Artist Interview: Kate Klingbeil – Painter & Printmaker

Painting by artist, Kate KlingbeilTell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
“Hey, I’m Kate. I’m a 24 year old renaissance woman. Sorry, I’ve always wanted to say that. I’m a painter, printmaker, and animator. I grew up outside of Milwaukee, WI, but I currently reside in Oakland, CA, where I make art, restore vintage advertising posters, and run a small gallery space called Turpentine.”

How did you get started doing what you do?
“Drawing has been a constant in my life since I could grip my hands around a crayon, but it was in high school that I discovered printmaking, something that is the base of what I do today. I was an atheist at a Catholic high school, and the art department was on the sixth floor, the very top. I felt exempt from God up there, and we were given freedom to express ourselves without censorship. My high school teachers taught me that my emotions were valid, and that using my hands was the way to work through tough situations. After graduating, I migrated to California College of the Arts for a degree in printmaking. Half way through school, I jumped abroad to The Glasgow School Of Art, where I unearthed a love for animation. While in Glasgow, I discovered the power of movement to manipulate an audiences emotions, and that was a pivotal time for me as an artist.”

Painting by artist, Kate KlingbeilWhat’s your inspiration?
“I grew up competitively riding horses in the sport of Eventing, which is basically an equestrian triathlon. My artistic life evolved alongside piles of manure. I have always made work about what I know, and what I am trying to figure out. What I know is that everything is always changing. I make work about the rhythms of human emotion. The work generally stems from a life event, a hard decision, a lingering emotion. I see value in feelings. Chance and intuition, letting the paint speak for itself, intentionally making mistakes, and accidental pairings are important tools in my practice. I listened to an NPR podcast recently about mistakes, and the phrase “every mistake is an opportunity” struck me.  I am becoming increasingly attracted to the noncommittal painting, where I have the choice to move any piece or mark held by a pin. My inspirations also include awkward situations, play, water, accidents, heartbreak, obsession, lust and renaissance painting.”

What is art to you?
“Art is a universal language more comprehensive than words. It is also a sensitive way of life. Art is a curious exploration, a thought process, and the most peaceful weapon.”

Painting by artist, Kate KlingbeilHow do you keep motivated?
“I don’t feel right if I’m not making work. If days go by, I become severely restless. I have to make work to stay pleasant and sane. I feel this intense need to make in order to process my life. My hands seem to be my brain.  Each piece is a step in a never ending staircase to nowhere, which is great because I never want to stop making. Caffeine helps too.”

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
“I like to think of the future as a sunny place where I can spend all my days in the studio and I don’t have to take odd jobs washing other people’s dishes. I hope that my curiosity never runs dry, and that I am always free to experiment. Ideally, I would love to be represented by a gallery showing interesting work and have sponsored opportunities to travel.

In the end, all I can do is offer my own perspective on life as I am living it. If this causes someone to feel a certain way, question their own ideas, or want to make something, then I have done my job.”

Painting by artist, Kate KlingbeilWhat, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
“Don’t be afraid of mistakes! Make more of them! Mistakes are so valuable.”

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
“Humor is the single most subversive weapon we have” Marica Tucker in the Film !Women Art Now

“Sometimes you have to kill your baby” my friend Eva O’Leary on making sacrifices in order to cultivate a stronger body of work.

Painting by artist, Kate KlingbeilAny words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
“I am still trying to figure that out myself, but I recently told an 8 year old girl to “never stop making.” I think that rings true for anyone trying to pursue the dark path of life as an artist. I try to remind myself that experimentation and failure are the best ways to learn, and that it never hurts to ask.”

What are your thoughts on art school?
“Art school is like a marathon and life outside of art school is an endurance race. For me, it was a productive and concentrated time to learn techniques, meet inspiring people, and make work.”

Painting by artist, Kate KlingbeilHave any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
“For the past few years, I have been incubating ideas and pieces for a short film- an erotic animation from a woman’s perspective. Animation, being a medium of rhythm and movement, will be a fluid means to explore the complexities of sexuality. I recently attended a puppet making workshop in Prague, where I made an  8 inch tall woman with removable underwear. She’s complete with two different colored nipples and a pimple on her bum. I’m expecting to finish this film by the end of the year. Also in its very early stages is an animation about overmedication with psychoactive drugs in America, specifically dealing with stimulants like Adderall. These two films, for me, are both personal and political, and I hope can be seen as tools to help people to feel less alone in a certain struggle.

I am also working towards a group show in Milwaukee opening in April, as well as continuing to curate shows at Turpentine Gallery.”

Painting by artist, Kate KlingbeilWhat’s your dream project?
“I love making music videos, and hope to have an opportunity to make another one soon. The idea of collaborating with people who are outside of my medium is super exciting to me. I will make the video, and you can make the music because If I made the music people’s ears might bleed.”

What art supplies do you use?
“An etching press, a lithography press, litho stones, grease crayons, tusche ink, brushes, oil, acrylic, watercolor and gouache paints, Wacom tablet and photoshop, Xacto knives, plastalina clay, sculpey, paper clay, stonehenge paper, wood, foam, plexiglass, a pasta machine, wire, brads, colored pencils, calligraphy pens and a brayer.”

Painting by artist, Kate KlingbeilAny other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
Eva O’Leary
Izzy Solvang
Andrew J. Luck
Grace Lannon
Charlotte Drury
Mark Johnsen
Marcel Patzwald
Brooke Burrowes
Elina Rantasuo
Turpentine Gallery (We are always taking submissions for show proposals)

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