"The purpose of art is for people to enjoy it."

"All life is connected: ONE."

These are my theme and purpose.

I love making art that people love living with, art that inspires reflection and gives pleasure, over time, to those who live with it. Our world is fully spirited. Art manifests this, both as a product and as a process:

When I pick up the wood-burning tool and begin to burn wood, then a work begins to form.  As I see lines flowing and textures forming, I enter a zone (probably not unlike we all enter when in peak performance) and when working stops, I often gasp in wonder.  It takes my breath away, when what has happened is suddenly visible and concrete.  When each work ends, a communion of spirit and matter has occurred!  This is mysterious, thrilling and hopefully pleasurable for us all.  



Kathy (Ryan) Hirshon’s artistic talents were discovered at the tender age of four. Her artistic endeavors have continued in various forms ever since.   She has had many notable private commissions, including residential and public place murals. She has participated in group exhibitions and fundraisers in CT, from the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich to the outdoor art exhibits in Stamford (Zoofari in 2003, Reigning Cats and Dogs in 2010)...

She has taught art.  She taught art to middle school students at Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford, CT, for three years, developing a curriculum of her own, for formal classes and for K-8 activities in Art After School.  Teaching was her best training because teaching necessitated clarifying her beliefs about Art.  What is it? Does it have importance in our lives? What is the purpose of art? She herself learned, by finding the answers to these questions, especially: Where do we find the source of inspiration? Answer -Our ideas, the accomplishments of others, and the tools themselves. The tools themselves are doors to experiments and expression.  Kathy's own explorations have included: crayons, pencils, conte crayons and charcoal, pastels, pens and inks, watercolors, acrylics and oil paints, assemblages/collages with paper and felt, natural and found objects, recycled papers and canvas...modeling clays and fired ceramics, layering glazes, wax and plastics and NOW, wonderfully if unexpectedly, pyrotechnic tools - wood-burners! She used wood-burners to develop her most recent series of works, Spirited Trees... 

These works formed her first solo exhibition, Spirited Trees, for the Bartlett Arboretum in Autumn 2009. Spirited Trees met critical acclaim. It also marked a major shift in her creative activity and focus. Without collaborative input from commissioning patrons, she explored and expressed her personal vision for the first time.  The results were overwhelmingly successful by every standard, from rave reviews to audience enjoyment and sales, even to a three month extension of the exhibition's running time...print publications of the major works and an offer for a book to be published in early 2011. The experience has been life-changing for her.

Commentary by Camilla Cook, Independent Curator and Web Advisor

Trees have appeared in various world theologies as metaphors for growth, life and knowledge.  In her artwork series, Spirited Trees, Kathy  worked directly on panels of wood to depict the diversity of an imagined, cosmic ecosystem found within a tree’s form.  By burning, carving and digging into the flat surface, she created relief images that reveal hidden figures, symbols, objects, plants and animals.


Working intuitively, she used the unique characteristics of her wooden substrates - the rings, veins, knots and holes - as reference points to direct her resulting imagery.  Concealed within the massive trunks and upward-reaching branches of my trees, she uncovered forms that swirl together to weave a loose narrative of the various States of Action (including Being, Offering, Creating, Listening).  She finished by layering the surfaces with washes of color ranging from nuanced to intense: from sunlight-dappled yellows to lush, dense blue-greens.  These colors, while partially absorbed into the pores of the wood, also serve to reflect light and energy outward.

Look at the button on your shirt and ask:  could I have made it? Who did make it?  And you will be on your way to understanding: we are all connected, whether we know it or not.     Swami Sarvagatananda