Mixed-media artist Kerry Topjun creates beauty from collected bits of treasure and found objects, “little orphans” in need of a home. She feels a childlike sense of wonder at these bits and pieces, understanding their immense value even while others may not recognize their beauty right away. Even beer caps on the side of the road have been recycled into a starring role in her work.
Born and raised in the coastal area around Sarasota, Florida, Kerry has always known she wanted to be an artist. She considered art school but opted for a more self-guided route, teaching herself techniques while working through a diverse and colorful curriculum of life experience. This life experience combines with a sense of innocence as well as a deep, intellectual understanding of the importance of simplicity to create the art that speaks to her. Her work draws inspiration from her life, but Kerry is drawn to the unexpected: paper, rust, wood, and assorted parts and pieces, enjoying playing with elements that might not otherwise come together.
The materials used in her art may be of questionable value to some, but the finished products are nothing short of a revelation. She sees the value inherent in each unique, precious item and revels in the possibilities of what it could become in combination with other elements. Her philosophy replicates the human journey, reminding viewers to stop and appreciate the preciousness of all things in order to realize how they, too, can harmoniously come together to create something bigger and more beautiful than themselves. It is this transformation that makes Kerry’s work so vital, the beauty in the imperfection of these items brought out by piecing them together into a story.
The story itself, however, is not about the items, but about Kerry’s own journey. Quiet and somewhat reserved in a group setting but with a rich, emotional inner life, Kerry finds that her art comes from her soul, and creating a piece of art is something of a spiritual process. The finished pieces are a raw, honest glimpse into her own psyche, rarely afforded in conversation. But far from an inaccessible private moment, her art focuses on themes universal to the human condition: love, fear, anger, hope, longing.
While she will sometimes revisit a previous piece for a client or to further explore its themes, Kerry’s work is constantly evolving, reflecting her current thoughts, dreams, and emotions into a fully-realized composition. She is the creator, but, like any good artist, she allows the material to develop its own life, adapting and developing into the piece it was meant to be. This ongoing evolution, both in technique and in inspiration, drives Kerry’s work, giving it depth and vitality.
Living with one of Kerry’s pieces of art is a singular experience, encouraging you daily to think, feel, and love. From black-and-white photographs mounted on pieces of salvaged wood to mixed-media compositions large and small, they are a constant reminder to seek out inspiration in unlikely places, to re-imagine possibilities, and, above all, to truly open yourself to the experience of life and love.