Kathleen A. Ball: Capturing Subjects’ History, Thought, and Essence


My work is the physical expression of my life’s experience. I have been an artist since a young child, working in a variety of media from bronze, glass, ceramic, oil and acrylics and neon among others. I began as a sculptor at the age of seven and returned to my primary medium at thirty-three. After half my life as a mural painter, portrait painter, silk-screen printer and interior designer I found myself returning to my first love, sculpture. Working in ceramics, both basque-relief and three dimension eventually led to bronze. I have been working primarily in bronze and clay for the past sixteen years, creating portraits, installations and basque-relief sculpture for private, and public commissions for patrons throughout Northern California, Canada, Europe and New Zealand. Currently, I have been chosen as a finalist to complete a commission for Emanuel Medical Center. I will be sculpting a nine-foot bronze angel for the entrance of their new hospital wing. In addition, I recently completed a portrait of Henry Seishiro Okazaki to be presented at the National Karate Ceremonials. I have been exhibiting works of art for the Foundation of Higher Learning since 1995, creating basque-relief and wall installations for several of their international retreat centers.

For private commissions involving portraiture, I begin the process by getting to know my subject in terms of expression, character, personality and mannerisms. If my subject is deceased or an historical figure, I gather research and photos from family, friends and a variety of sources prior to the actual execution of the sculpted figure. I like to capture the “essence” of my subject in the final work of art. When completing a portrait of Leonardo da Vinci for Mario and June Biagi (Biagi Vineyards) in 1994, I first researched the life of Leonardo before deciding on a rendition of him in his later years, while living in Southern France with King Francis l. The final work included a portrait of Leonardo in his chateau, (which was connected to the King’s castle by an underground tunnel), where he spent his final days conversing with the King, surrounded by his few possessions including, The Saint John, The Mona Lisa, The Cellini Salt Cellar and twenty-two of the most current books in science and religion, a Bible and his famous note books.

To supplement my work as a professional artist I am currently teaching art at Columbia College and have taught in several other College institutions in the greater Sacramento and Foothills area, elementary schools and privately for the past sixteen years. I am currently completing research for consideration of a doctoral degree, comparing quantum physics, world-wide spiritual belief systems and the evolution of human consciousness. I hold a Master’s of Fine Art degree from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from the Union Institute and University, in Studio Art and Multicultural Studies which included in-depth archaeological research and field studies. In addition, I have a background in Fine Art and Human Services at the Associates level.

I moved back to my studio and home in the Sacramento Foothills in 1998 after three years of working, exhibiting and maintaining my studio in San Francisco. While in San Francisco, I completed my two largest installations, “Union” and “Transfiguration l”, which I aspire to exhibit internationally. Each of these has involved a four to five year process of research, material exploration and finally, completion of the body of work which is then installed in a gallery. Each time these works have exhibited, they have undergone a transformation. My background in interior design has been vital in understanding how the artwork should feel in its intended space. It must meet the needs of the location in terms of interior/exterior media, architectural design, intended viewer, lighting and color in the existing space. What may be appropriate for one space can be completely different in another while still using the same works of art. Meeting the needs of my client, the space intended and the media required is the challenge that continues to keep me creating art. Every new creation is a unique experience in which I relish.

My personal endeavors include continued research in the various esoteric and ancient belief systems or our planet, quantum physics, neurobiology, cosmology, anatomy, biology and other natural sciences and their connections to our existence. My interpretations of these subjects are the concepts I convey in my installation works. Currently I am conducting a comparative study of the Lost Books of the Essenes and Candace Pert’s research for her book “Molecules of Emotion.” A Synthesis of these will be expressed in my next installation sometime in 2006, entitled “Transfiguration ll.” My life has become a continual manifestation of the art I create. It is more than what I do, Art has become who I am and how I communicate to the world.

Kathleen Ball may be reached at kballadonai@yahoo.com and welcomes the chance to network with other artists and interested viewers!