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The Cyber Art Web Ring
September/October Featured Artist: 

September's  featured web artist is Bonnie Kasper of Soul Cages and Open Pages.and Dark Angels at My CradleSoul Cages and Open Pages, the web art-space of Bonnie Kasper (professional artist and writer), takes a mind-bending journey through inner space.
As one enters Soul Cages and Open Pages, the star field of a vast cyberspace glints silently. Within the portal, a full range of art unfolds to web weary visitors: colorful batik paintings, introspective nudes, warrior like masks, and disquieting woodcuts of humankind in difficult situations. 

Infusing soul into a soulless web ... few artists would attempt such a daunting task. But for Kasper, it was simply an inevitable and natural outcome of a long art career that began in childhood. 

the artist as a child
Bonnie Kasper, 
copyright 1998-99
Even then, surrounded and isolated by the wild, unpredictable beauty of her Michigan home, Kasper found herself exploring the inner psyche  of people and their emotions.  If anything, the raw wilderness, the northern lights and the reflective beauty around her sparked an inner inquiry into the nature of humanity and its destiny. "My work explores our fragility and strength, the extremes of our emotions and our  inherent need for each other in our journey through life," she explained. 

Bonnie Kasper relaxes in her wilderness home
copyright 1998-99, Bonnie Kasper
"... there will come a time when we no longer need telescopes to view the universe; rather, our souls will take wing to become intimate with the universe we gaze upon... "
No medium or art form is spared by Kasper in her quest for expression of the human condition. She has worked in just about every medium: oil, pastel, charcoal, dye, fabric, pen and ink, woodcut, sculpture and intaglio. 

Kasper freely picks her medium prior to picking her subject matter. For her, allowing the  medium to influence the subject matter unlocks the message waiting to take form in the process.

"My best work evolves that way," she admitted. "Then I begin to see things in shapes and spaces and my subconscious will infiltrate the conscious as I create."

            "Night Terrors"
                   Woodcut Print on Hosho,  12" x 16"
        from artist's edition, 
by B. Kasper, copyright 1998-99.

"Guard Frog"
4'x5' pastel chalk on sidewalk
(gone with the rain)
copyright B. Kasper, 1998

"Let your life speak 
through your work."

Indeed, the freedom she brings to choosing her subject has brought forth some amazing artwork. "The entire universe is grist for my mill," Kasper mused.. "... its contents, the moods of people, the angst of humanity, the compassion, the lack of compassion ... everything."

 "Create everyday," Kasper advised. "Hang on to your dream no matter how dirt poor you are.  Create art out of sticks and stones if that's all you have.  Don't put it off until tomorrow. Artists are born, not made. If it's in your heart and soul than you have to do it. Learn from the masters. Learn from other artists around you.  Study their brush strokes. Look for art in everything: the trees, the color of the sky, the shadows on the wall, the patterns in the window frost."

"Past Tense - Future Perfect"
   mixed media mask, life sized
by Bonnie Kasper, copyright 1998-99,

"... we've seen way too much copying and pasting in our generation and very few are speaking their souls through their work... "

Kasper cited a number of favorite artists who strongly influenced her work:  Kathe Kollwitz, Magdalena Abakanovich, Edward Munch, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Michelangelo. The feverish "angst of humanity as well as the incredible beauty of the soul in transition," within their artworks gave Kasper great inspiration.

Currently Kasper is "working on a series of life sized masks using a mixed media of leather, beads, broken glass, paint, marbles, egg shells and what ever else ... salvaged from the garbage can." (Kasper has won a number of awards for her masks and prints.)  Kasper also has a few pastel drawings in the works. She is also feverishly transferring galleries to her growing collection of websites. 

For the serious digital artist, Kasper recommended Fractal Painter. "Painter is the closest thing to an art studio on computer. I can draw directly into the computer using charcoal, pastels, watercolor, paint...just about everything.  And you still have to know how to draw to really use it well."

On the other hand, she cautioned,  no amount of software can make up for a lack of talent or training: " ... A lot of people think all it takes is an art program and suddenly your're an artist on the web. I've seen some really poor stuff out there too ... playing with filters without knowing what they're doing." 

The best computer art is by people who have a strong background in hand drawn art. Another irksome myth people have "is that good computer art is easy and fast," Kasper complained. " It still takes plenty of time from concept to finish," Kasper explained. Computer aided art just allows further iterations and variations without restarting from scratch.

Kasper "was fortunate enough to spend a month traveling through Greece and Crete visiting the Athens Museum, the Parthenon, the Temple of Posidon, the Temple of Apollo, Delos, Delphi,  and The Palace of Knossos." 

The culture, the people and the free standing artworks made a deep impression on her, enough to make her wish for another visit. She hopes to return someday as well as visit the Sistine Chapel. “Then I can die happy.” 

"Every artist likes to believe they're original, but I think we've seen way too much copying and pasting in our generation and very few are speaking their souls through their work," Kasper worried.

Luckily for us, Kasper’s Soul Cages and Open Pages fills the void we feel from soulless art. For the more cerebral side of Kasper's psyche, visit her writings at Dark Angels at My Cradle.

written by M. M. Ford, copyright 1998-99
No reproduction without permission of the author.

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All images, except Elite template graphics and by B. Kasper, copyright 1998-99, M. M. Ford