We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Kinzel Means and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I was blessed early on to have enthusiastic support from a tight-knit family and wonderful friends. They encouraged me to pursue my passion, which allowed my creativity to flow and confidence in my work to thrive. Passion, creativity and confidence are all essential, but passion is THE key. Passion is the fuel for creativity and is what (I hope) connects people to my work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My main focus for the past few years has been figurative sculpture in mixed media ceramics. I love the fact that “Peaceful” is the word most often used to describe my work. My hope is to capture and share ‘lightness” and fully embrace the spiritual feel of my work. It may sound strange to some, but I can feel the energy come through the clay, almost like I’m capturing an image of a visitor from above. I feel only lightness when I work, stress and negativity seem to magically disappear the minute my hands get in the clay. I’m hopeful the gift of “lightness of being” translates though my creations. Art has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories were watching my Grandfather, artist Henry Kinzel, in his studio. His studio was mesmerizing, full of odds and ends, paintings strewn everywhere, the air thick with the smell of turpentine,… I was in awe! He was fearless, confident and creative..everything I wanted to be. After graduation from the University of Tennessee, I headed to Atlanta and landed work at Ann Jacob Gallery training as an art consultant. Working for this Atlanta icon was life-changing and put me in the consulting side of the art business for the next 30 years. After stints at a few other galleries, I ended up meeting friend and fellow artist Patrick Taylor. We were both creatives with aspirations of owning our own gallery, which we did in 2003 with the opening of Taylor Kinzel Gallery in Historic Roswell! I loved operating my own gallery, but over time found the undeniable pull to get back to my own artistic roots too strong to ignore. Deciding to actually leave the comfort of our successful retail business to focus on my own artwork full-time was a daunting challenging decision, and one I’m very proud of. “Change begins at the end of your comfort zone”. Two of my favorite things as an artist are first when I’m working on a piece and get that all-important “high” when it all comes together…practically indescribable! Second is the feeling of pride and gratitude when a patron emotionally connects with my work..especially enough to acquire it!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hmmm, well pre-covid a great night would start out with a little bubbly at Deep Roots Wine Bar in Historic Roswell (my hood!) Next, we get our creative mojo on at the First Friday Marietta Art Walk. Love, love, love taking in some fabulous art, meeting old and new friends, and introducing out- of- towners to some of our wonderful art galleries! Eventually we head back to downtown Roswell for an incredible dinner at Little Alley and cap off the night by the outdoor fire pit at Vin25. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I was fortunate to discover the Roswell Clay Collective years ago and really can’t say enough about the generous group of artists and my experience there! The RCC is a state of the art clay studio that offers classes, clay workshops and open studio year around. It’s a creative beehive of artists in every stage, from beginner to professional, and has been crucial in expanding my technical skills, as well as professional and personal growth. Years ago, my friend and talented painter, Patrick Taylor, passed along a book of encouragement titled “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron. The “Art Bible” ( as I call it) changed the way I handle insecurity and the inevitable creative dry spells..it is an invaluable guidebook for artists of all mediums! Most importantly, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and unwavering support of my husband Jim.