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Conversations with the Inspiring Stephanie Cate

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Cate.

Stephanie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
As a child, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have a crayon in my hand. Drawing and painting has always been my passion. After exploring other possible careers, I decided to commit to a creative life fully and attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. It was there that my art blossomed and I explored mixed-media and abstract painting which I still do to this day.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome? 
Art making is never a smooth road! Not for me anyway. But it’s a highly personal and rewarding process. The business side of art has been perhaps the most challenging part. As it is for many right-brained creatives like myself. You have to wear many hats, marketing, social media, networking, promoting, bookkeeping and then still have the time and energy to paint.

What advice would you give to young artists starting out in this field?
My advice to young artists starting on this path is to grow a thick skin. Don’t be discouraged and don’t take rejection personally. If art making is your calling keep consistent, stay in the flow, and don’t beat yourself up on the bad days when your work just isn’t coming together. It will. Stay true to yourself, be authentic and your “audience” and supporters will find you.

What should we know about your art and what sets you apart?
I fell in love with abstraction during college. It’s not for everyone. Many people don’t get it and prefer to see something they recognize and can understand immediately like a landscape or a still life. I work from a place of emotion and energy. But even abstraction still needs the basic principles of composition, color, light, and depth to really be successful and reach the viewer. I begin with a rough idea or sketch and build upon it with bold spontaneous gestural brush strokes. Layer upon layer. I shut off my analytical mind and let impulse take over and work it until the piece “feels” done. For me, it’s all about where the edges meet and how the shapes communicate together. My art is about relationship. I think what I’m most proud of is that I’ve turned a lot of people onto abstraction who did not resonate with it before. I enjoy hearing them tell me what they see or feel in one of my pieces. And that’s the beauty of abstraction, it encourages the viewer to bring their own personal story and imagination to the piece and they like the challenge!

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
I grew up in a family that relocated a lot. In the constant upheaval of my life, I found consistency and solace in drawing and painting. It was the one constant in my life that I had control over and brought me a personal sense of stability. Art making was a refuge for me, a world of my own creation where I could happily disappear into for hours.

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Image Credit:
Patricia Clark, Myra Vides, Sabine Pearlman, Tim Lacy

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