Kathy Ross


Curious about found object art?
Sometimes I think my whole life is like a massive potluck of found objects just waiting for me. A found object, of course, is anything you come across and choose to repurpose, make art out of it. Don’t you think all art is really found object art? Even images that are painted are found someplace. Plus the paint. You can’t make art, or anything else, without using the given atoms and molecules of this world, the way you can’t write a poem without using an alphabet. 

Curious about how I start work on a new idea? 
I think to myself: I’ll make an Everything sculpture this time! It has cookie tins. It has rhinestone rings. Maps. It’s reading a book, carrying a globe, wearing a pile of hats.. I’ll dunk it in plaster. I’ll solder on some tin. That beaded purse will be its head. It comes apart and opens up and there’s stuff inside. It’s flying. It’s swimming. It lights up and squeaks and rotates. I‘m shocked when it turns out I have to weed out most of that.  When I go to make something else I fall for the same thing again. But I think it would wreck the process for me if i didn’t start that way.

 Curious about how I seem to make alot of different things?
Even more that it looks like. It’s not just the maps and tin and jewelled sculpture that you are likely to see at the festival.  Ask about the “Snake Bites” colouring book, the 14-foot-long “Endless Linocut”, the illustrations for an animated short film. Why does all this work out for me?

I don’t really like to do any one thing for more than about an hour in a row. I overlap projects. (Also known as Avoiding The Void.) I am a perpetual motion machine. And not a perfectionist, though I do love details.  My Karate teacher used to tell me that what i have is good forward motion. (My sparring partners used to say: what does it take to stop you?) And you have to realize I live by myself in a place where less than nothing happens.

Curious about the skeletons?
You know the dark side? We like to pretend it doesn’t exist?—that dark side? But isn’t it our life’s work to look at it, to balance it, to turn it into something bearable? Notice the way so much tv entertainment is playacting murder and distress. The same way football is playacting about war. We can’t really pretend the dark side isnt there, no matter how hard we try, but at least we can turn it into a story, decorate it, make fun of it.

Curious about what my normal day looks like?
My place is all studio. I move all day from one area to another. The woods in the morning, for drawing, writing, thinking. Inside: the tin cutting and soldering. Armatures over here, the big plaster mess over there. The sticky mappifying station. The bejewelling station. I sleep outside: why waste perfectly good studio space on a bedroom.

I would do art even if i didn’t have to make a living. Need to sell it or give it away anyway. Otherwise, a perpetual motion machine like me would drown in the underbrush. Which would get in the way of making more. Art is communication as well as introspection. Creative work might need a destination. You dont want to write a letter and then not send it.

 

Some bio info:
I’ve been a self employed full time artist since 1978. Currently I can be found at two or three good art festivals, or online.

Awards include: 2013 featured artist LQAF, 2008 Norwescon first place sculpture,2004 Poncho Artist in Residence award, 2004 Seattle Metal Guild award, 2003 Phinney Center juror’s choice/people’s choice awards, 2002 NWDC Simpson Scholarship award, 1992/93/94 awards at F Anderson Cultural Center in Edmonds, 1991 Kirkland Arts first place: Overcoat,  1979/80/81/89 awards from Bellevue Arts Museum.  Collections include: Bainbridge Art Museum, Victor Borge, National Museum for Women in the Arts, U of Washington Medical Centre, Burien mayor Sally Nelson, The Evolution of Sleep (commission for Outside In, Portland OR), Lillian Bartok Collection (NY), Whyel Museum (Bellevue).  Gallery exhibits include: Stonington (Sun Valley, Seattle), Friesen  (Seattle), Works (Sonoma), Edith Lambert (Santa Fe), Kingsfoot (Madison), Fountainhead (Seattle), Gallery 6311 (Seattle), Gallery 110 (seattle) . Bellevue Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Bainbridge Art Museum.

Ideas come from other ideas.
The process is: 1.Get an idea. 2.Water it.

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