Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
KS: I was drawing since I was a kid, and started painting when I discovered oil paints about 11 years ago in high school. I’ve had my business Paints By Kait for six years now, and it continues to grow each year. I personally love to use oil paints, but if I’m live painting at an event, I’ll use acrylic paints. I’ve also used colored pencils in the past which look beautiful but I stopped using since it hurt my hands too much. Since moving to Seattle I had some free time to play around painting using Starbucks coffee which has been fun!
Can you tell us about your artistic process and the different stages you work into it?
For me personally my artistic process always starts with a photo or multiple photos as my reference. I draw the image my client and I want on the canvas and start painting. Now for me I’m kind of an odd ball. In high school I used to frustrate my art teacher because you’re “supposed to” paint layer by layer. My brain doesn’t function that way, and I paint section by section. I might have one section of the paint completely done with every detail and another section where the canvas is still exposed. It just works for me this way since some of my work is so detailed I’d rather focus on one section at a time to make sure I got everything.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
My inspiration comes from my sense of humor. When I get the free time from commissions, you’ll see a lot of humor and puns in my paintings. I love love love to paint people. Especially people with a lot of personality or characteristics like wrinkles. Something about painting people makes you feel like they’re coming to life.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I always say my paintings are like my children. Each one is special to me and for different reasons. “Kletus” my bus driver painting is my first real prized possession. It’s the painting that started my career. Then I have my Warhol’s and Heinz ketchup paintings that showcase my sense of humor and creativity. Then there’s my paintings I’ve created to be donated to non profits that helped raise money to help people. So much love for so many different reasons.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Some of my experiences in my life have shaped my art and my career. As a child, my parents divorced and forced my sister and I to move from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh with our mom. Growing up with a single parent, we were on reduced lunch at school and always living to get by as my parents tried their hardest. Along with growing up in a tumultuous household, my sister and I have become very nurturing, empathetic people along with being independent which is why I think I wanted to own my own business. We were also always taught to treat people how you’d like to be treated. I guess you can say that’s how I learned to gravitate towards humor. Everyone knows me as a jokester and I don’t take too many things too seriously which inevitably comes out in my paintings. I also donate or paint for non profits to help raise funds for different causes. It makes me feel amazing to have my art have a purpose and help benefit someone’s life in some way. I want to help people who need help especially children and animals.
If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find it?
If you’d like to view my work you can go to my website www.paintsbykait.com or to get more frequent updates and watch videos of me painting you can find me on Facebook or Instagram Paints By Kait. I’m also going to have my work available to be viewed in person at The Riveter in Bellevue soon!
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on that you’re really excited about?
Lots happening right now that I’m excited about! I’ll be live painting and donating artwork at Human Rights Campaign Seattle gala, featured episode on The Design Network on PNW Artists. I’ve created the cover art for the Bellevue Lifestyle Magazine’s Best of Bellevue December issue. Super excited for the event in December! I’m also trying hard to paint rainbow cross walks in the city of Pittsburgh for the LGBTQ community. I couldn’t be more grateful to the people of Seattle for being so wonderful and having me with open arms.
How do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
How do I take my coffee? Sometimes on watercolor paper (lol). But seriously I love me a sugar free vanilla latte with soy. Shout out to Oddfellows for having some of the best lattes I’ve ever had!