Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Savage.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kate. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in Sussex, England, and from the age of three was raised between the Hudson Valley and Greenwich Village, New York by two visual artists: my father was the painter W. Lee Savage and my mother is the photographer Sally Savage. I’ve always been a bit of a day-dreamer. Since I was a little kid I loved exploring the woods near my house, or spending time alone in my room drawing, playing and writing, inventing worlds out of my imagination. My first ambition was to be a writer, but after my first year of college at The New School in NYC I took a semester off to do some soul searching. During that time, I studied painting formally with my dad and discovered that I loved it! I applied to Parsons School of Design and was a little surprised that I got accepted the following winter. That began my path as a visual artist. After attending Parsons School of Design in New York and Paris, I moved west to complete my M.F.A. with honors at California State University, Long Beach. After living in Venice, CA for 15 years, where I had married and had a son with my ex-husband, I happily settled in Mar Vista in 2009. I now work out of my converted garage studio, which I share with my husband, the artist Tom Miller. Over the years, my work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums locally, nationally and internationally. I’ve had one-person exhibitions at Curve Line Space, at Gallery 825 and at Mt. San Jacinto College Art Gallery, among others. My work has also been included in group shows at MOAH Lancaster, Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Haus Gallery, LACE, Santa Monica Museum of Art, and University Art Museum Long Beach, and other venues. My work has been written about in Artweek, LA Times, The Long Beach Press Telegram, and the Wall Street Journal.
Currently, my work is included in a show with nine other incredible women artists. The show is called, Sewing Circle and it’s at the Seaver Gallery at Marlborough School at 250 South Rossmore Ave. Los Angeles CA 90004. The opening is Saturday, Sept 22 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. Additionally, I teach art at New Roads School and the Brentwood Art Center. I’m also a Certified Mindfulness Instructor through Mindful Schools. Next month, I’ll be finishing an additional 10-month training with Insight LA to be a Meditation Facilitator as I launch my new business, Open Window Mindfulness.
Has it been a smooth road?
Being from a family of artists, which also includes my older brother Will Savage, who’s an incredibly talented artist, and my younger brother Adam Savage (Co-host of the long-running hit TV series Mythbusters), it was initially daunting to see myself as being able to measure up. I knew was destined to do something in a creative field, and I was too shy to be any kind of performer. I did love to write and do to this day, but once I discovered that I could tell stories with images, I was hooked. I wasn’t the most naturally gifted visual artist in the family at all, but I was driven to learn and get better. Now that I teach, I often tell this story to my students. You CAN learn and get better with effort and perseverance – talent is great, but it’s just the boost that can get the bicycle rolling. I tell them, “You still have to do the pedaling!”
Other obstacles have been more personal. All my life I’ve been surrounded by mental illness and addiction, although I myself have been spared. My ex-husband had health issues and my son had learning challenges, growing up. For most of his life I was the main earner, and then I was a single mom for many years. Through all of it, I kept making my artwork and finding ways to get it out in the world. In many ways, being an artist saved me.
Also – Finding my meditation practice, in addition to my artistic practice, has helped me enormously. Although my meditation practice was spotty, especially in the early years of raising my son, in the last five years I’ve re-committed to this discipline to support me in meeting life’s challenges. I’m so excited to share this with adult and teen students, as I’ve been doing this past year and a half.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
As an artist, I think I’m known as someone who has the goods. In other words, I’ve had solid training in classical traditions of painting and drawing, as well as color theory, good design, art theory, art history, etc. I greatly value the grounding I have in the depth of my art education – it’s something that I think is disappearing, these days. I love the craft of art making – whether it’s stretching your own canvases or the processes of printmaking. Through the materials and the craft of art making, there’s a lore, a history and tradition that connects me as an artist to all those artists and craftspeople who came for centuries before. These things matter to me.
As far as the content of my work, my representational, figurative paintings, drawings and collages use psychologically-charged imagery based in folktales and personal history. Most recently, I’ve been working on a series of portraits of women wearing headdresses I make to resemble historical status objects from various cultures. I engage my models in games of dress up, and each woman inevitably reveals something of her story in what she chooses to wear and how she poses. The title of the series, Ageless, refers to the notion that we carry within ourselves all the ages we have been and will ever be, and thereby addresses personal and historical time from a woman’s perspective. I’m proud of how well-received these works have been, as they continue to be included in exhibitions.
For Open Window Mindfulness, I’m currently developing an art and mindfulness workshop. This workshop will be open to artists and non-artists, meditators and non-meditators alike. It will draw upon the basic foundations of mindfulness meditation through art exercises to address timeless themes such as impermanence, self-doubt and judgement.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a wonderful place to be an artist. I’ve had the good fortune to live in four of the world’s greatest cities: London, New York, Paris and now, Los Angeles. When I moved here from NY, many artist friends thought I was crazy, but I longed to be closer to nature, and here I am, two miles from the beach! We get away to the mountains about once a month and take advantage of the desert nearby, too. All this nature and world-class museums and a vibrant art scene makes this city the best of all for an artist, in my opinion.