Q & A WITH KATE MACNEIL

CSA co-founder Stacy Huggins met with Spring artist Kate MacNeil and got down to the nitty gritty about her work.  Follow us down the rabbit hole and learn more about Kate’s work!

SH: What attracted you to printmaking as a primary form of expression?

KM: Printmaking has always been a part of my life. My mother studied printmaking at the College of Charleston, and my aunt and uncle own/operate Abaca Press in Buffalo, NY. I’ve been making lino-cut Christmas cards for as long as I can remember, and it only seemed natural to take printmaking classes in college. From there, I just got hooked. It’s a really versatile medium with a wide range of techniques available to interpret my imagery.

SH: You’re also a painter; how does that inform your printmaking?

KM: For the longest time I treated painting and printmaking as two completely separate things. Painting was one set of imagery, printmaking another. It’s only recently that I’ve started to let them work together. If I get stuck on a print, I’ll try reinterpreting it as a painting, and vice versa. Right now, I have a whole edition of lithographs that got messed up, so I’m just painting over them to see what happens.

SH: Who has been the biggest impact on your practice (living and personal connection or art icon)?

KD: Barbara Duval. She was my professor and is currently my supervisor at the College of Charleston. She is constantly pushing me to work harder and put more into my imagery, all while teaching me new techniques in printmaking. She was one of my biggest motivators to continue practicing art after college.

SH: Your work explores death and decay; if you knew today was your last day on earth, how would you spend it?

KM: Beach with my mom, beer with my friends, an evening with my boyfriend. I love making art, but in the end, it’s the people in my life that I value the most. 

SH: Last meal?

KM: As many oysters as can I eat. And a few cocktails to go with. Followed by more oysters.

SH: Where do you hope your work will be in another five years?

KM: In L.A., NYC, a few magazines, maybe. Just kidding. I really hope my work will be in a completely different place than it is now. I have a background in technology, and one of my next personal projects is going to be incorporating more tech with traditional mediums. I’m not there… yet, but hopefully will be in five years.

SH: What drove you to pursue art as a career?

KM: I’ve always been motivated to follow my interests. I’ve had a number of jobs working in completely different fields, but art seems to be the one that makes the most sense. It’s incredibly rewarding.

SH: You recently left a part time job at Apple. What is the biggest impact that’s made/making?

KM: So far, I’ve been relishing the fact that I don’t have to work 60 hours a week between two jobs. I’m really looking forward to having more time to spend on my practice.

SH: If money and wall space were no object, what would be on your top five list of art/artists to add to your collection?

KM: Kathë Kollwitz, Jasper Johns, Utagawa Hiroshige, Edvard Munch, and Wayne Thiebaud.

 

 

Kate MacNeil is one of the Spring Season artists.

 

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Q & A WITH ANNA HOPKINS

CSA co-founder Karen Ann Meyers, recently spoke with spring artist Anna Hopkins.  Anna’s work is fun, lively, and full of unusual color combinations.  Read on to find out how she spends her time as an artist, her process, and her future aspirations.


KAM:
When did you know that you were an artist?

AH: Probably last year, when I sold my first few pieces of art. CSA has also helped jumpstart my art career. Already it has gotten me commissions and gallery recognition.

KAM: How would you describe a typical day in your studio(s)?

AH: I make my sculptures in the College of Charleston’s Sculpture Studio. I get an iced coffee, put my headphones on, and begin carving wood. I paint my sculptures at home. I like to wake up early and have the whole day to spray paint outside. When I need a break, I like to look at my small (but growing) collection of art books. “The Art of Looking Sideways,” “Swissted,” and my new favorite, “Low Tech Print,” always keep me inspired when I am stuck.

KAM: You work between many media (painting, graphic design, sculpture, printmaking). How do you decide between them for each project?

AH: It depends what I am trying to create. I have dabbled in all forms of art but I would call myself a sculptor more than anything else. Generally when I paint, it’s for myself - just to see if I can do it. I am taking a screen-printing class at Redux right now. Its totally opening my eyes to new possibilities with shapes and color. But, sculpture is my favorite because it’s not 2-dimensional. I get to create something that exists off-the-page and in real life.

KAM: Why did you choose to make sculptures for CSA?

AH: Sculpture is where I feel like I can really stand out. There are so many incredible painters and photographers out there, but with sculpture, its harder to define “good.” Sculpture has given me the freedom to create visually stimulating artwork from all kinds of materials. My wood sculptures allow the geometric shapes I like to come to life. Spray painting them has become a central part of the process as well.

KAM: How long have you been working with optical art? How did you become interested in the style?

AH: I only really discovered this 60’s artistic movement a year ago while working on a school project. We had to curate a make-believe art exhibition. I knew I loved geometric shapes and bright colors, so I began searching for artists that used these platforms too. Op-Art has inspired my work a lot since then. Mostly, its taught me about color theory.

KAM: How do you decide on the color combinations in your works? Is there a specific color palette in mind to each piece? What is your favorite color combination at this moment?

AH: I aim to choose colors that work well together, but also colors that people might not expect to work well together. I like mixing dull colors with neon colors. I am really excited by the combination of mauve, bright teal, and dark purple.

KAM: You take care in creating the geometric patterns. What do you love about the patterns you choose?

AH: I love that every sculpture I make is different. I am not sure I could make the same pattern even if I wanted to! There is no “wrong” shape in my mind, so it’s hard to mess up.

KAM: What are you looking forward to as a contemporary artist in the near future?

AH: I am looking forward to adding more color to the world! Hopefully sometime soon I will find a place to have my own studio (instead of just my porch). I am excited to see where my art will take me.

KAM: If you decided to change careers, what would you want to be instead of an artist? Why?

AH: I love interior design. Aesthetics have always been my thing. I believe that the environment you are in can greatly affect your mood and how you feel. There is something so empowering about creating that mood and space for others.
Also, maybe when I am older (and wiser) I would want to be an art therapist. Art is powerful stuff and can really say a lot about your emotions.

KAM: Can you share a secret ambition?

AH: I (not so secretly) want to travel the world painting murals on big buildings. I secretly want to own a skateboard company featuring custom designed skateboards by me!

KAM: What do you hope viewers take away from your art?

AH: Happiness. My art is meant for everyone. Its doesn’t revolve around super complex themes. It is simply meant to be a visually appealing piece of existence that hopefully everyone can understand! I think people are attracted to shapes and bright colors. It’s fun art, but there is definitely a lot of thought behind the colors and skill behind the craftsmanship.

 

 

Anna Hopkins is one of the Spring Season artists.

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