2019 Artist Highlight

Introducing New Host Artist E.J. Klepinger

We are pleased to introduce you to an artist who is hosting a beautiful new studio stop on the tour. Although he is new to us this year, E.J. Klepinger is already known in the community for his artwork and for teaching the popular weekly “Brushes, Beans, & Brews” art classes at the Mocha Moose along the Scenic Drive. We asked him to describe what it is like to live and work next to Lake Superior!

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

Nature is the greatest influence to my art, both through a shamanic spiritual connection and through the beauty of nature. Having lived most of my life in Colorado, I have always appreciated the natural world and its life forms from the time I was a small child, and have celebrated my love of nature through my art and poetry. I have learned that all life, both wild and domesticated, has an energy and being able to connect to that energy and portray it is one of the greatest joys I can imagine. It is also important to me to support the community and other artists, and I have loved being a part of this area and its people. This is the very first time in my 54 years of life that I felt like I was truly home. I have been very blessed to have many avenues to be an artist, from teaching, illustrating books, commission works and creating art to be enjoyed by collectors.

 As a new artist in the tour, what are you looking forward to?

Honestly, I love seeing people look at art, really absorb it and be intrigued by it. When this occurs with your own art, where they really take time to look at it and enjoy it, that is the greatest gift I can imagine related to my art. If they purchase my art, that is beyond amazing and I feel so blessed to have moved them enough to want include it in their space and their lives. I focus so much on the energy of the subject, and for viewers to feel that energy, to often comment on it, and to even be moved to tears by it, is an incredible experience to witness. I live in a very magical place and to be able to share that with folks on the tour is wonderful. To feel the energy of the artists that will be on the property and to share that energy with visitors is truly a blessing.

EJ Klepinger at work in the studio.

 What is it that you enjoy about working in your mediums?

I was taught, and I think many artists are taught, you have to focus on one medium. I fully disagree with this ‘rule’. I so appreciate artists that do, however for me, each medium has challenges and opportunities that might better serve the subject. To limit myself to just one medium is to limit my subject’s ability to express itself through my art. Being able to work in acrylics, oils, watercolor, soft pastel, pencil and pen and ink gives me many tools to honor my subject, and many forms of expressions to stimulate the viewer. I see the medium itself as a technique or artistic choice, what I enjoy the most is how the medium honors the subject, and I enjoy using the medium to do so. My enjoyment is less about the medium and more about the subject. There are times when I started with a medium and I completely abandon it and start over in a different medium. I is all about the subject for me and celebrating its energy.

Scratch art by EJ Klepinger

Notes about the studio…

 I am very much into the environment and nature, and am continually doing things to support my respect and love. I have a very difficult time killing anything, including the ‘dreaded’ tick and mosquito. My humble cabin home is rustic, and though I am slowly updating areas, I also love the ancient history it contains. This year I have also been playing with not mowing the yard fully or as much, and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing what forms of flowers, grasses and other plants grow, and what types of animals and insects it attracts. I have never seen so many monarchs as I have this year, so I have also begun planting butterfly and bee friendly plants in the organized beds, and am going to be planting a Swamp Milkweed patch in part of the yard. This has been a fun learning process of how to successfully germinate milkweed from seed. Hopefully by the time the show is here, others will see the fruits of my attempts.

Wolf by EJ Klepinger

For more information about E.J. Klepinger’s studio stop on the tour, please click the button below!