what is an oilgraph?

An 'OilGraph' is not an official term nor is it a standardly applied process. In essence, it is a hybrid of traditional film photography with oil paint and other media. Kevissimo made up the term because he didn't know what else to call it. 

In 1994 he was experimenting with a number of techniques to create an 'emergent' look of light coming out of the darkness. Finding no way achieve what he wanted through lighting or darkroom technique, he realized he needed to go beyond purely photographic means and turn to other media. In other words he needed something physically dark. The memories of his mother oil painting when he was a child came back and for no other reason than emotional recollection, he wanted to somehow use oil paint. 

He took a small black and white photograph, covered it with black oil paint and began wiping it off with tissue paper. He immediately discovered that was exactly what he was looking for and the first OilGraph was born. 

Over the years as color, montage, texture and even creating the works live, the essential technique has remained the same. Each OilGraph is unique and created with all traditional materials.  


Creating works live? 

In 1997 Kevissimo was lecturing on the art of film and story telling when the subject of the OilGraphs came up. An older woman in the back of the room asked, "I don't know what you are talking about. Why don't you just do one for us?" 

Thinking this would be incredibly boring to watch he almost dismissed the idea. But liking a challenge, Kevissimo photographed, printed and prepared a new piece. He decided to do a crucifixion. He put music on and simply started wiping off and adding paint and discovering this new piece along with the audience. Something special happened in this. He found he was making more quick, instinctual choices just trying to finish before the 30 minute tape ran out of music. But when it was done, there was a piece like nothing he had done before. Excited but still thinking that it must have been interminable to watch, he turned  around to apologize for how long it took. 

He then saw people had been crying. Not expecting that reaction, he recognized that the creation process wasn't really about him, but "another voice" greater than himself was at work. Because of the abstract nature of the oil paint, people would see objects and faces that he did not intentionally place there. In the case of this work, people saw a very distinct wolf's head. So he called the piece, "The Hunted." So he considers himself more of an 'usher' rather than the sole 'creator' of the work. The works always choose their own direction. 

In creating the works live, he still however thought 30 minutes was too long. He wanted an emotional arc that would not turn into what could be seen as a 'demonstration.' So he chose ten minutes.  His rule is that he does not touch them after that. The works are done when the prechosen music runs out. You can see the process here

OilGraph with bone on canvas // 24x36 // 1997


Is the work archival?


From the very beginning of  the OilGraph technique, Kevissimo has ensured that the works would endure. All works are made of stable, archival materials that have not altered at all in the twenty years he has been using the technique. 


How do I take care of my oilgraph?

Just like any painting, treat it with respect and care. You want to keep the work out of direct sunlight for long periods of time, away from heating vents and high moisture and don't hit them with a hammer. Though most works are on sturdy wooden panels with a protective varnish, they can still be damaged by negligence and poor handling. So just don't do that. We can't be responsible for damage on your end. 

To clean them of dust simply use a soft brush. Do not use any solvents. Pre-2005 works often do not have a varnish coating, so take extra care or contact us if you have any questions. 

If for some reason your five year old did hit it with a hammer or splash spaghetti sauce on it, feel free to contact us for advice. Damaged works can be restored, but at a cost. 


Can I return my oilgraph if it doesn't match my living room?



How do prints and sizes work?

We've worked to make it simple. Nearly all prints have only sizes that match their dimensions, but use common sense. If there is a rectangular work, don't order a square dimension or visa versa. With some images, some minor cropping may occur.  Again, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask or check the pricing guide at the bottom of the page.


How does acquiring an original oilgraph work?

If the work is available, it will be listed.  Works 8x10 and under will be shipped in a custom art box and larger sizes will be professionally crated. Costs for crating, shipping and insurance will then be added. With larger works or works from special series like "In the Time of the Judges," we would love to have a conversation with you first. Kevissimo likes to know his collectors and the homes his "children" are going to. For certain series we may ask that the work be made available for special exhibitions to which you will be credited as their collector. 


Does Kevissimo do commissioned work?


Much of his favorite work is commissioned work, but a few words on that for some clarification. 

  1. Whatever is commissioned must be photographed first by Kevissimo (with rare exceptions). So if you want a piece of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Kevissimo has to find a way to get those images on film and would require whatever extra that would cost. But he's good at figuring that out. Just ask. 
  2. We understand that commissioned work is very personal to the person commissioning it, but before one asks for a commission, look again through the body of work and can you see what you want fitting in with what he does? A good rule of thumb for commissions is a solid general direction and then allow the artist to interpret that. The more freedom you give an artist, the better the work. 

    A perfect example of one of Kevissimo's favorite commissions was by someone who wanted three of the most influential people in his life to  be in the piece and the only direction was "Do something you've never done before." Perfect. That commission gave rise to the work "Memory and Desire," Kevissimo's first white encaustic piece. 
  3. To start, pitch the idea, the subject and general size. Costs for commissions begin at $1000 for the initial shoot and materials. A full cost will be agreed upon before work begins and generally takes a month to complete depending upon size and complexity. We require 50% at the beginning of the project and 50% upon completion. But if you have an idea, please let us know! Kevissimo loves a challenge and values his clients' needs. 


Does Kevissimo license work? 


From book and CD covers to other publications, Kevissimo does license work out if appropriate. Please contact us and a simple agreement can be drafted. 


If I buy an original do I get to license out the imagery now?


When someone purchases an original work of art, they may own the physical work, but they do not own the copyright. Ownership of the image always remains with the artist unless it is a work for hire and copyright is transferred.