"I have always strived to live an artful life. I believe you do this by connecting with an art-filled community."
Catherine A. Palmer received her BFA from the University of Minnesota. Her subject matter can be identified as a conversation with the world she lives in, influenced by feminism, personal circumstance and the on-going attempt to create a pure art object. She has been exhibiting in Minneapolis since 1997 in galleries, community colleges, and coffee houses. She actively volunteers for a variety of arts institutions too.
What inspires me the most about Catherine, beyond her intuitive colorful paintings, is her commitment to community and sustaining a career as an artist. If you were to ask me: Jes, how do you sustain your practice as an artist? I would say: To make sure that you fill your life with art. That doesn't mean only making art. That means knowing other artists, seeing art, appreciating art, supporting the arts, collaborating, and making your life full of art...as you make art...whatever that art is!
That's why I admire Catherine. When I think of folks in the Twin Cities that live a life dedicated to the arts, I think of Catherine. Please learn more about her practice and the projects she's been working on by reading my interview below. Admire on!
Jes: What’s your approach to getting a new piece going? What’s your process of creation?
Catherine: It really depends on what I am going for. But mostly I just like to get jiggy with it. I work very intuitively. I will have a loose idea and then I try to flush it out onto the canvas or paper. I am currently working on figurative abstractions. Step one was to go to a figure drawing co-op. Step two is to take those same drawings and try to make something cool happen.
Your work is abstracted yet often it is figure based. Can you tell me about your visual art and where you find inspiration for your images?
For the most part, I am trying to make still posed people look like they are dancing. The inspiration comes from my love of dancing and the love of mark-making. I loved to roller skate as a kid and as a young adult, I spent many years in different bars, raves and circuit parties. I would host and throw parties. Club, House, techno, trans, disco, funk ECT. It was all about dancing for me and this continues into my art.
I am attracted to how you use bright colors or high contrast in your paintings. Can you talk more about what leads you to select the color palette you work with?
I love color. My only rule is that I don't use phthalo green on it own straight out of the tube. I don't really have a philosophy about it. I just like it and use color as the color presents its need. I am really into fluorescent colors currently.
What’s your studio like? How often do you get to be in your studio?
I have a studio now at the Solar Arts Building. I try to get there as much as I can. I normally go to the studio two to three times a week. I work a 40 hour day job. I would love to be at the studio more often, but bills take precedence.
Since I have known you I have noticed your deep commitment to building community or staying connected to other artists. Can you tell me more about the artist communities you have been part of and why having community has been important to you?
I have always strived to live an artful life. I believe you do this by connecting with an art-filled community. I like to volunteer and dedicate my free time at art organizations. I currently volunteer at The Minnesota Museum of American Art (The M), Women's Art Resources of Minnesota (WARM), and on occasion with The Show Gallery. I am currently participating in The Show's CoLab project. I also help run a drawing co-op and an event called Fresh Art for WARM. I feel like giving back to the art community. It keeps me connected with it and also refreshes me. I get back just as much as I give out.
I read in your artist statement that you are influenced by feminism. I am interested in how artists explore or are influenced by feminism in their art. How does that present in your work?
Feminism - that is always tricky to explain. I'm sure that just the act of me pursuing my passions is feminist enough. I think I am more on the 5th wave feminism, which I basically believe that everyone is important and should be pursuing their best life and allowed to pursue happiness and be treated equally. I think art should be experienced and accessible to all.
What resources have you used as an artist?
I took classes through the library system that are put on by Springboard for the Arts. I was in WARM'S mentorship program in 2015-2016. I have done an artist in residence with Gallery 408 in New Mexico in 2010. I received my BFA at the University of Minnesota in 2001. I also participated in the Split Rock program in 1997.
Are you working on anything new or have events coming up?
My studio [at the Solar Arts Building] is new. We moved in April 2019. We are open the first Thursday of each month aside from July and January. I am working with my CoLab partner Mike for The Show Gallery. There will be a final exhibit and a jury selection for that. I just became a member of the Wyoming Creative Art Community.
Where can we find you online?
Thanks for answering my questions, Catherine!
All images courtesy of the artist.
Artists I Admire is a series of interviews with artists I think highly of.