Kip Frace, American (1970 - )

Kip Frace

Kip Frace was born in Easton, Pennsylvania in 1970 and lived there with his mother on Elizabeth Avenue in a house with 15 lamps, 6 clocks, 4 mirrors, and 2 hot-and-cold running faucets. “I traced a lot,” says Kip. “Everybody would say ‘You’re cheating, you’re cheating!’ but that’s totally how I learned to draw.” Kip’s drawing eventually turned into graffiti, a form of art (or vandalism, depending on what’s in your headphones) that “really opened me up to experiment.” As time went on, more and more of that experimentation was done outside what Kip referred to as the “drug-dealer training ground” of Easton, amidst the breakdancing and noise of New York City. Eventually, New York replaced — and perhaps even became — school.

Hanging out in New York and tagging up trains was part of Kip’s artistic development. School was not, and so gallery owners impressed with art-school credentials were not. In some ways, that made life more difficult for Kip when, in 1987, he moved to the city full-time. “I wanted to pay my rent by drawing graffiti,” he says. During this time, Kip’s graffiti turned into full-on painting. Lacking a gallery and alumni, he was left to sell his work on his own, which he did with no small amount of success. Soon, happily, he was earning enough cash to find hard times. Surviving the kinds of trouble money can buy cost him a momentary loss of focus, in business and other things, but it also likely contributed to Kip’s art. Just how it contributed is for the artist to consider, but Kip has a broad sense of what constitutes a recordable moment, and his paintings are definitely his own. “When I finish a painting I can tell it’s mine. A lot of people can,” he says.

For material, “I like to try to find larger-picture stuff and find those aspects about it no one else sees. Take it apart.” In addition, “I’m really passionate about music. I always see things when I hear music. People say artists are all inspired, but I disagree. You need to know where to look. I steal from musicians all day long. “Always hated the people who went to art school,” says Kip. “Galleries love them — people from Columbia, Parsons. Thought that’s what I was missing, so I took a printmaking course. Loved it. Then I took a painting class. Famous teacher. Couldn’t understand, they’d toil over whether they should put blue or red. I hire assistants who went to art school. Learn from them. Sometimes I wish I’d gone to school… No, I’m glad I didn’t… Well, I don’t know.” Whatever his formal credentials, there’s no arguing Kip’s talent. He lives in his Brooklyn studio and paints, sometimes requested themes on commission, other times whatever’s caught his eye.

“I hate selling art work.” Even so, he sells an average of a painting per day. And no matter how long a customer has to wait to get theirs, Kip says all the paintings take the same amount of time to complete. How long? “33 years.” Some of Kip’s public collections include: Duke University in North Carolina, Northampton County Court House in Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Oklahoma, and the Judge Rothenburg Center in Massachusettes. His corporate collections include: PEPSI Co, RODEO Press, BENIHANA, And WILLIAMS Corp.

Kip has had many shows throughout the world. Some of which being: Oranges & Dimonds, New York Ny.; GalleryGalou, Williamsburg Brooklyn; Art Cubic S.L. Barcelona, Spain; Row Gallery, Washington DC; SouthSide on Lamar Gallery, Dallas, Texas; Hudson Gallery, Santa Fe,NM; SOBO 2, Oklahoma; Dennis Rae Fine Art, San Francisco, California; K. Gallery, Nice, France; SoBo/South Boston , Oklahoma; Demagic Artist Gallery, Easton, Pennsylvania; Lake Falls Fine Art, Lake Falls, Maryland; and Monsoon Gallery, Bethlem, Pennsylvania. He has also been involved in many commission work and donation projects throughout the years.

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