Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Art of the Beat - Artist Kate Thomas

I am so excited to announce that in a couple of months I will start publishing a new series of editorials called "Tell Us a Story". It's focus will be to showcase art that tells a story. Often artists create narratives by using a sequence of images to signify events throughout the story, or by choosing a specific moment to represent the entire story. In addition to using images to create vocabulary, stories can be told visually by using color, line, gesture, composition and symbolism. Most of us are also illustrators and fine art artists in addition to being licensing artists. I'd love to hear the story behind one of your favorite drawings, collections or paintings. Share it with us!

Email me at creativeconcepts.ds@gmail.com and send one (1) low resolution image (or sequence of images) of your visual story, with a brief tale behind the artwork, plus one (1) link to your website, shop or blog, whichever you prefer. I will start posting in September 2012!

Back to art licensing - while walking through the colorful ailes at Surtex I noticed some really cool patterns hanging on the walls of artist Kate Thomas.


Kate Thomas Surtex 2012 Booth
So I picked up a brochure she had on her table and read this cool manifesto called "Art of the Beat," written by Kate. Here's an excerpt from it:


"Definition of order: the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method. That is what the act of designing is, making order out of chaos. This is why I am so drawn to patterns. Patterns are the drum beat.

Patterns bring multiple beats and melodies that create the story. Boom Boom Dum Clash! Mississippi artist Walter Anderson said, 'The form is there. The stories are told. Consider it and them as a succession of flowers opening.'

© Kate Thomas
One of my mentors Brent Funderburk told me, 'You must never stop telling the bigger story.' I have learned that I make patterns to tell stories. Anderson also said, 'The magic of pattern occurs regardless of effort and it is magic and musical; it is infinite variations on the same theme.'"

The Moon from My Attic: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your art? I've always been drawn to patterns. My sketchbooks are full of the same marks repeated over and over and over. Patterns are the basis for all human order. Patterns are the drum beat for the bigger story. Repetition is merely decoration. But pattern is so much more. It grows, moves, evolves.

I started life over at 27. I was working in the corporate offices of a bank going nowhere. I left my job and went back to get my second undergraduate degree in Graphic Design at Mississippi State University. I had not taken an art class since I was eleven. I didn’t even know there were different weights of pencils.

© Kate Thomas
I did this because life is too short to not spend it doing what you want to do. You only get one shot at it. I feel like I got my life back. I've never been happier.
I live in Jackson, Mississippi with my cat Weezie. Little Things Studio is my business where I sell prints, journals, stationery, etc. My amazing mother Cynthia is my momager who manages my Etsy shop. I sell in retail shops across the country and travel all over to craft fairs. Awards: HOW Magazine named me one of 16 Young Creatives to Watch 2012. I've been featured on lots of blogs, including: Design*Sponge, DailyCandy, HOW Magazine, Design Milk, HGTV Canada, babble, Print & Pattern, Pattern Observer, cmybacon, DesignWorkLife, Where the Lovely Things Are, French Sample Room, UnderConsideration, omgPosters and now The Moon From My Attic!

© Kate Thomas
TMFMA:  What is exciting about your creative work? The fact that I even get to do it and I make work that is true to myself. If it ever becomes just about a paycheck or being better than that person, then I need to either reevaluate my life or change careers again to hairdressing! haha! 

TMFMA: Is there a person or thing that has influenced you in your artistic efforts? What inspires you? I am heavily influenced by folk art (including Fraktur, Dutch, Russian and Native American), Alexander Girard, the art of quilting, Bauhaus, and mid-century record label design. Vera Neumann is one of my heroes. I aspire to a similar career path as hers.

TMFMA: What project are you currently working on? Little Things Studio is what I'm always working on. I'm always trying to expand my product line and push myself as an artist. I will be soon opening up an "art of the beat" Etsy shop as well. I'm creating one-of-a-kind pieces for that. Still have a ways to go. I also have a part-time job at a local magazine and I have several clients that I do graphic design work for. 

TMFMA: Tell us of your experience as an art licensing artist. I am technically not an art licensing artist because I have not signed any contracts yet! Surtex was my first time to have exposure in the surface design industry. But I hope that will change soon!!! 

© Kate Thomas
TMFMA: Any important tips and tricks you can share or anything else you'd like to share?  If you are wanting to get into this field, FIND A MENTOR. Read, research, and don't be afraid to ask for help. I have been amazed at how kind so many surface designers are, how willing they are to share and help. 

TMFMA: What are your future aspirations and goals? I want my own line of Little Things Studio stores. I also have dreams of fabric and wrapping paper. It has been a long time dream of mine - to walk into Target and see my Christmas wrapping paper. But truthfully, I want to make work I'm proud of, edgy and fabulous, and that is affordable for normal everyday folks. 

Kate's links:

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