Interview with Kat Kleinman
Kat Kleinman is a floral collage artist from the Sacramento, California area. She began her career as an artist in 2016, after she retired as a psychotherapist, working with homeless people for 20 years. Her past work is referenced because it does inform her current work with a focus on positivity and making people feel better, if only for a moment.
Kat specializes in floral collages, because the individual flowers combine to create a new and cohesive form, reflective of the healing process. She takes her own photographs, with the only exception being the occasional gift of a flower photo from a personal friend. It is important to Kat that she use her own photography, because it separates the integrity of her work from those who use more impersonal internet downloads as a source. Each flower is hand cut, a process she calls meditative, and a single collage may require dozens of individual blossoms.
Kat is enthusiastic about the potential for color to positively influence emotions, ultimately leading to better relationships between people. She describes herself as saddened by the self-centered rhetoric expressed by current influential leaders, and she is dedicated to creating art inspired by compassion, meditation and right action. Her work has been featured in books, and Kat has participated in major art shows in San Diego, Orlando, and New York. Her artwork is recognized internationally, and was most recently seen at the Shibuya Station Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan.
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? and your first experience in art making?
I started in the arts in an unconventional way, because I have never been formally trained. My maternal grandmother earned a bachelor’s degree in Art from UCLA, and I think this sparked the possibility for me, but emphasis at home was placed on the sciences, so I never considered art an option. The only art class I had a chance to take was at my high school in Okinawa, Japan. It wasn’t until I left my field of professional work that art became interested in artistic expression.
How would you describe yourself and your artwork?
I am a collage artist, specializing in flowers. I take pictures of flowers with my cell phone (an iPhone 8+) everywhere I go. The only exception to this, is the occasional photo of a flower I receive from a personal friend. I never download photos from the internet, which would detract from the integrity of the work. I hand cut each blossom, and often use dozens of flowers in a single work. This is time consuming, but it is meditative, and helps prepare my mind for creative thought.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from the power of color to change everything instantly. I am motivated by the desire to make people feel better, if only for a moment.
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
The deeper purpose of my artwork, is to evoke feelings of hope, for the self or the world. Fractions of colorful blossoms combine to reveal a new and cohesive form, similar to the process of healing.
When do you know that an artwork is finished ?
I know an artwork is finished when I sense it is in balance.
What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
I am absolutely thrilled to be participating in the Shibuya Station Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan March 5-11, 2019. This is the first time my work has been seen internationally, and it is a huge step forward for me as an artist.
How long does it take to produce one work?
The length of time it takes to do one work varies, depending on size, but a 12”x12” collage, covered with flowers, would take one to two days. After taking many pictures, the most time consuming part is printing them and hand cutting dozens of flowers. Once a sufficient number of flowers are gathered, they are combined by fitting shapes together as naturally as possible, resulting in the illusion of natural coverage.
What exciting projects are you working on right now? Can you share some of the future plans for your artworks?
I have been doing some very creative commissioned work over the past few months with a client who lives in South Korea. He is exceptionally fun to work with, because he gives me guidelines and then lets me fill in the rest. We have meshed photos of people with photos of flowers, while following themes including an important military general, family in another country, friends from long ago, and ice cream cones! And it works.
Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions we should know about?
My artwork will be seen in a new book coming out in the next few months. I will post more about this on my facebook art page, and on my website, when we are closer to publication.