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Kate Pryor

Medium/Art Form: Visual

When and how did you start making art?

I’ve been into art since my earliest memories of drawing with crayon and pencil. Landscapes, architecture and animals were my first adventures in drawing, but as I moved into high school I became interested in abstraction. Heavily influenced by psychedelic music, I got into poster art and abstract ink designs. By this point, I knew that it was my career calling and I went on to study art and design at DePaul University. I tried out photography, performance, printmaking, sculpture, metalworking and of course painting and drawing. Printmaking was illuminating for me. I dug deep into abstract monoprinting, totally captivated by the use of heavy machinery to press ink in ways that I could guide but never fully control. I loved that big old printing press, but I even experimented on my own with my car. Picture that — a crazy artist in some Chicago alley driving back and forth over a piece of art! So that informed my practice as I moved onto painting. When I embraced large scale acrylic abstract painting, I knew I was home. It allowed me to blend thoughtful composition with energetic imperfection, principles that I took with me as a practicing artist from Chicago to Denver, and finally here.

What inspires your work?

I’m inspired by big abstract mysteries. Metaphysics. time, space, reality, consciousness, memory. I love a good mathematical or scientific backbone to an artistic project. I feel so much wonder at the way things work, especially when I find them hard to understand. My art is a way to probe and explore these fascinating and mysterious things we get to glimpse as intelligent creatures. Aesthetically, I draw a lot of inspiration from wabi-sabi philosophy, wherein I try to embrace the imperfect, the humble, and the unfinished. A natural step from here, I am creatively compelled by the rugged order of nature as well as urban and industrial dilapidation.

Headshot of Kate Pryor

How would you describe Green Bay/NE Wisconsin’s arts community?

As a recent transplant to the area, I’ve been delighted to find the local arts scene not only flourishing, but also welcoming. Seeing the many murals and pieces of public art as I explored Green Bay was a promising start. Now, having linked up with the Art Garage, I’ve been led to some great opportunities, like my first local exhibition and even this interview. I look forward to discovering the many avenues for artistic engagement as I dig into the community even more.

What is the best advice you have for other artists?

First, don’t be afraid to make the ugly art. Learning isn’t always pretty, and neither is experimentation. You don’t have to love everything you make, and you don’t have to share it with anyone. But don’t be discouraged from getting your reps in because you’re not satisfied with them yet. In my practice, when I’m at a growth stage and struggling with a piece, I remind myself that I can always paint over my mess. And when I do, I’m better than I was before. Second, research and/or write about your projects. It brings a lot of depth to your work when you engage with its meaning from more than one angle. Like ugly art, the writing does not have to be for anyone but you. But I find that when I brainstorm, take notes, and organize ideas in writing, not only do I become more confident and grounded in my project, but I also have a precious notebook full of inspiration and future creative potential. I believe that the more you double down on your ideas–exploring them to their limits, and following where they branch off somewhere unexpected — the closer you come to true originality.

Where can people find your work?


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