This week I interviewed Kate Wixley, a multi-disciplinary artist based in London. This spotlight focuses particularly on two of Kate’s recent projects; ‘The Home Screen’ and ‘Sentimental Cereal’ which both communicate the concept of nostalgia in distinct ways. To view more of Kate’s work you can visit her website.
Can you tell me about yourself and your work?
KW: My name is Kate Wixley, and I’m a multidisciplinary artist and designer based in London. I recently graduated from Central Saint Martins in graphic communication, where I focused on skills in illustration, print, type, and branding.
My practice is diverse, ranging from textile design and illustration to wallpaper design and branding identity. In my spare time, I am working on various textile, fashion, art and ceramic design projects.
What inspires you? Do you have any influences?
KW: Typically, I find inspiration in contemporary art, looking at how complex concepts can be visually distilled, symbolized and reinterpreted. One of my primary influences is Andy Warhol, as I often find myself drawn to similar themes of consumerism and the everyday. However, inspiration can be found anywhere and changes with each project. Whether this is zoomed-in photographs of textures or found images, I focus on examining the world around me in how it can relate to, or even reposition a project.
How do you choose your distinct colour palettes?
KW: Colour greatly impacts the viewer’s experience and understanding of a piece, so I always focus on ensuring that the colours chosen, and the creation of a colour palette, takes into consideration the themes and emotional values of the project. This involves research into colour theory and psychology, which is very useful when one is unsure of which colour is appropriate.
In my piece Sentimental Cereal, I chose pink, blue, and purple as my colour palette. As the work was discussing childhood nostalgia, pastel blue and pink were chosen due to their associations with childhood. Purple was added to the colour palette due to its historic associations with nostalgia. Every aspect of your work communicates, so ensure that the colours you choose do too.
How did you develop your style?
KW: The development of my personal style wasn’t a conscious or self-aware process. Artists, including myself, often feel an intense pressure to find their ‘style’ or visual voice. As long as you focus on expressing/creating what you are passionate about, your style will come through. Style is like a personality, it cannot be forced or faked, and is most valuable when it is genuine.
In my own work, I frequently return to collage as a tool for communication, as collage allows you to reimagine the every day through the very visuals and items that make it up. Also from a sustainability point of view, we are overwhelmed with paper and visual resources. Why not regenerate these existing images and materials into something new?
What’s next for you?
KW: I’m currently redirecting my work towards the discipline of print and textile design, due to my passion for the fashion and interior industries, and my drive to apply my tools in communication to create change in these fields. As one view their clothing, and home as an extension of themselves, I want to create designs that define ‘who or what we are, for ourselves as much as others’, by using textiles as a tool for communication.
Any advice for artists starting out on their creative journey?
KW: My advice would be to experiment as freely and frequently as possible, consistently challenge yourself, and don’t be afraid to try new tools or disciplines. The best artists don’t fit into a box, they make their own. Some of my best work has stemmed from discomfort, whether this is through challenging my conceptual thinking or trying an unfamiliar tool or discipline.