In conversation with abstract expressionist artist Kat Evans. Kat studied at the Norwich School of Art and works from her home studio in Essex.
Can you talk about your journey into or interest the arts?
As a young child I failed at most academic processes but was always praised for my ability’s in art. I struggled to read books but found that the images were enough to tell the story. I was told I was dyslexic whilst studying art history at college, and everything seemed to fall into place, art was my future.
After I left art school in 2001 with my new found independence I did not want to move back home. I bought my first house when I was 21 and with this huge financial commitment came the realisation that I wasn’t going to be able to be an artist for quite some time.
Do you use a sketchbook? I’m interested in what a sketchbook means to you and your work?, or how people develop their ideas.
Whilst studying, sketchbooks were key. If I wanted to get a good mark for a finished piece I had to show the process of how I got there in beautiful illustrated sketchbooks. Now I am a working artist I don’t feel the need to show my working process. However I do use vintage art books for mark making, planning and inspiration.
A few years ago I set up and ran an online vintage book store, mainly specialising in vintage art books. I soon discovered that the individual pages in the books were worth more than the books as a whole. I then set up another store selling vintage book pages. This was a turning point for me, surrounded by the visual delights of art history I fell in love with art again. I was no longer prepared to sell the books and pages, they were about to become my canvas.
What themes are you exploring through your work? You talk about nature being a mixture or equation of order and chaos. I’m really interested in this themes, can you expand on them?
I always look at other artists work in admiration. They have a style that is there’s and most stick to it. I can’t do this, but wish I could. If you stand next to me and it’s quiet you will hear the whirring of my brain on overdrive. Layers of every kind feature in my work, animals, birds and botanicals, maps, past life, present times, influenced by my mindset and what really matters to me at any given time.
One thing I’ve learned early on in life is that chaos is just around the corner. And if you are ready for it you can work with it.
For me it’s is a constant battle with calming down the creativity, I only got back to art 18 months ago after a 17 year break. I have a lot of lost time to make up for.
Although I wouldn’t change a thing those 17 years were dominated by chaos it’s only since returning to art that I feel balanced and at last treading in the middle ground again.
Currently I am working on a few collections, Art Speaks, Great Masters, 80’s, and the Maybe Collection. But new ones are popping up all the time. With regards to order and chaos. I am made of it so it’s inherently apart of my working practice.
Fascinated by ancient philosophy, and my non religious urge to make sense of the world it’s how I choose to ground myself and and set my self free at the same time. It’s only when they are both working together that real beauty is present. My father was an alcoholic my mother a saint. Don’t ask me where I fall in my relationship with my husband!
Can you talk about your process of working. How do you work, how often, is there a particular pattern?
As you can imagine I’m at work even when I’m sleeping it really doesn’t end unless it’s to stick a bit of toast in my mouth.
Do you find the process of creating work relaxing or therapeutic? I’ve become increasingly interested in the relationship of the sketchbook and the work to the artist.
I make art to please one person only – myself.
I love the fact the when something I make doesn’t work, more often than not it becomes the foundation for a knockout piece. I tell my children to never seek perfection as it is not real, it cannot be obtained.
Of course I get down beat when a piece doesn’t come together, but then I stick it on Instagram and it proves to be one of my most popular feeds. I spend hours flicking through the pages of my art book collection, scribbling on them and sticking post it notes on what’s next, gifting the images I can’t forget into a new era and life time. It’s all about the pages of the books and how from the beginning they have influenced my life time.