With a heart full of adventure, Kayla Koeune grew up in small town Wisconsin, where she found a love for art at a very young age. Like most Wisconsin youth, she spent much of hers in taverns; only she was busy drawing the bar flies from a fort she constructed out of stools. Her passion to create never ceased and she earned her Bachelors in Fine Arts from Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts. Milwaukee also introduced her to the world of motorcycles and Kayla’s two passions weaved together and produced the art she shows today. Kayla founded Inferno Art Studio in 2012 where she works predominantly as a commission artist to exemplify her use of diverse subject matters and mediums. From oils to watercolor, to graphic art and design, enamels and mural work. Check out her website and give Kayla a follow on Facebook and Instagram.
Just rounding the corner is the 1st Friday in Denver (6 July 2018). If you are unfamiliar with the first Friday let me enlighten you. 1 night a month all the galleries in Denver open there doors for an art walk. From Traditional to pop-up gallerys, art floods the streets giving you the perfect opportunity to adorn your walls with something unique and hand crafted. A far superior alternative to the time a dozen, mass produced, walmart special. What I am trying to get at is if you are out and about in the Sante Fe Art District add the Boxcar Gallery to your list of shows to see. This show features the art of motorcycle from artists all over the country and including yours truly. I will be showing 3 Original paintings featuring motorcycle adventure. There is also a vast selection of motorcycle photography that will be on display for your viewing pleasure!
Although I wasn't able to make it to the first showing, I will be there all night this time around with an assortment of prints. This will also be the last time you can catch me out an about for a few weeks due to military engagements so come say hi hang out and support the Denver Art Scene!
No matter where he is going my husband, Charlie, counts miles. I think this is reminiscent of his bicycle racing days or his addictive personality, but no matter where he picked it up, Charlie is always racking his brain about how many miles he has put under his belt. It is personal pride in the thing he loves which is an inspiring thing to watch for many of us. When he decided to enter the Peaks to Plains summer long mileage contest, where the winner received a motorcycle, I thought oh great... here we go just put the alcoholic right in the bar why don't ya!
He was concerned he wouldn't be able to do well considering we were getting married this summer and that combined with being out of the country for the honey moon would put him 3 weeks behind everyone, especially Louise. Louise and Charlie are one in the same and that's why I love them both. They both count miles, they both like to win, and they both entered the contest. Louise was his biggest concern right up to the end. They would text each other trying to get the other to spill the beans as to where their mileage was at. There was also a lot of social media stalking and often I would hear Charlie utter phrases like "Louise went to Whyoming that's at least 350 miles where she is round trip,, crap I'm headed to Kansas see you later!" The hilarious part, upon talking to her and her boyfriend Dan, is that they were having the same conversations at there house.
They knew that this is what the competition would come down to. Two friends and a little friendly competition. The rest of us would joke that there was a sleeper in the competition that was going to clock in with like 25k and blow them both out of the water. 3rd place went to this amazing guy who never rode a motorcycle before this summer. He entered the world of motorycycles hitting just over 9k miles. Drum roll ...... In second play came Louise, Ohio Dirt, with about 11.5k. Leaving first place to Harris Bigweather... hah the twist Charlie didn't even place.... Ok I kid... In first place with 13.2k Mr. Charles Weisel took the first play motorcycle. A brand new, barely functioning mini bike chopper with a springer front end! His next trip will be a coast to coast on a Mini Bike!
My hat goes off to you kids! Next summer I will have an odometer and access to sabotage Charlie's bikes, here comes some more competition your way!
It's always fun to bring a new challenge and goal into your work. The Motor Mural I painted in Loveland Colorado was the most fun I've had painting in a long time. Although this image was a commission and heavily influence by David Mann at the patrons request, it was a pleasure to be challenged to make art from a ladder. I have wanted to break into the mural world for some time now and have been working up to larger public works. I have done large scale paintings and a few installations murals but this was my 2nd true mural and I must admit I'm addicted. You spend most of your time designing the image on a screen in your studio knowing you will be making the image on scaffolding and ladders with limited amounts of time. The temperature is out of your control and once the painted is cracked you know you will be working around the clock in order to get it done in a timely fashion. When someone watches your process it can be nerve wracking because lets face it some of the stages of paint are not pretty and they freak people out, as well as focusing while others watch and strike up conversations. Doing live art in clubs for years helps block most things out but it's still a challenge I welcome. I learned so much about how to refine my process from doing this 5 foot by 5 foot mural and I am excited to take my new knowlege to a downtown Denver Cafe, where the image will be 12 feet by 14 feet. That lesson I learned is that scaffolding is necessary for patience, confort and energy to last the long hours in the air!
