Kevin ‘Kevissimo’ Rolly is an award-winning mixed media artist. For over 20 years he has lived and worked in downtown Los Angeles exploring the medium of analog photography. With the intentional deprivation of digital methods, Kevissimo sought a new, emergent look with organic texture. In 1994 he encountered his signature style of ’oilgraphs’ while mixing traditional darkroom prints with black oil paint.
Beginning at first with simple black and white prints, his technique grew to include extensive montage, collage and encaustic wax. By 1997 the artist had started to ‘perform’ his work live, completing the paintings in just 10 minutes or so.
Kevissimo’s photographs and oilgraphs have been exhibited internationally and are found in numerous private and corporate collections. The Pasadena Museum of California Art hosted the artist’s debut museum exhibition “Until the Road Forgets.” His current showing of “In the Time of the Judges” is on display through December 2016 at Art Essentials in Santa Barbara, CA. Magazines in Europe and North America such as ELLE, Mirabella, W, Brides and Detour have printed work by Kevissimo.
In 2015 Kevin was asked to create a nine-piece original series as the centerpiece for the upcoming movie ‘Magnum Opus’ directed by Kevin Elliot. The film centers around soldier-turned-artist, Daniel Cliff, and explores highly charged political and national security issues with allusions to Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks-style activism. The cast includes Louise Griffiths, Adam Harrington, Clark Johnson, and Pej Vahdat.
Having modeled the main character’s artwork after Kevissimo’s own oilgraphs, the artist lent completed works, cameras, lights, easel and his favorite ham radio to the set to truly capture his surroundings.
As a resident of the Brewery Art Colony, the largest and most historic complex in the world, Kevissimo immerses himself in a lifestyle of continuous making. He is a co-owner of the abandoned and repurposed paint factory known as Big Art Labs; a neighboring 163,000 square foot warehouse compound serving sculptors, fabricators and technology driven artist.
“You meet people along the way… The way stops and ports of call, villages of friends and lovers, all blend, like in a dream in the waking hours. This is how I see. This is how I remember. I cannot do it any other way. Light and dark. Gain and loss. The joys of giving and the pain of letting go. The lessons we learn along that road are often forgotten, for we are leaky vessels at best. We forget and journey back down the roads that are familiar. Maybe this time it will be different…
Filling up with life is both ecstatic and heartbreaking, yet we continually return to that well. It is still a hope, albeit faint sometimes, that continually draws us to travel further. We yearn to love and to be loved, to do something that is significant. That does not always happen. Brokeness is a necessity of growth, but pain is never wasted. Leonard Cohen wrote “There is a crack, a crack in everything…that’s how the light gets in.” In these images are my own story, my friends’ stories and, what I trust, are yours as well.”
I have always been interested in the hidden being revealed, both in people’s personal journeys and in my own. Everyone has a story. What I concern myself with is telling those stories with honesty and dignity. In each of us there is both darkness and light. To tell our stories without one or the other is to be disingenuous to our nature. In the end, however, it is the light that breaks through the darkness that I search for the most. Yet, the darkness still needs to be present. It reveals the need of the light while we are still in this painful theatre of our humanity.
For me photography is listening. If I do my job then the story is written in the image and ultimately tells everyone’s story. The process of revealing the image through the oil only extends the journey of the light breaking through. It illuminates what I believe is the world both seen and unseen.