artist profile: caiti stevens
Where are you based and what is your medium of choice?
ACT, Painting on canvas.
Name three interesting facts about yourself:
I am a vegetarian and have been for several years- I did try to do it earlier but I didn’t know how to cook back then so it didn’t work so well initially.
I write short stories- sometimes as short as 300 words and often many of my artworks are based off them or inspired by a character that I created.
I have completed a Bachelor degree, AWARD school, and am now doing my diploma of design because for some reason I love to study.
What are the main focuses of your practice?
I really believe that art is a way to tap into the subconscious and make sense of it- and my mind makes no sense so it definitely helps! I usually try to stick with a theme when I am creating for an exhibition, but 90% of the time I just get a good idea, lock myself away with a canvas and try to explore where that art is going as I am painting. I also try to avoid planning out a painting- it takes the fun way from it, instead I explore the artwork as it is created and see where it goes- trying to illustrate the emotion or thought I am experiencing at the time.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am a hoarder of things that inspire me, collecting any postcards, books, photos or paintings that I love. I have a really big book where I have glued in every card, quote or photo that I love and keep that near me when I am desperate for ideas. I also find that going into the outdoors is really where I get my inspiration- I feel relaxed and free and my mind starts racing with new ideas.
Do you have any key influences?
Absolutely, I was brought up in a house packed full of stories and art so it started there with my parents who led me in this direction of creativity.
Then I discovered Jean Michel Basquiat who was my first major inspiration and who massively influenced my major college piece- and remains to today.
Shaun Tan is also a huge one; he inspired me in both written and visual ways with his short stories and illustrations and I hope one day to also write and illustrate a book as amazing as his.
And, Josephine Baker who is the woman of all women- she was a dancer, singer, actress, part of the civil rights movement and a French spy- if you ever want to be inspired by how much one person can achieve- look no further than her.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am trying to create a themed collection of paintings at the moment. I have a few which explore the concept of where you want to live when you grow up, in a more abstract sense. I am seeing where this leads me!
What’s the best part about working as an artist, and what do you find challenging?
The best part would be the ability to be able to conceptualize and illustrate the nonsense that goes on within my mind into an image that people can understand and hopefully like. Sometimes I come up with the weirdest stories, but when they’re illustrated- people tend to believe them a bit more.
The hardest part is getting known as an artist, and trying to create enough work continuously to stay on the scene so you don’t have to start from scratch again in between exhibitions, or inspiration droughts.
Have you read any good books recently?
I try to read a new book every few months, but find I keep re-reading my old favourites again and again in between. So I will tell you those ones instead! Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran-Foer, The Messenger by Marcus Zusak, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. : )
What part, if any, does feminism play in your art, and why?
My artwork is massively derived from my own thoughts, ideas and lifestyle- something which feminism plays a part in. So often I hear the word feminist been misunderstood, with some thinking that to be a feminist artist I would not allow any males to see my work- or wouldn’t ever paint anything girly- but rather onto masculine women.
In fact- as a feminist and an artist it doesn’t change how much I love baking (which is a lot), and it doesn’t always influence what my paintings are about. Rather it means that I would like to have the same opportunities as any male to be able to show my art, and I would like to be paid based on their quality- not because of my gender. My artwork is created as an exploration of my mind- and as such everything in my life is thrown in there, hopefully to be judged because of its content not because of its creator.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
This is actually the question I have been asking myself for my latest art collection! I originally thought Berlin, but now I am leaning towards a massive tree house in the woods…
Do you have any exhibitions coming up? If so, spill the beans!
Soon… I am aiming for early 2015, details will of course be added to my Facebook and website pages