Usually colour inspires me to create a new piece. It might be an unusual colour combination in a tulip or a calming turquoise in the lake at the cottage. I say that I am a self-indulgent painter – I love colour and that is what I paint. I tend to work through a family of colours – i.e. red/pink/orange for a while and then I need to refresh and work with the cooler and more restrained blue/green/teal family.
You’ve battled both in Art Battle and Art Battle Cage Matches. Describe your experiences, what did you take away from each?
Both were amazing experiences in very different ways. The reason that I wanted to participate in Art Battle initially and later Cage Match is that I believe it is really beneficial as an artist to push beyond your comfort level – nothing like having to create something that you might actually be proud of …in 20 minutes! A heady experience when you realize how quickly something interesting really can come together. The first Art Battle I participated in was a complete surprise. I had never been to one and had no idea what to expect. I had a blast and did use that fast technique on future paintings – I liked the immediacy of the palette strokes. Loved doing the cage match. Being in the cage with Karen Taylor was a such a high – I have not laughed that hard in ages. Again, not knowing what to expect meant that we had to roll with it and just soak up the experience.
How did growing up in a creative home affect the way you choose to live your life?
I guess that I didn’t realize until I was older that I did live in a house where creative expression was encouraged and a basic part of everyday life. My Mum did batik and played guitar, my Dad played piano occasionally and took a creative writing course, my brother was into music and my sister, Helen Utsal is a painter. My Grandmother was a professional artist so we always had a lot of art on the walls. It was only as I got older that I realized what a gift this was. When I decided to pursue an education in art, obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western, I was supported.
You’re in the process of putting together a book based on your work, what is the concept behind it?
A long time in creation but a concept I have been working on for a while; it combines my love of gardening, photography and painting. I have always been fascinated by the Victorian Language of Flowers – where the courtiers used certain flowers in a posy to communicate messages. Beyond the red roses = love, you have Orange Lilies that symbolize wealth and the Daffodil for unrequited love. The book consists of a macro photographs of flowers (many from my garden), the language definition of that flower and the abstract painting that was inspired by the photo. Hoping to have it completed this year.
Why do you think abstraction is an important type of expression?
I think that abstraction eliminates the noise. As an artist, I can be inspired by many things and can distil the experience to clear lines, colour and composition. With nothing that is representational to distract the viewer, I feel that I can communicate things in a more emotional way. That said, some people have a challenge in understanding abstract work. By creating titles (often flower based), I provide a starting point, or road map, that enables them to safely start their exploration.
Tell us a little bit about the group show you are showing in at the Arta Gallery, who are you exhibiting with?
Our show is called “Sustenance” and is about the things that inspire us as artists and fuel as us people. Working in a creative world it is important to be supported by influences that help to cultivate new ideas. Each of us will seek to explore those areas in their lives which nourish and sustain their visual interpretation of the world: the colour and movement of nature; the profoundness and vibrancy of our friends. This is a show by the ColourShift Abstract Art Collective and consists of Sann Sann Lam, Karen Taylor, Lisa Hickey, Scott Garant and myself. For me, it has been incredibly rewarding to be a part of this very talented group – we have learned from each other and encourage each other to constantly push forward to the next idea, next show, next step in the process of doing something new. The opening is April 11th and the show runs until the 23rd.
For future Art Battle painters, what is your best Battle tip?
Have a glass of wine and be in the moment to absorb the great energy from the crowd and the other artists. I am not sure that planning ahead provides the best experience – I like to wing it, stretch myself, enjoy the audience and see what happens.
Kate Taylor will be painting at Art Battle 48, Tuesday March 28, The Great Hall, 1087 Queen Street West 730
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