Kate is an artist who loves using vibrant colour to create completely unique renditions of cherished architecture; from the City Hall to your own home! After studying Textile Art at university, she began to teach art at secondary school alongside producing her own work. After 10 years in education, she made the move to become a full time artist.
She specialises in mixed media work, which includes vibrant ink, watercolours and tea staining which contrasts strong imagery with soft bleeding colour. Being based in Stockport, but having grown up in Derbyshire, she takes great inspiration from both the dramatic natural beauty of the landscape and the solid architectural forms which surrounds her.
Let’s get started with a quick rapid fire.
Q1. Your favorite superpower you fantasized about.
Flying. Who hasn’t?
Q2. When do you usually draw? Morning or Night?
Hmm, depends if I have deadlines! My preference would probably be evening but most of the time I dip in and out throughout the day.
Q3. Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
A bit of both- I think that’s possible! I love new experiences and a good night out with my friends, but also love to curl up on my own with a good book if I ever get the chance.
Q4. Who is your favourite Anime character?
Nezuko Kamado – Demon Slayer.
Q5. Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
Past. I need to find out where I left the car keys!
Q6. What is your last Google search?
Anime Characters- haha!
Q7. Which art style appeals the most to you?
I suppose if I was to categorise my own work it would be sort of impressionist, but I love all art styles from the Old Masters to much contemporary conceptual work. But it has to be visually appealing; for me a pile of old bricks as art just doesn’t cut it. Each to their own though!
Q8. What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?
It’s the small things; my lovely husband brings me a nice brew in bed before I get up most mornings.
Q9. Fellow Creators or Artists you admire.
So many. Art wise, I love beautiful use of colour and I recently got a stunning print by another local artist Chris Cypress. I also love things that make a strong statement or just make you laugh; I’ll never forget the Banksy exhibition in Bristol a few years back, and the digital artist “Jim” who creates hilarious images/ scenes all on MS paint is brilliant.
Q10. Describe your style in one word.
Q11. What is one missed opportunity that you wish you could have a second chance at?
I had a place at Goldsmiths college in London to do an MA but after deferring three times decided not to go as it wasn’t financially viable. There was (and I imagine still isn’t) any funding available for arts education at this level. So instead I became a secondary school art teacher.
Q12. An art or piece of work you wished you had created.
Anything by Van Gogh.
It’s time for a more detailed conversation, Kate.
You’ve answered our rapid fire so well, Kate. Now, it’s time for our readers to know more about the person behind the art.
Q. What’s unique about your style that’s been appreciated by your fans over the years?
I think people like the balance of something they recognise, such as a scene, offset with the abstract colours and shapes which create a particular mood. It’s a strange sort of organized chaos (a bit like my studio!)
Q. Do you hide any secrets in your art that only a few people will find?
I don’t intentionally do this, unless a customer has asked me to (recently I did a commission in which the customer asked me to include a subtle cow! That was fun), but often people will tell me that they see things in my art, often figures or outlines of faces. I remember a few years back completing a large painting of Manchester Cathedral and my three year old too one look and said, “What is that boy looking at?” as he’d spotted a figure within the image.
Q. What’s the toughest work you’ve created so far? What made it so challenging?
I had a customer that insisted on me painting directly onto his wall. I’m always keen that everything I do is in my signature style, and is therefore easily recognisable as mine. So I’m there chucking dyes and tea bags at the wall, while up a ladder, on a staircase and trying to avoid carpet stains. It looked good in the end but never again! I’ll leave wall paintings to all the awesome artists who specialize in that from now on!
Q. How do you progress from an idea to the final piece? Describe your process.
I start with photography; I will visit and photograph a place that I intend to paint and hopefully get a feel for what kind of colours will work. I then prepare the background colour of the artwork using dyes. I then sketch and draw the artwork using a variety of materials; inks, pens, acrylic, tea. It can be quite messy! Depending on the size of the artwork a finished piece will take between 6-30 hours.
Q. Tell us something about yourself that’s going to make us wonder more about you.
I make a mean cocktail but I’m a terrible baker.
Q. Well, that will keep you in our thoughts. So, what kind of art inspires you?
It’s all about colour- contrasting, bold and big!
Q. Interesting. What, to you, are the most important elements of a good art?
For me, it has to be visually engaging and make you feel something. This is in the hands of the viewer though, the cleverest art is when the intentions of the artists come through, but the viewer can draw their own conclusions, even if it’s not always positive.
Q. What does success look like to you?
It’s lovely when I see how much a finished artwork means to a customer, and how special it is. I’m so blessed to be asked to do commissions for people who love them. Also, these days this also means I can pay the bills, which is also very important!
Q. What inspires you, and where do you seek inspiration for something you’ve never created before?
Although I do have quite a specific process which I tend to stick to, I love immersing myself in anything creative and love to have a go at different things, although just for fun- not on a commercial basis! As I have two young children, we are always “creating” whether it’s crazy sculptures, cakes (not my forte) or recently clay bobble heads! Pinterest is a God send for all of this!
Q. How do you deal with pressure and deadlines?
I try and proritise in terms of dates and always over estimate the timescale I provide the customer with. Although there’s always one who gets in touch a week before Christmas wanting a portrait! I try and allow for these eventualities..
Q. They say time and tide waits for no one, and one needs to keep evolving to survive. How do you adopt and develop new skills?
Ultimately I’m running a business, and although I’d love everyone to buy original paintings every day I realise that’s not going to happen, and for this reason I also sell a range of gift items and prints featuring my work. It means I’m able to sell more, and also that everyone who wants to can own a piece of my work. Art should be accessible for everyone, not just those with money!
Q. It’s been fun. Now, before we wrap this up, do you have any suggestions for newcomers in this field? If so, what are they?
Ok, so it’s going to take a while for you to find your thing (for me, 25 years?!) and you’ll have to do lots of other things along the way to pay the bills while this process takes place, but you don’t want to be a carbon copy of someone else, you want to be distinctive and unique and above all you want to love what you do. So the most important advice of all is to enjoy the journey!