Silly chairs sit well with sculptor Koon

Senior Kathryn Koon has been involved in art for about 20 years. When asked, “What is your favorite type of art?” she responded, “I like sculpture because it allows for me to put my hands all over it.” Koon cites Henri Matisse and Man Ray as among her most important influences. / photo by Annette Gutierrez
Senior Kathryn Koon has been involved in art for about 20 years. When asked, “What is your favorite type of art?” she responded, “I like sculpture because it allows for me to put my hands all over it.” Koon cites Henri Matisse and Man Ray as among her most important influences. / photo by Annette Gutierrez

by Bonnie H. Chuen
Staff Writer

Wearing paint-stained overalls, hiking boots and a ULV sweatshirt, senior art major Kathryn Koon describes the philosophy behind her senior show and the focus of her art work.

“There is not enough tenderness in this fast paced, freeway oriented, southern California life. The senior show chairs provide some of that tenderness,” said Koon.

“Having a comfortable place to sit is a very important thing to me. It’s important to have a small sanctuary and my silly chairs provide for some of that sanctuary for me,” she said.

Koon is working toward the completion of her show. “I have been brainstorming mostly for the last months, and months and months. In following with my chair fixation, I’m making furniture, but not at all in the style that I’ve been following,” said Koon.

The senior show this year consists of nine graduating art majors.

“It’s such a great group of people and everyone is so driven and everybody’s projects and ideas are so different. It’s going to be a really wonderfully rich show,” said Koon.

Koon is completing a college career that spans several schools and many life experiences. “I started [ULV] in the spring of 1994. I had gone to several other schools before that,” she said.

Born in North Carolina, Koon moved to California at the age of one and a half. “I grew up in a small town called Sierra Madre,” she said.

Koon went through the Pasadena Unified School district until high school where she transferred to Flintridge Preparatory School in La Cañada.

Upon graduating from high school, Koon started her college career at Cal Poly Pomona. After two quarters, she decided to drop out.

“I hated it. They were so big and so impossible to get classes at. I was a tiny little number among tens of thousands,” she said.

After dropping out of Cal Poly Pomona, Koon started working at the E-bar, “the original Pasadena Bohemian coffee house,” she said.

“This is what definitely led me up to art. The people whom I was exposed to were mostly artists, poets and artistic type people. They influenced me to art. They helped me to realize my capabilities that way,” said Koon.

She was also a legal secretary for two years. “I left that job to go back to school. I was tired of working in the legal field where everything was so negative. Everybody was mad at each other all the time and it was just anger, anger, anger. I knew it was time for me to go back to school; I knew it was right for me,” she said.

Koon was not always an art major. “I went from English to art history, to chemistry to art. I tried a little bit of everything and found what it is for me. It is a long, long process,” said Koon.

She had several influences that brought her to the calling of art.

“It was Lisa Scott [‘95] and Lance Boen [‘94] who convinced me to be an art major,” she said.

Koon believes that to succeed, a person must look within.

“You’ve got to just listen to your heart and do what feels good, and be gentle with yourself. The most important thing is not to be hard on yourself because all you have is you and you have to take care of it,” she said.

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