Kathline Carr is a writer and visual artist from right here in the small city of North Adams, Mass. Her process of making in all forms is one of construction and reiteration, which she describes as “rendering abstractions of real and imagined spaces while imposing diagrammatic marks through those planes.” Even with a seemingly overbearing schedule, she serves as an inspiration of how to prioritize art making and gather creativeness from everyday life.
Knowing what you want to do in life does not always come easy. Some may carefully deliberate their whole lives on what their true calling is, for others like Kathline, knowing was almost instinctual.
Kathline Carr’s interest in art has been present for as long as she can remember. She recalls always knowing what she wanted to do, which was draw and write. “Maybe when I started getting in trouble for coloring things the wrong color…I thought ‘What? Why shouldn’t I color a blue tree?’” Growing up with a quilter as a mother, Carr has instinctually looked at things jumbled together. She attributes her upbringing, and particularly her mother’s unique quilting, to her passion for abstract creation.
Even today, Kathline creates her art in a similar way quilter might make a quilt. She tends to dump everything into her studio, and if she is interested in something enough, she will hang it up on the wall. While she isn’t always sure the relevance what she is hanging up has, it usually connects to her work in some abstract way. These pieces that reside on her studio walls usually find a way into her pieces somehow. Even when she doesn’t like a piece that she has created, she will cut it up and save clips of what she is inspired by and hopes that the fragments will grow into something else. Kathline enjoys piecing things together, especially when she doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to a larger painting.
As Kathline ventured more and more into the professional art world, the pressing question of time always seemed to linger above her and her art making. In being a mother, wife, and working professional, finding time to just be an artist is a stumbling block. She acknowledges the obvious facts that she has to make money to live, but declares that art practice should be the most important thing. Because of this press for time, Kathline doesn’t spend a lot of time doing other things, she does what she has to do, and most of the sparse left over time goes to art making. “You’re better off getting a job that doesn’t take up a lot of head space.” She points out that art making is demanding on the mind, and having a job that is just as demanding as art making is never a good idea.
In this seemingly impossible quest for time, Kathline sheds light on the situation with some inspiring encouragement. She explains that artists need to keep hold of their ideas and keep working, even if only a little bit of progress is made every day. “It doesn’t always feel good, but this way you will know that you haven’t lost connection with your work.”
But as any artist may know, establishing that connection with your work can be one of the hardest parts of meaningful creation. With such limited time in our hectic lives, not only is it difficult to find the time to actually create, it is even more difficult to find time to become inspired.
Despite her pressing schedule, Kathline explains that she does not believe in creative blocks, what she believes in is the idea of this daily practice. “If you feel blocked, you need to go outside…or you need to read something, or look at images of artists work.” Inspiration is all around us, and Kathline suggests that we all just need to open our eyes and see it. She also believes that we often get trapped in routine, and this prevents us from seeing anything new and exciting. Sometimes doing something unexpected or out of the ordinary is all one needs to break this seemingly inescapable routine and find inspiration. In her eyes, the feeling of inspiration is “a way of your subconscious mind telling you that you need to look at more things.”
Looking back on her work, Kathline agrees that it is the time she put in and her endless inspiration that makes her artwork the most powerful. It is these pieces, full of dedication and inspiration, she finds herself most proud of. She hopes that her work is able to reach other people and affect them in some sort of way. When someone comes up to her and talks about how a piece has moved them, Kathline feels a sense that she has done her job as an artist and that she has done it well. “While finding time to work by yourself is really important, making something impactful and getting to hear about it…what can be better than that?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Romanelli is an arts manager interested in curatorial work in the arts as well as visual art making. She has had the gracious opportunities to be an arts educator in the field of visual art as well as dance. As an arts manager at MCLA, Amanda hopes to continue to delve into the arts that her campus community has to offer.