Artist Interview: Kat Baxter
When we first saw Kat Baxter's beautiful floral animals, we knew her work was something special. Our customers and stockists agreed, and last year she won our bi-annual Wraptious competition. Since then, she's expanded her range to include eleven botanical beasts (all individually named!) and her work continues to impress. We asked her a few questions about winning the competition and her unique style...
How long have you been creating art? I have always loved drawing but was able to really focus on it at Uni. I studied Fine Art for 4 years at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee and graduated in 2011.
How did your particular style develop? What were your influences? This particular style has developed from the drawings I used to doodle, not from something I had ever planned. I love deep shading and using shapes to create something new, and flowers are so versatile in their forms and colourings. I really like tattoo art and Mexican Day of the Dead designs with all their colour and patterns. I'm also fan of Georgia O'Keefe and her flower paintings and my favourite artist is William Blake. Not for the context of his work, but how they were created, the deep shading on his figures is always intense and the detailing in his Songs of Innocence poems is fantastic.
How did you start selling your art? I had tried selling my work at craft fairs and had a facebook page I could be contacted on, but it never really took off until after the Wraptious competition. The competition was a way to take that first step to selling my work on a larger scale.
How did you start promoting yourself? Facebook and social media is good for getting your name out there, and I was lucky enough to have an article in the Dundee Evening Telegraph in the Work Life column about being a working artist, so that was a nice boost locally.
What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome? My biggest challenge so far is being organised and watching my timing. I'm very new to this and learning as I go. A lot of artists work part time like I do, and it's hard going getting a balance between the two and down time as well. This is ongoing for me - not quite overcome but its definitely my biggest challenge so far.
What's the best piece of advice you could give to emerging artists, from your experience? From my experience I would say be determined, motivated and smart! Don't be put off by a set back, your art is awesome but not everyone will see that. Doesn't mean it's not true just means it's not for them! I won the Wraptious competition the second time I went in for it, not the first, I was ever so nicely shot down in Spring! Be organised too, and network when and where ever you can, and look for opportunities like competitions.
Why did you decide to enter the competition? I work in a gallery and giftshop that stock Wraptious cushions and got the flier for the competition in with one of our deliveries. I had also spoken to the Wraptious sales rep Alan, who told me about the competition and decided to give it a shot. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain and saw it as an opportunity.
In an ideal world, what would you be doing? In an ideal world I would have my own little gallery/ coffee shop somewhere, where I could sell knick knacks and artwork and even maybe do some art classes in the back whilst chilling with a cake from the coffee shop! Who knows, maybe my art will take me there someday, anything is possible!