What's your background in art? How did it get started?
Art has been part of my life; as long as I can remember. Being an only child there was lots of time for creativity. My family is really creative, they were always making something and making things just felt like part of everyday. There was easy access to all kinds of materials whether it be paper, paint, wood, tools, sewing materials… you name it, I would make something with it.
In middle school (Homedale) and high school (CECI,) visual art became a big focus for me. I always loved making art but this is where I had a chance to develop more technical skill and start to explore the ideas I wanted to express in my art. I then went on to the Visual Arts program and Western University and completed an Honors Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. Starting as a volunteer in high school, then working at the St. Thomas – Elgin Public Art Centre has been a big motivator because it really exposes you to art and artists in our area, I don’t think I would have ever realized the scope of our art scene, heritage and community without being there.
What inspires you? Who are your biggest inspirations?
I always feel inspired by looking at art, whether it be visiting an art gallery to see an exhibition, looking in books, sharing with other artists in the community or checking out art on Instagram. Seeing other artist being productive makes me feel like I need to get to work. Artists are amazing resources from telling you how they go about making something, a new medium/tool and they are a great source of motivation. Sometimes you just need to talk out an idea. Artist friends are generous and constantly help one another out.
My family, partner, friends and local artists are my biggest inspirations. Being an artist is not always the easiest path and some of what you make and do may seem odd to some, so support and encouragement has been very key for me. I feel lucky and inspired when you see people come out for shows, take an interest in what you do, ask questions and let you show up with crazy things to work on, leave out strange things to dry in the middle of the night that could be startling but they don’t even bat an eye.
What is your creative process like?
I like to be working on several works at the same time, often using multiple mediums. I am not one to use a sketch book and save the idea for later. I have an idea and I start on it immediately. Making art and many other things is constant in my spare time; I can’t sit still and just relax with a good book. I also like lots of sounds when I work - it could be music, watching a movie, people over. Art requires long hours so sound, lots of light and coffee keep me energized.
As you can imagine I have a lot of materials on hand at all times, the spare room is my art supply room but materials often live all over our place. Sometimes a medium itself can be the inspiration for new work, you may look at a material and that’s your starting point. I learn so much from constantly making, lots of how-to research, trial and error and switching back and forth between different mediums.
Do you ever experience creative blocks? How do you move past them?
I did experience a lot of creative blocks just out of university. I got too bogged down by the reasoning behind the art and I would not just get started. Once I just started to produce art and got out of my own head it really helped. Not everything you make will be for an exhibition and you won’t have to defend it in front of your peers and professors. Just keep making, you don’t have to show it to anyone, just keep active. Often my best ideas come from ‘mistakes’, you are forced to come up with a creative solution and develop new ideas.
Where can people find more of your work?
My work can be found at Gathered in Sparta, at the St. Thomas – Elgin Public Art Centre gift shop and sometimes I get to be part of local Exhibitions, I was just in a group exhibition at a relatively new space, Jac’s House on Sunset here in St. Thomas. I also love to take part in local Arts and Culture events like the Railway City Arts Crawl. I also post a lot of my work on Instagram @tippinkatelyn, people can message me if they are interested in something or get in touch for commissions.
If you could grab a drink with any artist in any medium living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would grab a drink with Shary Boyle a living Canadian Artist. I have always been inspired by her work. Boyle uses a huge variety of mediums and does not seem to be intimidated to try lots of new things. She has represented Canada in the Venice Biennale and participated in many collaborations. I would love to talk about her career and inspirations.
What do you want people to experience through your work?
It is not down in any map; true places never are.