Q + A with Kate Brash
Kate Brash, currently living in Charleston, South Carolina is an emerging artist specializing in large scale charcoal drawings. Still fresh from Allegheny College, she's on a path to producing fantastic work to study the human body.
1. What is your creative process when drawing?
At the beginning of any work, I usually find a few photos that inspire me or work with the subject I'm aiming to create. I'll make a hierarchy of my favorite references-- ones that I absolutely have to have in the work, and ones I could live without. Working on a mural scale makes me insanely excited-- by the time I lay the charcoal tone on the page, I always want to start drawing as soon as I possibly can. That being said, I generally start with as little as one photo reference, see how that ends up looking, and find other references that physically and conceptually fit from there. The whole process is a journey that's always variable.
2. What inspires you?
At the start of any piece or body or work, I usually look to artists that stand out to me. A few of them are Pichiavo, Jenny Saville, Duarte Vitoria, or Mark Powell. Having taken a wide variety of studio art classes in college and listening to the different artists that I was drawn to, I quickly learned that my favorite thing was the development and understanding of the human figure, and the ability to express it effectively. From there, I started doing a lot of conceptual thinking about the body, and that is where I landed on my current exploration. Much of my inspiration comes from statues of figures-- a direct commodification of the human body. I find it interesting that the figures people choose to immortalize are all beautiful and perfectly chiseled. In a capitalistic culture, I think the pursuit of optimization comes with an infatuation with commodities, and the subliminal desire to commodify ourselves. That whole idea is what my work is seeking to inform.
3. You work on such a large scale! What inspired you to challenge yourself in this way?
I became very close with one of my professors in college. I'd taken classes with him every semester - he started to challenge my work and my process. I used to make smaller work, mainly 20"x24", 16"x20", 24"x36". I would take up every last inch of each page, so finally by my junior year he pushed me to do a piece that was 4'x8'. I was stupidly excited about it, the piece was a total success, and from then on I never went back. By senior year he built me a wall in the drawing studio and I worked on that thing like crazy.
4. What is next for you in 2018?
I plan to keep producing. It's hard to produce when you move - suddenly your space changes, expenses change, etc. Especially with work my scale, it's really hard to find space. I've recently started working on a piece in my garage, so hopefully I'll be able to finish that up and apply to some galleries or find some other routes for exposure.
5. What are some long term goals in relation to your art?
It's tough to say-- I guess it depends on what happens career-wise for me. I'll always keep producing. So for now, the goal is to grow my body of work as large as I can and apply to shows/galleries and see what happens. I think down the road I'd love to be an art professor somewhere, or an arts manager/curator/etc. I'm not sure. I'm too young!