Kylee Snow is a figurative artist working primarily in graphite. Originally from Vermont, she is based in Brooklyn and received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2022.
We live in communication with space, claiming it as an extension of ourselves. We hammer a nail into a wall. We hang a picture as if it’s a note. I am here. This space is mine.
Each change leaves a mark–a hole in a wall, a scratch on a door frame, a path on worn floorboards. While not conscious as we know consciousness, a home remembers. It gathers the marks of being into its own timeline, imparting sensations, creating atmospheres, and telling stories, as if having stored the energy of the past and layered it into its own physical being.
I want to tell stories of deep connection to place. I want to visualize homes as inhabitants come and go, how places hold onto feelings and events, and how homes continue on, enveloping what is left behind into their own histories.
Graphite’s ceaseless fluctuation in value and contrast mirrors the ebb and flow of a house and its inhabitants, never once appearing the same. In my attempt to understand myself, my space, and the passage of time, I organize these tiny particles of carbon into my own notes on being.
What initially drew you to your medium/media of choice?
Graphite has a magical reflective quality that I love. When I use the full range of value, it feels like I’m creating a mirror. Moving around a piece, the value is constantly shifting, the graphite’s materiality enhancing the image’s narrative ambiguity. Its simplicity also draws me in. I love using just a simple form of carbon to create something with more complexity.
What aspect of your art do you hope really comes across to your audience?
In my current body of work, I'm exploring how we live in communication with space, specifically our homes and spaces we know well. Having grown up in Vermont, I feel especially connected to the histories of old New England homes. I’m interested in how we interact with and transform our homes to be ours and how that built space forms us in return and lives in its own timeline beyond ours. Plenty of my own feelings and thoughts and personal histories go into the work but there is rarely anything specific I want viewers to interpret. I always hope that its material nature draws people in, and ideally, I love when the work can connect to something more universal and elicit feelings from a viewer’s own life and experiences. Hearing what the work means to others is also often illuminating for my process.
Who inspires you in your life, whether it be artistically or otherwise?
My parents are very artistic and growing up in a creative household laid a foundation for my work. They have always been inspiring, both artistically and otherwise (and probably some of the only parents who said “finally” when I decided to pursue an MFA). I get a lot of inspiration from my friends and the artistic community in New York City. There is always a wealth of art to see and openings to attend. I feel like I am always surrounded by an amazing amount of inspirational talent.
What keeps you going as an artist? Where do you find that creative drive?
The creative drive feels innate--making art is just what I want to do. Of course, it ebbs and flows and when I feel uninspired, I try to give myself time and focus on other things. I find that reading really good writing will often bring it back. When writing sparks feelings and creates images, or if it gives me a new perspective related to my work, I will start working again. I often stumble upon certain artworks that will bring it back as well. Overall, I try to block out the noise and just follow my interests and vision. I think that’s a really important thing for a healthy practice and it’s something I always try to keep in mind.
Tell us about your primary goal for the future. Has this goal changed over time?
I think in the past my goal was to spend most of my time doing something that drives and inspires me and makes me feel like myself. Focusing on my art career has done that and my goal for the future is to continue to follow my interests, build a good community, and make work that I’m proud of.