Q&A with Drawing Winner Lynda Knowles
Tell us more about your work. What was the inspiration? What techniques did you draw on? What do you like about this work?
My inspiration for this piece was thinking about how convoluted the law can sometimes seem, yet at the same time how it all fits together as an (imperfect) whole. I think due process constantly evolves yet is always present in our system of justice. I have always enjoyed using ink, markers, and metallics in intricate detail. This piece was especially intense for me, with a lot of back and forth between the overall composition and the smaller forms juxtaposed and connected throughout.
How did you become interested in art? What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
I’ve always been interested in art, but it wasn’t until the past five to 10 years that I began to seriously study and use it. I enjoy art as play and exploration, getting in touch with concepts and ideas that are beyond language yet capable of profound meaning. I also love the focus of working in art, and the rush of getting lost in a piece and “waking up” to something you really like. I think art can express universal truth, more so than language. It’s a constant search for meaning and depth.
Why did you become a lawyer? What do you enjoy most about the profession?
To be a good person doing good things. I was an idealist, and still am I guess. I love the idea that the effective use of language within the rule of law can avoid wars, create justice, and maintain civil harmony. This is no easy task. I love the elegance of the law, its fluidity, structure, and continuity. It’s an amazing invention and I’m honored to be able to practice it on a daily basis and with attorneys of the caliber here in Denver.
Art and lawyering seem to draw on very different skills and different parts of the brain. How do you think being a lawyer helps your art, or vice versa?
As a lawyer, I work with language and words; clarity, intent, logic, and nuance. As an artist I play where words can’t go; forms, shapes, and texts ostensibly without meaning but ripe for interpretation. I enjoy identifying the big picture while organizing the details; something that is useful for both good law and good art and focuses the mind for both disciplines. What is different for me is that the art is more free-form without specific goals or deadlines other than its own creation.
Tell us briefly about your background as an artist and as an attorney.
I have learned much from other artists in my extended family, primarily my two daughters. I take ongoing classes when I can in calligraphy, figure drawing, etc. and participate in artist events and discussions. I am fortunate that the artist community in Denver is so open and welcoming, with many wonderful resources. I graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 1985, practicing boutique litigation and eventually moving to corporate work. I’ve been legal counsel at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for the past five years. It’s a challenging position as a generalist and in many ways a dream job because there I get to explore how law and science relate.