donna fischer | the artist next door | jan. 2018
In this somewhat cynical world of ours, it is refreshing to come across someone who doesn't mind letting her true self shine, even if that garners a few raised eyebrows. Kim Geiser is an artist working out of her studio in Cleveland, Wisconsin, whose cheerful personality is evident in her colorful works of jewelry, coloring books, paintings and mixed media art. With both her Facebook page and a coloring book titled, “Oh Hello Happiness," Gieser isn't shy about sharing her upbeat perspective.
“I am definitely a happy person," Geiser explains. “Hello Happiness is the name of my book and my overall outlook on life. Through my artistic lifestyle and many outlets of creativity my number one comment I get from people who see my work is that it is so happy; that's not an accident!"
Seeing her upbeat personality affect others through her work is one of her greatest joys, but Geiser's personality isn't put-on; it's who she is.
“If you meet me I really do smile a lot, wear ridiculous clothes and colorful jewelry and may even sport piggy tails in my hair. I'm 43 and it is not to be crazy, it is just who I am. My work is a direct reflection of my joy."
For nearly 20 years now Geiser has been creating art and she cites both her mother and grandmothers as sources of early inspiration. She opened her first store in 1999 with three other women. Around that same time she was published in national art and craft magazines, including “Somerset Studio." After a year-long process, Northlight Books published her coloring book in February of 2017.
“I thoroughly enjoyed creating it," says Geiser. “My editor was a friend of mine that I had met along my art journey so she made the process so fun and easy. I did about 60 drawings and about a dozen pages of content featuring tutorials on how to go beyond coloring with just crayons."
This is where Geiser's book differs from most.
“The pages are not super complicated and leave room for the colorer to be a little more creative and add a little of their own flair, which I also include instruction on. Each page is a stand-alone, frame-able piece of art."
An eye-catching addition to Geiser's array of crafted objects comes fresh from the chilly waters of Lake Michigan. Combing the beach may be a relaxing pastime for many, but Geiser actually turns the tiny bits of broken glass she picks up into jewelry. She tells her Instagram followers when she goes “glassing," before revealing photos in a rainbow of tumbled glass pieces. (This author had to look up “glassing," and yes, to “go glassing" is a real thing.) With skills from a stained glass studio workshop taken years ago, she fashions sturdy frames for each piece of beach glass that follows their natural outline. Talk about upcycling.
“The process is not difficult per se, but it does require practice and a sense of design to come up with the ideas. I go to the beach a lot and have collected buckets of beach glass over the years so using that glass seemed to make a lot of sense."
Her pendants are just finished enough to fit into the realm of jewelry, yet they retain the rustic quality of a material sourced from nature.
When Geiser isn't working in her studio she can be seen on local morning TV news programs, sharing her unique and approachable brand of art. She's also participated in pop-up shops in Sheboygan and Green Bay. Her main outlet for customers continues to be her Facebook page, Oh Hello Happiness, but she does open up her studio in Cleveland by appointment. She says her agenda is fairly open for 2018.
“I'm going to just keep doing the things I love to do: creating art and smiles! I do tend to work best when I go with the flow and just let things happen when they happen … I have learned to seize the right opportunities when they come along and because I have little to no fear when it comes to creativity, I am never afraid to take on what comes my way."