One of my favorite things to do in Colorado is overnight backpacking trips. The physical challange, the sense of accomplishment and the quiet relaxation are all food for the soul! On this occasion Charlie and I decided to take the Jasper Lake trail, just out side of Nederland, a place where many spectacular trails begin. The total trip length is a moderate 9 mile round trip with just under 2000 feet total elevation gain. In my opinion trails of this length are perfect for an overnight camping trip as you are able to get up to the top early enough to enjoy the quiet wilderness. The trail starts at the Hessie Trailhead and takes you though the Indian Peaks Wilderness with epic views of Mt Jasper, Mt Neva and Klondike Mountain in the distance. The ascent is pretty even most of the way up with only a few moderate switchbacks as you wind through meadows and dense woods. We went up this trail in June, this time of year you will need a permit and I have to admit we forgot to secure such permit. So we treked up the mountain knowing we may have to pay at minimum a fine of $100 but luckily we never ran into a ranger. I would not recommend doing this as I feel the only reason we didn't see more rangers is there was an unseasonable amount of snow still on the mountain. As we got nearer and nearer to the lake we got deeper and deeper in snow. In some parts the snow was as high as I am tall, but we continued and hoped there would be some clear areas near lake Jasper that would give us refuge. The right gear is paramount when you are staying overnight in altitude. We barely found a dry space, although our gear would have faired fine on snow, where we set up our Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy Sacks with Nemo Sonic 0 Bags and Sea to Summit mats slipped inside. At this point I'm pretty sure we have stock in REI, but having light gear that packs down small and keeps you warm and dry has changed camping and motorcycle travel for us. Not only is it effective it is quality made and with the warranties the gear will keep us happy for a long time. The sunset that evening was unreal with vibrant reds and oranges that mimiced its brilliance in the lake. We sat in awe sipping coffee from our camp chairs in near seclusion. This is the reason we do what we do and after taking it all in we drifted off to sleep early. We sleep early because then you can wake up in the middle of the night in order to take in the stars that are unreal when you are this close to them. Other than the dog having a midnight freak out (our first time camping with her without a tent) the night could not have been more perfect!
When Charlie and I travel we rarely do the proper "Tourist Activities", but with a lack of transportation we were inspired to experience the Isle of Skye by the fullest effect of the tourist industry. Don't get me wrong we are tourists everywhere we go but this time we decided to do a small group tour through Happy Tours Scotland called the "Isle of Skye Full-Day Tour from Inverness". John, our tour guide, was amazing! He was hilarious and knew the history of the area inside and out. He had such a confidence in his lecture, that at one point a tour guide from a different company came up to him to ask about the site we were at. Nothing better than to be shown about by a man in a kilt who was so proud of the area in which he was from. The First place we stopped on our day trip was the Eileen Donna Castle. The Castle sits just off the rocky shore and peering upon her feels like being taken back to the times of Scottish warriors. Although her brick facade was epic we were informed that the inside was remodeled and looked like the 1920's so to not waste the money to go in as nothing inside was in its original state. Charlie and I instead sipped cappuccinos while a woman mastered her spinning wheel with the castle in the background.
We next made our way to the largest town on Skye called Portree where we had some lunch. This being a port city we naturally had some crab and locks sandwiches and explored the colorfully quaint town till we moved the journey along to the Quiraign which is part of the Trotternish ridge. John went on and on about the landscape in this area so I was on pins and needles to see what all the hype was about. Words cannot do this natural site of perfection justice, so here are a couple of photos and if you really want to see its majesty I suggest you add it to your bucket list!
We went on to see the Kilt Rock (a rock formation that appears to be a Kilt), the Loch Ness Monster (well maybe just the loch but I tried my hardest to see the monster), the Old Man of Storr, the Urquhart Castle and lastly the most epic view of all Morag the highland cow!! I had wanted to see one of these creatures since we started looking at going to Scotland and the moment was so much more exciting than I anticipated. Morag was beautiful and her baby made me giggle like a child. I came out of this experience with a whole new perspective and I can honestly say the money was worth all the added experience one gets from a guided tour!!
After slaving in the muggy outdoors by day I joined my friends Nate and Amber to throw down some
Live art at Rogues Gallery by night. It's always entertaining the questions one gets asked from a young crowd out exploring the city who don't really understand the contributing factors to the culture that makes milwaukee amazing.
What are you doing? A: Oh you know just making some art.
Where do you apply to be an artist? A: Well I work for myself but every day is a grind to find creative ways to keep my dreams alive.
So you paint for money? A: I paint because I enjoy making art but to answer your question then yes I am a professional artist.
As he walked away clearly still confused, and I must admit I was a little as well, I realized i could have explained that milwaukee is all about Supporting Local Businesses to include Local (or once Local) Artists. That I come to paint here when I am in town because Rogues Gallery Supports Local Artists and has helped to expose many of the hidden talent of this city.
The Inspirational Jessi Combs
made a guest appearance at our booth to sign copies of Joey and the Chopper Boys. This is the second time we were able to get together to in order to promote our children's book with a message. A message that girls have the power to do anything they dream of, that you should get to know people before you judge them, to believe in your dream and to Never Ever Give Up. We are both so honored and blessed that our hard work has been received with astounding feedback.
All in all it was an amazingly productive, enjoyable and busy weekend. If it wasn't for the brutal winters, short riding season and just plain terrible roads i would be back in that city faster than you could say Milwaukee Home.
Jessi Combs, the fastest woman on 4 wheels, and I will be signing our new children's book
"Joey and the Chopper Boys"!
This will be our second signing of the fully illustrated book and we are so excited to see yours personalized for your little one! Thank you again to everyone who made it to the event in Sturgis. We couldn't have been happier with the turnout and Support!!
LIVE ART FRIDAY SEPT 4TH FROM 9PM TILL THE DOORS CLOSE I will be laying down some live art at this wonderful spot in downtown milwaukee. I will have selected pieces up for your viewing pleasure as well as prints and book available for you to purchase. Its been a long time since I have been able to be a part of this places amazing atmosphere and can't wait to see you there!!!
Prints of this piece is will be available in all sizes at the show!!
"The boys had noticed that the best of the best were invited to show their latest creations. They felt special that all sorts of new faces were curious about their builds, and lots of new friends were made. The boys were planning on what to do better for next year's show. They heard some of the guys talking about how awesome the girl was who organized the event and how much they miss having her around."
Written by Jessi Combs
To get your copy of "Joey and the Chopper Boys" Click a link!