Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Space In Time with Kate Senn (a.k.a. Kat Singer)

I became acquainted with Kate Senn (a.k.a. Kat Singer) via the loose association of artists known socially and locally as Twin Ports Arts Align. An artist in her own right, Kat has been an active participant in the TPAA Facebook community and an ongoing advocate for the arts.

EN: Where are you from originally and how did you come to the Twin Ports?

Kat Singer: I was born in Chicago, and my family migrated here when I was 8 years old. Although I had tried mightily in the past to escape the Sargasso-Grip of Gitchi-Gummi (or "Gitch, the Bitch" as I like to call her) I have recently made my peace with the reality that karma had planted my roots here too deeply to migrate elsewhere. Of course, just as soon as I came to that revelation, I started to really appreciate what the Lake Superior Basin has to offer... and even more, I began to notice the real artistic vibrancy bubbling just under the surface of Twin Ports culture. Now, (just as I am supposed to, I suppose) I am ever so grateful that I have remained here, because I finally understand the real value of the creative freedom afforded to communities that aren't awash in manufacturing, money-making, or marketing. What we have here is an opportunity to make art on every level of our community experience, and I am watching (and hopefully helping) as artists of all kinds "lead the way" in ways that just wouldn't be possible in areas with a more generic economic structure.

EN: What do you call this genre of art that you make?

KS: I guess we all find it hard to pigeon-hole ourselves that way, and I'm no exception. I aspire toward a New Romantic/Gothic/Retro-Futurism style.... but I tend to produce many things that could more properly be labeled "Creepy Kitsch". It could be that as I continue to perfect my techniques I will produce work closer to my aspirations... or... maybe I'll just make things that are creepier and kitschier.

EN: How did you come to take an interest in making necklaces and jewelry?

KS: Much of my work is about re-purposing, and a great deal of re-purposing can be accomplished in the arena of "wearable art." I like to scavenge rummage and estate sales for broken bits of adornment from bygone eras and incorporate them into something different, or give them new life, while still honoring their origination. Broken jewelry does tend to take wonderfully well to becoming re-purposed jewelry... and the time-consuming, fussy, detail work demanded by findings and fittings is perfect for occupying my mind on long winter nights in front of the Telly. It's also the kind of work you can do to keep up your momentum while waiting for a painting or a sculpture or a decoupage to dry. "Time Management for the Artist: Priming the Pump."

EN: How long have you been making this kind of work?

KS: What artist hasn't, in some way or another, been making art since birth? And who isn't born an artist? I just re-read this sentence... it sounds really pretentious and twee doesn't it? But, it's still true. Creativity isn't an ability limited to the exceptional few. We should all be able to answer this one similarly. To be sure, many are dissuaded by other factors, most notably the "I'm not good enough" albatross everybody seems to have hung around their necks... except for maybe Dali, who apparently escaped the usual self-esteem issues. In my case, I put much of my creative impulse aside while I worked a career as a government drone. Then, I retired, which gave me the time to do what I enjoy doing: creating interesting things from other things.

EN: Did you make the things on this page? What media?

KS: No. Those are memes I have grabbed off the internet. I made the things on the page next to it (titled, prosaically enough "Things I make"), but, I am a real student of themes, and memes, and all sorts of influences on the collective consciousness. I love the way the communication explosion of the new millennium has power to shape a shared understanding of our separate experiences. I'm also more than a little afraid of it ...

TO BE CONTINUED

1 comment:

Kristen Helena said...

I absolutely LOVE this woman and her work. Her talent is constrained only by the minutes available in each day. Reading this interview reminds me of all the arenas and/or mediums in which she is just the most brilliant creator. She is also the most incredible friend! I can say I knew her as an artist before I knew her as a friend, so I couldn’t possibly be biased lol. She is just too fun! I mean, how many people can say they've been chatting with their friend on the phone and hear, "Oh, I gotta go, I'm baking my dragon, and I think he's done"? Kat is phenomenal, a true original.