A is for Art an Interview with Kate O'Connor

Kate O’Connor is a Master of Fine Art…so says Yale and so says I. Previous success in the field of illustration has not narrowed the art practices of this talented lady. Her newly updated web site is a quick lesson what she can create with, or without, paper...

Dear Kate,
I miss you and I wish you lived in my spare bedroom, but I am excited to know you are moving to NYC after spending 2 years at Yale for your MFA. Congratulations! Please sum up those 2 years in five words:

Awww. I'd love to be your spare bedroom-roomie!
Intense. Liberating. Obvious. Exhausting. Transformative.

I was so happy to see your web site with so much new work displayed. I am assuming(though I may be wrong) that some or all of these new works were projects within your degree. What parameters/esthetics/practices/themes are a common thread in your work, if any?

Yes most of it was work I did at Yale. My thesis was called I Feel Funny which basically summed up the work methodology I developed and learned to articulate here at school. The ideas, themes and motivations that I developed were just extensions of what I've always been interested in, albeit it sometimes, in new ways. Design is rooted in the idea of setting up rules that govern the way a project is seen though. One of the things I began to explore was setting up rules that didn't necessarily correspond, or make sense, or make things easy or clear. This meant that the results of a given project would often be unexpected and usually funny or irreverent in some way. Kind of an eff-you to the traditional notions of graphic design, which I like to look at I guess, but bores me to death to have to do. Working this way helps reassure myself that I'm an artist or something, and makes it really fun. I also learned to work the way that feels good and natural to me, because the results will be better in the end. The old "be yourself" mantra is the obvious I mentioned in the 5 words above. It's so stupid, and true. I can't believe I went to Yale to um, figure that out.

You are funny. It seems like humor is an important aspect of your life and your work.Your portrayals on the absurdities of life are hilarious and endearing. What is your “sense” of humor?

Humour mashed with tragedy. I think it's the result of being Canadian and Irish–both countries suffer from inferiority complexes spurred out of having super-power neighbours. I think both places have very particular brands of humour...it's darker and more absurd than American yuk-yuk.

I can’t describe the J-O-Y I felt watching your videos. What do you like most about making video art? If you could make a music video for the Who is this Goo? by Pastoralia what would it look like?
Thank-you Natalie! Video art is liberating because all of a sudden you've got time, and sound to add the usual visual stuff. It's really challenging to do after working in the 2-d for so long.

Ooooh. The idea of making a Pastoralia video makes me REALLY excited! Ray are you reading this!? I need to make you a video! It would be absurd and beautiful, have a really controlled but janky aesthetic. I'm seeing an above ground lavender pool with purple water (obviously), a semi-detached McMansion and yellow autumnal leaves, blue, blue sky, shot in Winnipeg because Ray Fenwick of Pastoralia is from there and I've never been there. Or if we had the budget to go to a pineapple plantation, we'd go there. Pineapples growing in the wild are C.R.A.Z.Y looking!

Your previous embroidery work with uncanny Craigslist postings has now evolved into a “Personals” video staring balloons. Why balloons/why personals? (*side note: I am having an obsession with YouTube comments :)

I have this really juvenile impulse to anthropormorphize things. I really love blobs and balloons are a really lazy way to make attractive colourful form. Personals are so contrived and weird, but also reveal a vulnerability about a person. You tube comments are weird too–people say the worst things to get attention. It reminds me of a time when I went to confession and made up all sorts of stuff to get a rise out of the priest. Bored people do things like that. Plus it's easy to shoot your mouth off when you're anonymous–just like pervs yelling from car windows.

What are your ambitions now that you are finished grad school? What is your fantasy career?

Right now I'm going to NYC because it's close to New Haven and I've always wanted to live there. I'd really like to create a TV show. Something really weird, with awesome costumes and hilarious characters. I like directing because you get a hand in everything, which keeps things interesting.

*.* WoW *.*
Thank you Kate for a great interview!
Make sure you visit Kate's website to see more of her work , including freaking amazing interactive web sites she put up after our interview...check your mood and the weather

* all images and videos belong to Kate O'Connor

1 comment:

  1. not long after moving to vancouver, i picked up a tenants' rights guide, which was full of amazing illustrations by kate. i was happy to be able to recognize her distinctive style and to find a little peice of halifax talent on the west coast.

    keep up the amazing work kate!