The interviews are conducted by VB Contemporary's director, Vian Borchert. Besides being a multidisciplinary noted international artist. Borchert has been a writer and art critic for over a decade contributing with art articles in a national online newspaper. Borchert gets called upon to cover and write reviews for major retrospectives and exhibitions in world-class American museums.

Photo of artist Lee Kaloidis
About the artist: Lee Kaloidis was born in Philadelphia, PA, to an American mother and a Greek father. Within a year the family was transplanted to South Florida where his mother was an art teacher. At seven, Lee began playing trumpet and was playing professionally and studying with the local pros in his teens. He attended the University of Miami School of Music with a focus on Jazz Studies. Eventually, Lee would move to New York, transition from trumpet to poetry, and spend all of his time with literature. In the 1990s, poetry, trumpet, and the visual arts began to fuse via intense interest in creativity of the mind. In the 2000s, the visual world overtake poetry and music and he worked almost exclusively with paint, though he writes poetry and plays jazz trumpet to this day. He has been a professional working artist since the past 20 years. Kaloidis’s work can be found all over the globe. His main collector is Norwegian Holdings. A documentary film was recently filmed in Lee’s studio in March 2024 and is due to be released soon about Lee’s art for the Norwegian's collection.
Tell us about your "Beginnings", how did you start your artist journey? How did your childhood influence your creative career path? And, how is your beginnings / childhood "Reflective" within your work? My mother was an art teacher, so I grew up with art. She would bring her students' work home to grade and assess by laying it all on the floor of our South Florida home. I would be invited to offer my opinion as she moved through the work on the floor. To this day, I still work on the floor and move around and around the pieces I'm working on. I was drawing earlier than I can remember and have been drawing and creating my entire life. Everything about my artistic life is a direct byproduct of her influence. At seven I began to play and study the trumpet. I had wonderful and influential teachers in my teens. I was playing professionally in high school and after and eventually attended music school at the University of Miami with a focus on jazz studies in the mid-'70s. Art is such a foundational part of my upbringing and identity that for years I never even thought about myself as an artist. Making art was like breathing. I just did it without much thought. I didn't even refer to myself as an artist until my 30s when a friend pointed out to me that I was an "artist." It came as quite a shock - "Oh, that's what I am!"
photo of artwork Bomb Cyclone
Walk us through your day from morning till evening along with your creative process? What does a day for "Lee Kaloidis" look like? Where do you find inspiration in the area by which you reside? And, What does "Spring" mean to you? Let us know what is your favorite flower or plant? Well, I'm a gardener, so spring is heaven for me. Right now, in April, bulbs are blooming everywhere and all the trees and shrubs are beginning to leaf out. Our entire property is landscaped and full of a variety of different gardens - shade garden, fragrance garden, butterfly garden, a garden with nothing but ferns, wildflower garden, fruit trees, berries, etc. Gardening is so much a part of my life that I paint from fall through the entire winter - October through March - then take off six months to tend the gardens. When I'm painting, I get out of bed at 7:00 a.m., make coffee and head to the studio where I alternate between practicing the trumpet and working on canvas or paper. Improvisational music - jazz - is the basis of my work. Speedy mark-making, unpredictability, wide range and scope, composition, fluidity, and especially feeling and soul. I think of my work as visual music. When I'm painting, everything in my world disappears but what is in front of me. I begin a painting and am glued to it until I'm done. That could be one hour or 10 hours. I don't eat, I don't take breaks, I don't spend time online, etc. I complete 99 percent of my work in a day. All the titles of my work are the day the work was done. Nothing about the region I live in influences my work. Though I do believe my work is predicated on "vision" - how we actually see in 3D space - even though it reads, hopefully, as pure abstraction. I use shapes and color and marks as placeholders for actual objects in actual space. So, as crazy as it may sound, I think of my work in many ways as representational - it represents "how" we see, not the objects we see.
As an artist, what have been some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career? And, what have been your best achievements for you personally and professionally? Who are your favorite artists and why do you find their art captivating? Well, obviously the biggest challenge most artists have is paying the bills. So finding a way to make a living as one develops as an artist is incredibly difficult. For me that has meant, up until recently, finding the best paying part-time jobs that don't demand too much time and sacrifice. Another challenge is living in a world where financial means is seen as success. If you're broke, you're a failure and treated as one. So no matter how dedicated and driven you are to your art, the world sees you as a loser. Pursuing art is a huge sacrifice. Most of my art successes have come outside of the industrial/commercial art world. I'm also a published poet and for years did nothing but write poetry. For several years I had a studio/gallery where I worked and showed my work. I did relatively well financially and avoided the insanity of the commercial art world. It was liberating and I would suggest all artists should try it. It was a privilege to be able to interact with people daily about art, my work, while I painted in front of them. Presently I have one major buyer, a Fortune 500 corporation that collects my work. I feel very fortunate since it is a situation that pretty much fell out of the sky into my lap. My favorite artists? Well, primarily they are musicians and have been since my teens. In September I will be 70. The artists who influence me the most, regardless of medium, are the "loosest" artists, the artists with the strongest sense of composition, the strongest sense of identity, the most original artists, the most daring and courageous artists, and the artists with a great command of craft. Art is not about craft, in my opinion, but craft sure helps. I like to say that one doesn't master craft until craft is invisible. I love the idea that my work can look entirely accidental while simultaneously making as much sense as an irrefutable math equation.
Instagram: @mrleekaloidis Website: http://www.leekaloidis.com/