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To the Moon and Back, a Blackfalds Artist Meets with Wide-Spread Success

Ariane Kamps’s futuristic art is getting an otherworldly setting.

The Blackfalds artist, whose surreal works have made it into art magazines and galleries as far away as Louisiana, is now having nine images of her art transported to the moon as part of a Lunar Codex project.

This is a digital archive of contemporary art, literature, music poetry and film from 247 countries, territories, and Indigenous nations. It’s being launched, via NASA’s Artemis partners, to the moon in six time capsules.

Kamps couldn’t be more thrilled.

“It’s the craziest thing to be happening to any artist,” she said — even a case of life imitating art. Here she’s been creating figures in surreal, futuristic settings, and now these works will truly be part of the Cosmos.

The opportunity came about through Kamps’s gallery connections. She’s been exhibiting in juried shows all over the U.S., from The Surreal Salon in Baton Rouge, La. to galleries in Buffalo, Wausau Wi, and Philadelphia.

Kamps, has seriously pursued a career in art since 2017. But she’s been doodling and drawing since childhood.

“I was no good at math, so I drew a lot on my math book,” she recalled with a chuckle. “I loved escaping into art.”

While this interest tapered off as she grew up, Kamps felt the need to dive back into the creative world after she married and gave birth to her fifth child.

Staying up late, after her kids were asleep, she practised oil painting techniques learned at various art workshops in the Okanagan. Kamps was soon was taking portrait commissions.

Vox Dei in Cyberia by Ariane Kamps

She found faces the most interesting to paint because “we are all primed to recognize a real human face.” Creating believable portraits felt like the hardest challenge, she explained, “and I love the storytelling element in portraiture…”

Kamps’s works often explore the relationship between people and technology, “how these interactions shape humanity.”

She uses traditional oil paints, including neon colours that take on a different appearance in under various types of light. Gold and metal leaf accents are unexpected elements. Kamps discovered a greater market for figurative art exists in the U.S., so she began sending applications to galleries south of the border.

Her paintings have since been featured in American Art Collector magazine and in the International Biennial Portrait Competition. They can be found in galleries, museums and private collections from North America to Australia.

Moving to Central Alberta in 2023 from her former home in Penticton, B.C., introduced Kamps to a new art community.

She joined the Red Deer Arts Council and has already exhibited in a pop-up exhibition at Artribute school in Red Deer’s Old Courthouse.

She’s also shifting her talents in a new direction by apprenticing as a tattoo artist in Sylvan Lake.

“A lot of tattoo artists have told me ‘I love your work,’” said Kamps, who feels it’s a natural career move worth exploring.

Inking permanent art onto someone’s skin is a daunting new challenge, she admitted. That’s exactly what keeps her interested. Kamps’s work will be displayed at the Iron Siren booth at the Red Deer Tattoo convention in June.

Psyche Awakes to Eros by Ariane Kamps (2023)

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