Kim Cogan Debuts With Surf Motel

We are extremely excited to welcome in San Francisco artist Kim Cogan as he debuts with Surf Motel, a painting from his recent solo show Sea Change. Kim Cogan’s work has been featured in countless magazines and last year he was named one of American Artist’s 75 Greatest Artist Of All Time, and we definitely agree. Read on for more on Kim Cogan, both in the words of San Francisco Chronicle arts writer Kenneth Baker, as well as his own in our exclusive 1xRUN Thru Interview with Kim as he tells about his debut print with 1xRUN Surf Motel, his early influences and much more…


“Kim Cogan practices realism with an abstract painter’s feel and taste for rich surface detail and color nuances. He studies interior light and light passing between inside and outside, as carefully as he has daylight and street light on building facades.

Architecture puts Cogan in his stride. It permits the slight exaggerations and distortions by which he evokes so well the instabilities of vision.

When I learned that San Francisco painter Kim Cogan had undertaken seascapes, I thought he might finally have overreached.

A prodigious painter of architecture and light, Cogan has revivified both the San Francisco cityscape and the realism that he practices to describe it. But as his recent pictures at Hespe attest, the ocean presents very different challenges.

For one thing, the ocean never stands still – the opposite of architecture in that respect.

Cogan found that fixing a credible image as a starting point required synthesizing information from unnumbered photographs, yet no one will mistake the finished paintings for photo-realism.  Cogan’s technique, regardless of the subject, yields something less explicit than a photograph or even a focused gaze.” – Art Critic Kenneth Baker

Photo by Kevin Tyler Muncy1xRUN Thru Interview
Surf Motel by Kim Cogan

1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this painting, is the original still for sale?
Kim Cogan: “Surf Motel,” was included in my 2012 solo exhibition, “Sea Change.” The original painting was created using oil on canvas and was 48″ X 60″ inches. It is sold.

1xRun: Anything immediate you would like us to highlight about this piece?
Kim Cogan:  At first glance one notices the obvious, but upon a closer look beyond the color and glow of the lights, the painting conveys character and provokes a mood, insight to a deeper thought or memory.


1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?    
Kim Cogan:  “Sea Change” was a show that focused and drew inspiration from the ocean and coastal surroundings. The “Surf Motel,” fit harmoniously.

Photo by Kevin Tyler Muncy

1xRun: How long did this piece take from start to finish?    
Kim Cogan: About 2 – 3 months working off and on.


1xRun: What is unique about this piece compared with some of your other work?     
Kim Cogan:  Each piece of artwork that I create is never duplicated and one of a kind. What sets this painting apart from others, is the way the light is portrayed and the luminous color, along with the bold brushstrokes, layering of paint, and the mood.

1xRun: Why should people buy this print?    
Kim Cogan:  Buy it only if it speaks to you and you love it. Nothing else is of importance. This painting is now in a private collection, and most likely will never to be seen by the general public, but now you can enjoy this painting as a print and compared to the original it is an affordable alternative. But that isn’t as important as the first reason.

1xRun: Describe Surf Motel in one gut reaction word for us.    
Kim Cogan:  Sorry no vacancy.1xRun_Kimg-Cogan_Surf-Motel_18x15_Email-B1xRun: When did you first start creating art? What was your first piece?      
Kim Cogan: As soon as I could hold a pencil. I can not think of a time when I was not being creative.  As far as my first piece, I don’t remember, I have been painting and drawing for my whole life. I started painting oils 18 years ago and have never looked back.

1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?  What artists inspire you now? 
Kim Cogan: Early on there were far too many to name, but as far as a few genres, Renaissance Masters, Impressionism, Golden Age illustrations, Graffiti from the 1980’s, and comic books.  Now, when I look at art and other artists, I look for other reasons, not necessarily for inspiration. I gather inspiration from observation and experiences. Some work that I admire and appreciate is the Ashcan school painters, as well as Bay Area Abstract impressionism. I also like California coastal painters, and admire their extraordinary application of color. I enjoy looking at numerous photographers as well, both past and contemporary. What does get me really excited is seeing artists that use traditional skills, but instead of emulating the past progress painting by conveying present day.


1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work?
Kim Cogan: I start the day off with news to get informed and keep up with current events. Later in the day or early evening I’ll switch to music.

1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?  Any deceased artists? 
Kim Cogan: Hmm I never gave that much thought, but off the top of my head I would have to say David Choe. I appreciate how spontaneous in nature his art is, which would make collaborating exciting.  I heard he is Korean and has a good sense of humor too. As for the latter, it would be Rembrandt, I’d like to watch him paint and pick at his brain.

1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last? 
Kim Cogan:  Hmmm that’s a tough one. I will on occasion trade with few of my close friends for pieces. Now, ask me about the art I had the chance to buy but did not? Those I really remember, the ones that got away. As far as the last piece I bought, it was a great little Greg Gandy painting (pictured below) from a recent benefit show that we were both a part of. Greg told me later on that day that we should have just traded, but the profits from the show were donated for a good cause, so I am happy to have been supportive.


1xRun: How has 2013 been so far for you, what have you been up to?    
Kim Cogan: I am busy preparing for my upcoming solo exhibition at Hespe Gallery in September. Other than that there are some other very exciting changes are coming up in the near future.

1xRun: Any other big plans for the spring and summer you want to share?
Kim Cogan: I am participating in the Invitational Skull painting show opening July 13th at Maxwell Alexander Gallery, Culver City, California.

1xRun: Where else can people find you?
Kim Cogan:   WebsiteBlog