I just discovered that I have been painting for NINE WHOLE YEARS!

I never started before that because I thought “I could do it, so why bother” . . . What a weird excuse.

But then one day me and my Dad were sitting in a cafe in Orewa and he looked up at the art work (with a massive price tag), ever the entrepreneur and always seeing the best in me, he said. “You could do that Kate, you should some art. You were great when you were little” We talked about it and I definitely got inspired. Over the next few days he even went and got me some brushes, paints and canvases! I soon ran out and went for the only thing I could find; some gib board, which has only just stood the test of time.

I went a little mad, listened to a lot of Daniel Johnston, set up a very cool space in an a-frame sleep out by our house and painted a LOT. They weren’t very good. My Dad loved them all. I organically developed the idea of stenciling, just through the desire for a straight line, which was something that did not arise naturally for me. Soon I was cutting basic shapes, like a rabbit, a house, then it dawned on me I could do people.

That is when I did my Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction. This was the first proper stencil I ever did, and it is still one of my favourites. I think it would have been a few weeks into my new art adventure.

After I did it I have to admit I was a bit astounded. “I did that??” I remember it like it was yesterday, the whole world opened up to me. Anything at all could be on that blank canvas sitting right there.

. . . Then this is the bit that I can’t even believe myself. I realised ‘HEY AM I MAKING STENCILS?” . . I have always loved street art, I love the WHOLE DEAL but somehow I consciously didn’t notice that I was joining all these people that I had admired for all these years, albeit in a different medium. I know, it sounds weird. How could I not realise right? I guess I just had never even once thought of the actual process of stenciling, and how it was achieved. I was just too caught up in the process of what I was doing to click.

I wound up selling 2 portraits to a lady at the Real Estate Office that I was working at, which meant I could buy more canvases. Also I fandangled a small space above it and set up a community art gallery called Pink Noise. It was there to exhibit locals art work that were not welcome at other venues. Maybe I will write about that one day; just know that if I am going to do something I usually do it with my entire being. Start painting; set up an art gallery for everyone, that kind of thing.

I got pregnant with Ash not too long afterwards, and obviously stopped straight away. Spray paint and fetuses are not a good mix.

But it was too late to turn back, I had already uncovered that side of me and as you can probably tell by reading this on my website I didn’t stop.

I didn’t realise it had been 9 years. But I did find myself looking around my studio the other day marveling at what I was doing. More so wondering what on earth I would be doing without being able to vent in this fashion. I am sure I would have been doing something else. I am cursed as being an ‘artist’, I have always been. In fact I was too busy dealing with being an artist, I never even got the chance to create anything. There is basically no putting a stop to it, the ‘artist’ gets out in some form, whether it is positive or negative; that’s up to you. You are just blessed if you have worked out exactly what medium is the most proficient at expelling it out of your system.

I don’t know how it happened, but I feel lucky every single day knowing that I stumbled upon the absolute perfect medium for me. It has the exact look I want, these days I am a ninja and can achieve any kind of thing that I want with a stencil, and I know if I wanted to further it I could.

There is an element of freehand painting on the stencils sometimes, the final result is not all 100% raw stencil every single time, that part is interesting and I have found I can paint okay too. I can actually draw pretty well, my Dad was an amazing artist and he definitely passed that down to me. I choose to use stencils over drawing, one day I will outgrow stencils but I have nowhere near gotten to the end of this experiment yet, it is all still in my head waiting to bust out.  I even get to incorporate photography into my art work, which is what I have been really, really wanting to explore, I am not joking there is so much more to get out!

A superbly silly part of my art work is the destruction of a perfect stencil. I cut them, they are perfect; I spray them and they are imperfect due to my style. Then the stencil gets thrown in the bin. I even mess them up on purpose sometimes if they turn out too well in the painting. I purposefully make things unpleasant to the eye sometimes; lines and even colours, and besides photos I am the only person that gets to see the stencil in it’s full glory. Hhhm perhaps I have a god complex? The relationship to beauty, perfection, destruction and imperfection is a very cliche, well worn artists jam. I am not done with it yet. . .

The actual painting side of it, the classic ‘art’ part, the colours and techniques and composition etc, I certainly have learnt a lot about it. I do certain things and know the what the result will be. But to be honest I have never expended any effort at all in this department. I paint, it happens, it is largely autonomous. I don’t even take credit for it, it kind of happens behind the scenes for me. I am probably not actually very good at it. It just is what it is, I like it.

My Dad passed away 6 months ago. He left all his art to me, this of course included my own art. I now have back all of my first, not very great but loved by someone, art work on falling apart gib, and dusty old canvases. If it wasn’t for my Dad I would have painted over them I am pretty sure. There are also some decent ones there that my Dad ‘needed to own’. . oftentimes this came precisely when needed to buy some new art supplies or pay a bill because he insisted on paying for them all.

I painted his casket, with frogs and a David Bowie lightening bolt. I know he would have loved it and said ‘Wikid Kate’ if he had of seen it.

I didn’t set out to write about my Dad, but on reflection I wouldn’t be doing any of this without him. I did know it the whole time too, he was 100% my biggest fan. I will keep doing what I am doing and I know for fact he will be proud of me.

By now I guess a few other people have joined my Dad in supporting me, and I would most certainly not be able to have gotten where I am today without their encouragement. If you are reading this and you have some of my art work on your wall; then I mean you. If you have ever commented on or shared one of my posts on Facebook; I mean you. The people that have purchased one of my canvases just when I was running low on paint, you had no idea but you buying that canvas meant I can make another one.

Over the years I have been in the dire situation of ‘that one print I sell means I can go and buy some food’. Thankfully I am not there at the moment, all I need is some speakers for my studio and that is far from a big deal. But I am so eternally grateful and in love with every single person that has helped me in my art adventure. . . . .  for a whole 9 years!? Amazing! x