Interview with Kat Kleinman
Kat Kleinman | United States
Art allows me an avenue to express my hope for the world. I am a collage artist, focusing on floral compositions, because flowers symbolize my enthusiasm for using color to bring about large-scale positive changes, starting from within.
The photographs I use are my own, except for a few I have received from personal friends. They are never downloaded from a website. I take pictures of flowers everywhere I go, and being alert to the presence of a blossom initializes the intention of my work — to make people feel better, if only for a moment. I often use dozens of flowers in a single work. It is a process I find meditative, and a quality that carries over into the execution of the work.
The beauty of a floral collage represents healing, because fractions of color combine to create a new cohesive form. I am saddened by the self-centered rhetoric expressed by current influential leaders, and I am dedicated to creating art inspired by compassion, meditation and right action.
Contemporary Art Station : Tell us about how you got started. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I am somewhat unusual because I have never been formally trained as an artist, but a crisis in my life made art come to the forefront as a way to cope. It began by combining my small sketches with photographs I took of flowers, and I developed the technique I use to create a floral collage.
CAS : What is your process like, from initial idea to the creation of the piece? Do you usually develop the idea for a project before you find the "canvas", or vice versa?
I photograph flowers and hand cut dozens of blossoms to create each colorful collage. I may have an idea of a color theme to begin with, or I might challenge myself to use whatever flowers I happened to have ready. Either way, the flowers are carefully fitted together to look like natural coverage.
CAS : What do you love most about your creative process?
I love color, and I enjoy repositioning the flowers to see what impact they have in different combinations. Placement is critical in creating balance, and the challenge is energizing! I lose track of what time it is because I am so absorbed.
CAS : What role does art and the artist play in the broader social conversation today?
I think art plays a critical role in the social conversation because it gives us avenues to express our feelings in creative ways, without the risk of conflict.
CAS : Name a few of your favourite artists and influences.
The artist whose work delights me, is Yayoi Kusama. I think her work is brilliant, and it always makes me happier. This is the quality most important to me in my own work. I am also impressed by Frida Kahlo, and she has influenced my work as well.
CAS : What is the best advice you received as an artist?
The best advice I ever received is to continually create, no matter what else is happening in my life.
CAS : When did you discover your voice as an artist?
I discovered my voice during the process of developing my collage technique. I found that when I had the courage to show my work to other people, and to put myself out there in spite of what came back to me, I could become a better and more confident artist.
CAS : What advice would you give to emerging artists trying to find their own?
Don't be afraid to listen to the advice of others, but stay grounded in your own artistic vision.
Thank you Kat!