INSPIRE ME! Artist, Andrew Kosorok

"The power of reason and the
gifts of inspiration complement each other."
~ ANDREW KOSOROK
"4 Crowned Martyrs" by Andrew Kosorok
By Ernest Disney-Britton

I am thrilled to introduce you to Andrew Kosorok, the INSPIRE ME! artist for June 2012. Seldom have I found a Religious Artist who so openly embraces the exploration of differing faiths both theologically and in their art practice as much as this Christian who also explores Islam. His work epitomizes what we attempt to do here at A&O which is to mine our own truths through understanding of "the other" through art. Perhaps it's his engineering trained mind but he obviously likes to know how things work, and that includes his gift of spirituality. I hope you will love his work as much, or more than I have come to love it too.

Kosorok working on "Merciful"

  • What is your faith tradition, and where did you develop into an artist who explores religion? My parents were an engineer and an educator in Washington State, Christians who believed the power of reason and the gifts of inspiration complement each other. After being a volunteer minister, I came to Brigham Young University and studied both engineering and art, and continued in art.

  • "Shaper of Beauty"

  • How do you describe your art? What style or genre is it? The work is a contemplative search for context and meaning, and the translucency of the medium—glass—is a reflection of the ongoing struggle for inspiration. Perhaps the genre could be called crystallized abstraction, an abstraction of ideas rather than things.

  • "Inspirer of Faith"

  • Have you ever had to defend exploring religious themes? I’ve been asked to justify the work to successful artists in my own faith tradition, because it is not easily defined and marketed as being ostensibly, or specifically, Christian. The work is a cross-cultural exploration of our shared search for spiritual truth, and informs my own faith as a result of the journey—and is usually not identifiable as a commodity.

  • "Transendence"

  • What do your collectors say about your work? They enjoy the contemplative aspect of the work, and tell me they constantly find new elements and make new connections as they continue to look at the work. They also appreciate that the pieces are not easily identified as belonging to specific faith traditions, and find that liberating rather than noncommittal.

  • "Compassionate"

  • Who would you like to collect your work? People or institutions that nurture their own beliefs while respecting the traditions of others, and enjoy reflecting on the idea that Divine light may be present anywhere—and should be treated as a jewel whenever it is found.

  • "Heaven"

  • What other artists have influenced your style, or commitment? The two strongest mentors have been Wulf Barsch von Benedikt and Seyyed Hussein Nasr, as well as Albrecht Duhrer, Hildegard von Bingen, the Pythagoras school, and Keith Critchlow.

  • From Seyyed Hussein Nasr article in Islamic Art & Architecture

  • Where can A&O readers find others like yourself? My friend Colin Tuis Nesbit shares themes of spiritual exploration, and art exhibits that work with the spiritual side of mathematics and science, as well as those that have alchemy or Rosicrucian thought as themes, share many similar motivations. Although my work is primarily abstracted glass, for some reason contemporary Islamic calligraphy also feels compatible.
  • Would you like to be the next INSPIRE ME! Artist of the Month? Remember to include a jpeg of artworks for each question, plus your own photo (7 is the magic number), and send it to me at ernest(at)alphaomegaarts.org. And please keep your writing in first-person to keep the interview personal, and inspirational! Adding a head shot in the studio helps A&O readers make that personal connection too.