Interview with Kate Powell
Tell us a little bit about you; who are you, how old are you…
Hello, I’m Kate Powell, I’m 17 and I live in a humble town in West Yorkshire. I’m currently studying English, Art, Photography and History at 6th form college, and I draw and occasionally paint in my spare time.
What art work is your favourite and why?
I adore the work of Gustav Klimt because of his elegant portrayal of woman, his use of gold leaf, pattern and decoration; I just think it’s exquisite. I love Dali because his paintings are completely different from anything in this world, so full of imagination and wonder and so far from anything I could possibly conjure up. I also adore the work of William-Adolphe Bouguereau, his paintings are so hauntingly beautiful and delicate. I have many more favourites but these artists are my top three, and “The Kiss” by Klimt is probably my favourite painting right now, it moves me, it’s a masterpiece.
What have you been working on recently?
Recently I’ve actually been quite busy with commissioned pieces on the run-up to Christmas, so haven’t been able to produce anything creative in a while. After Christmas I plan on painting a bit more and using different techniques and mediums, branching out and exploring my own limitations.
What you want to achieve in art life?
I would like to be a fine artist, make and sell art for a living, have exhibitions, my own studio, and be fairly well know. It’s quite a standard dream.
In my opinion, I don’t really have a distinct style yet. I’m still experimenting and refining techniques, one of my goals is adapting a recognizable style that is unique and my own.
What are the most important influences that have moved you as an artist?
Rather than being influenced directly by other artists, I find that personal experiences and events move me in a bigger way. Someone very close to me suffers from self harm, and my involvement in “The Butterfly Project” has meant that I now incorporate butterflies into a lot of my work, almost enough to suggest they are becoming a trademark, because they mean a lot to me on a personal level.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
Beauty, love and also struggles and pain. I like to draw things which look aesthetically pleasing, but also sometimes want to reach out to people who are hurting, and show them they are not alone and that the world is full of beauty, and things can get better.
What does “being creative” mean to you?
Expressing myself, and knowing that there are an infinite possibilities in art and anything is possible. Creativity is freedom.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
To move out of my comfort zone, because I realise that unless I do, I won’t exceed my own expectations.
Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
I’m afraid not, I’ll need to create a bigger body of work which I’m happy with before I exhibit it. I will post any updates on my facebook page.
Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art. How do you sell your work? How do you market yourself?
I sell work in the form of prints on a website called Society6. I sell originals locally, I did a few commissions for friends and relatives and the word spread. I also get approached online through facebook/tumblr/twitter by people interested in buying my work, and I also sometimes have pieces up for sale in local cafés and bistros.
What advice would you like to tell to our art readers?
If I could give any advice to someone struggling with drawing, it would be to master a small thing at first. Draw eyes, or lips, or hands, or something else, over and over again until you are confident, and then build up the list of things you are happy with over time and piece them together, instead of jumping in at the deep end and trying to do everything all at once.
Sketch as often as you can, and without realising, you will improve each time. No one has to see those tentative experiments and doodles in your private sketch book, everyone is free to make mistakes and learn from them, and that’s the beauty of it. Drawing takes a very long time, don’t expect to have produced something great after an hour, or two hours, because it can take days (or even weeks) to feel happy with something, and I’ve found patience really pays off. No one picks up a guitar for the first time and expects to play it perfectly, so be prepared to accept that it could take a long time to master your medium.
I’d say do not draw things just to please other people: if you have an idea which you think people will consider “too weird”, just draw it anyway. (If you like it, it’s good enough.) Push yourself, and experiment with new things, but not so much that you feel uncomfortable. If you don’t feel happy using paints, there’s no harm in sticking to pencils!
Also, look at other people’s work to find inspiration, but never see at it and say “My work isn’t as good as that, I might as well give up now”, because that will do not good at all. I could look at other’s work and think my drawings are inferior, but that would not help my progress at all. We all work differently, with different approaches and techniques, so you can’t directly compare your work to someone else’s and say it is not good enough, because every artist is unique. Never put yourself down or underestimate your ability, and never give up. Keep drawing, it’s good for the soul.