Friday, April 2, 2010

Kate Birch - Flights of Fancy

I fell in love with Kate Birch's paintings the moment I laid eyes on them.
They're beautiful, upliftings and fun. I found them to be modern but to have since of history and quality I find refreshing and honest.

Kate graduated in 2005 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from University of Utah. Influenced by the decorative work of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. Kate work in deep with pattern and texture her love for textile design is evident in her mixed-media floral pieces. Don't think Laura Ashley they're not stuffy but light, colorful and new. Her work is currently being published by Poem’s Publishing and is sold internationally. Over the past two years her paintings have been used in two feature films.

Kate, I love your work and I think it such a smart idea that you offer prints. Tell us about your process for the originals. What kind of prints do you offer?
My process is a combination of additive and deductive layering of paint. My paintings certainly don't feel flat and this is due to the layers and layers of paint that I apply. I prepare my panel with an acrylic matte medium before I begin painting (this is what gives it the textured appearance). From there I work both up and down, applying stencil and paint and then both wiping and rubbing the paint away. I'm never really certain when I begin a painting where I'll end up, and that's what's so fun about the process. Usually I know when something feels done, but other times I can work on one painting forever and never really feel that it's complete.
As far as my prints are concerned, I was very lucky to sign on with Poems Art Inc. (my amazing publishers) a few years ago. They do a tremendous job producing my paintings into really lovely, high quality posters. I think it's smart for artists to branch out and make prints and use their work in a broader manner.

Your work is so modern but has is very rooted in ancient art traditions. What artist has had the biggest influence on you?
I've been inspired by too many artists to count. While I was getting my degree in painting and drawing at the University of Utah I used to go to the library at least once a week and check out as many art books as I could carry. I devoured these books in my spare time and fell in love with Rothko, Diebenkorn, Pollock, Van Gogh, Degas, Cassatt... My list could go on and on. I find a little something different to admire and try to emulate in each of these artists. In school I was also lucky to be surrounded by some great contemporary artists. I loved the work of my teachers John O'Connell and Maya Chachava as well as the work of some amazing graduate students. To this day, I'm always looking for inspiration in all kinds of art.

I love birds. But what has drawn you to their imagery?
I'm a big fan of birds too. Sometimes you find an image that just works for you and birds have definitely been that for me. Not only are they beautiful, but they evoke so much, like hope, freedom and beauty. I think most people have their own personal connection to birds, maybe because they're a piece of nature that can be found anywhere; a little piece of the wild that perches in our own back yards.

What was your favorite game as a child?
As a child I loved to use my imagination. My best friend had a pool and a barn at her house and we spent hours pretending we were mermaids or playing house in the bails of hay. I was lucky to grow up in a neighborhood that still had acres of land to explore and I spent much of my summers building dams in the creek behind my house and playing in the woods.

So did I. I think it's a huge lose for kids not to be able to discover themselves through nature.
Your work would translates so beautifully? Have you ever thought of branching out (pardon the pun) into stationary, notepads, calendars or fabric design? If so, I'll order the first calendar.
I've always dreamt of making my own line of fabric. Some day I hope to branch out into textiles, although that hasn't happened yet. My publishers are really great and are always looking for new opportunities so maybe some day soon you'll see my work in unexpected places.
Please let me know when that happens.
If you were a bird, what bird would you be and where would live/migrate.
It's funny that you asked this because I often wonder this very thing. I'd probably be a chickadee, definitely something small, the kind of little song bird that you see around home. I've never had huge dreams of travel and I don't think I'd be flying off on any grand adventure (at heart I'm a home body), although I'd love to sore over farmland, just high enough up to touch the tree tops. I love that your work does that for me. It takes me to the tree tops and allows me to daydream.

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