Briefly describe the work you do.
My work dabbles in a lot of different mediums and I enjoy all different kinds of work drawing, Illustration, film, quilting and photography. It lets me expand my creativity. My main focus is photography. My goal is to explore as many processes as I can. Lately I have had the opportunity to work with tintypes, a wet plate process of photography that started in 1850’s.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
When I was a little girl my grandmother had a painting studio. Every so often I would sneak into her studio and stroke her brushes on my little fingertips. That feeling of having the brush in my hand sparked an interest of mark making I never thought I could master. Which unlimitedly gave me the drive to be who I am today. Ever since that moment I worked as hard as I could to set goals for myself throughout high school, college, and after to become the artist I am today.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
Studios are so handy depending on the days I either need to do research, prepare a piece for post editing, or prepping for my worksite. For my type of work, my studio changes depending the photograph because it could be based outside in the world or developing within light safe four walls. As for my illustrations in my sketchbook I usually do those in my studio at my desk.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
When I firsts started school I had no idea what I was to go accomplish as an artist. All I knew was that I wanted to be an artist since I was four years old and I kept that goal throughout my life. I set goals higher and higher each time to hopefully become one step closer to my goal as a little girl. I know am teaching elementary art to students. Inspiring them that art is important and teaching them the history of art. Teaching little ones art has helped inspire me to keep working; maybe because it reminds me of the 4 year old deep inside me.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
I find myself blessed that I enjoy a lot of different mediums. So I don’t set a specific time everyday, I never thought forcing my creativity helped me, but I am constantly thinking. I usually sketch before bed and work on my computer during the day.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
My work five years ago was focusing on digital media, nothing with direction. I made open art; I did it because I liked it. Now I feel like I am more polished. After going on adventures to Argentina and France. I started thinking more on what does it me for me to exist? What does it mean to be in-between point A and point B of an action? This is when my work started to focus on surface. This is why I seek out so many different photographic processes. I believe that the subject of what I take / make can be interrupted differently depending on the process I use.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
I feel like I am the black sheep of my family, I am a creative thinker. However even though I am the black sheep of the family they have always been supportive of me, even if they don’t understand my artwork. Every once in a great while I will get “Why are you not smiling?” if a family member looks at a tintype. That is when I have to politely explain to them I am not going to sit still and smile for 15 seconds for my plate to expose. I have a few close friends that are also into the arts; mainly photography and they have really pushed me, helped critique, and encourage my work to see where I can go next.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I have thought about not being an artist maybe twice in my life. Once I thought if I was not going to be an artist I thought I was going to go into a field with helping animals. The other thought was going into a field like Chemistry. Luckily both of those times I thought to myself “Hey, I can still help animals I can take photographs of them.” Or “If I am working different wet plate processes I am working with chemistry!” In the end no matter what, like to create and tinker, and I kept coming back to being an artist.
Kate Earl is a graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts and Art History, along with her Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Art Education K12. She enjoys working with many different mediums such as drawing, filmmaking and quilting however her focus is photography. Her artwork applies different photographic processes to enhance the concept of her subject. Her work discusses as well as questions the human interaction and the relationship with other humans. Conveying a deeper thought to the idea of how everyone is connected. Whether it is pushing the idea of identity or death she ultimately questioning what it means to exist.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.