I’m very pleased to have Cathy Taylor teaching at the inaugural Art-Xscape retreat! Cathy is an award-winning mixed-media artist and popular workshop instructor. Her water media artwork is a celebration of the patterns, textures, and color found in the the environment. Cathy is known for her ability to interpret a subject in a variety of styles. From her colorful detailed alphabetical designs including the Florida “Shell-A-Bet”, to her whimsical collages and multi-dimensional abstracts, Cathy’s work is represented in museums, nature centers and private collections throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Some of Cathy’s work is licensed for use on clothing, textiles, and gift items. Her work was represented by a licensing agent in New York City who secured rights for a fine art print of a collage which was distributed nationwide.
A popular workshop instructor, Cathy has been teaching since 1995. Past workshop venues include BIG Arts, Sanibel Fl.; Traverse City Art Center, MI; JC Campbell Folk School, NC.; Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, NC., Create Retreats and Art and Soul Retreats.
Cathy’s collages were juried into the National Collage Society’s annual exhibition in 2005, 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Her articles, “Anthologies”, “The Nature of Art”, “Rethink Alcohol Ink” and “Creative Spirits” were featured in Cloth, Paper, Scissors art magazine.
Her work was juried into the International Society of Experimental Artists annual show in 2008, 2011,2012 and 2013.
Cathy is teaching three classes at Art-Xscape 2014: Ink-a-licious, Magical Monoprints, and Mystic paper. You can find more information on all three on Cathy’s page.
AnLiNa Designs: Cathy, tell me a bit about your artistic journey. Where did you start? Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
Cathy: All my life, I had connected with art. I did some pottery, weaving, painting; but only in short bursts since….”You can’t make a living doing art,” “art is only a hobby,” “there are much more important things to accomplish,” “there are so many good artists I can’t compete,” “my laundry is dirty”. I was great at negative self talk; all the reasons why not. I ignored my authentic self and continued to search for my way to achieve greatness. I began to read books on living an authentic life, on the laws of attraction, abundance, believing in oneself. I sought the advice of a counselor. I found that in my headlong dash to achieve success, I had forgotten who I was and what I really loved. An intuitive counselor asked, “What have you always dreamed of doing?” I wanted to be an artist, I answered. Then you must do it, she said.
That night I put on some lovely quiet music, lit a scented candle, poured a crystal glass of “too expensive to enjoy myself” wine and got out a sheet of pretty rice paper and a purple pen. And I wrote, “ MY WONDERFUL LIFE NOW INCLUDES: And I made a list.
My home, my family, my friends, my health, my finances, my relationships, my career, my travel; everything well defined and in the present tense as if everything I was writing was already a reality. Then I folded the paper, put it into a little treasure box, blew out the candle, and went to bed.
That was the early 1990’s.
AnLiNa Designs: Are you a full time artist now? When did you make the leap?
Cathy: In 1995 I worked full time retail, taught at the local arts center, did outdoor weekend shows, and belonged to a co-op gallery. I had no vacations, no spare money, but I was establishing myself in the art world. As my workshops expanded and I was able to show my work in more galleries, I was able to leave the day job!
AnLiNa Designs: Describe your process for starting a new piece? Do you know before you start exactly how the piece will turn out?
Cathy: I collect interesting things that fill my studio. Swatches of cool fabrics, driftwood, skeleton leaves, watch parts, old books, sea shells..even a paper wasp nest, minus wasps. The shapes, textures and designs of these things inspire me. As an artist, i see things in an intense and curious way. This leads me to want to translate how I see things and express the feelings they evoke.
A quote by Picasso sums it up. “I start with an idea, then it becomes something else.”
I am constantly thinking What IF? I like to tell my students that this has lead to only one evacuation of my studio. I love to try new things, or use products in a new way. Purposeful play; process not product motivate me.
AnLiNa Designs: What has been your favorite new product or process in the last year and what did you like about it?
Cathy: I love alcohol inks. They are highly unpredictable, richly colorful, and extremely versatile.
AnLiNa Designs: Have you ever tried something that didn’t work? What did you do next?
Cathy: In the process of creating, the final product is not always what I had envisioned. I really don’t look at these pieces as failures, but just learning exercises. Generally I put these pieces aside. After some time, through working on other pieces, I learn new ways to approach the unfinished piece. I have forgotten who said, a painting is never finished, it just stops in interesting places.
AnLiNa Designs: Do you have a muse?
Cathy: Elle the wonder doodle and her sidekick Gracie May the Schnoodle are my studio muses.
AnLiNa Designs: Describe a day in your studio for me.
Cathy: Latte, check. iPod, check. Elle and Gracie May with chew bones, check. Mini Trampoline for loosening up, check. Joyful creating until lunch. Break and walk in the woods. Repeat.
AnLiNa Designs: Sounds wonderful? What do you have on your iPod, music or podcasts? I have both, but studio time is devoted to music. My current favorites are the newest TV on the Radio CD and Florence Welch’s “Lungs”. What is your favorite piece to listen to right now?
Cathy: I play music mostly new age background or world music. Sometimes old folk like Joni Mitchell.
AnLiNa Designs: Do you have plans for your art in 2014?
Cathy: I love love love teaching workshops and I have a full schedule this year. I also plan to contact a couple REALLY BIG galleries with my portfolio..YIKES!!
AnLiNa Designs: You’ve had your work in juried exhibits and in shows and the co-op gallery. What feels different about approaching a big gallery? You’ve taken some huge leaps – including the initial re-evaluation of your life and the choice to go for it with your art, does knowing that you metaphorically jumped off the cliff and thrived (with lots of hard work, sweat and tears) help you in this process with the galleries?
Cathy: Each exhibit, show or gallery is another step. I have worked with a long term plan in mind…a series of steps leading to the next level. I have achieved my signature status in the National Collage Society and the International Society of Experimental Artists which took about 10 years.
I have published some magazine articles. I now feel that I have the credentials to take the next step which is to approach larger, more well know galleries.
The big step I took in my life was realizing that I had the choice to do what I wanted. Sure, each choice comes with consequences, but if you truly want to achieve something, you have the power to do that.
I operate on a series of affirmations which I actually write down IN THE PRESENT TENSE as if the dream is already a reality. The dream, in this case becoming a REAL artist comes to be.
AnLiNa Designs: Do you participate in collaborative projects such as Round Robins?
Cathy: When working on art, I work solo. I play with others when I teach.
AnLiNa Designs: Do you participate in a regular art gathering, crit group, or other face to face meeting for the purpose of discussing art or creating it?
Cathy: I belong to several art organizations which do some critiquing along with sharing techniques. There are quite a few online as well.
AnLiNa Designs: What advice would you give someone thinking of trying to start up or find such a group?
Cathy: Get a couple art pals, a cozy space, some wine and go for it.
AnLiNa Designs: Last, but not least, what is your favorite part of teaching?
Cathy: The AH HA moment when a student gets it, when they create something wonderful. And the hugs!
AnLiNa Designs: Thanks so much Cathy! I can’t wait to meet you in person in April at Art-Xscape!