INTERVIEW | KATE PUGSLEY

The american artist Kate Pugsley‘s pastel colored universe is filled with careful considerations, delicate watercolor structures, well-balanced compositions and a general interest in how humans interact with nature.

Kate Pugsley grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and is now based Chicago. In her narrative illustrations and paintings we are guided through desaturated jungle scenes, Kate’s own observations from a trip to South East Asia and explorations in how we interact with nature and various objects. By placing women dressed in fur coats in jungle settings, juxtaposing dog walkers with dogs wearing jackets or directing our attention to beach visitors she manages to raise the issue on how we utilize and live side by side with nature, in the most subtle and intriguing way.

What made you choose your current path?
When I think back, I can’t remember much deliberation about what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be drawing and painting all the time, but I was naive and had no idea how to get there. I thought I would study painting, but I picked illustration as my major because the classes sounded more compelling. I loved illustration, but worked in oil paint back then and thought that it as a career would never work for me. After several years of few unsatisfying jobs I realized that I really wanted to be doing illustration. Now, a mix of illustration jobs with plenty of time for personal work makes me the happiest.

Can you tell us about your working process?
Lately I’ve been working with gouache, watercolor and pencil. When I am painting I like to work spontaneously. I begin with a blank piece of paper and start making marks until it slowly comes together. I keep a lot of sketchbooks with little bits of ideas and often I’ll reference them in my paintings. I do this to balance with my illustration practice which involves a lot more planning and structure.

Do you have a project that you are especially proud of?
I recently made a large series of children’s illustrations. They didn’t end up being used for anything, but it was special because it became a kind of proof for me that I actually can make interesting work for children.

What are your biggest source of inspiration at the moment?
I get a lot of inspiration from simply observing what is around me. I take daily walks through the neighborhoods of Chicago where I see a lot of interesting things. I’ll see a flash of an interesting shape, color combination, plant, structure or face and I’ll try to remember it. These little fragments fuel me and make me excited to get back to work. Travel is especially stimulating for me because I have entirely new experiences to get inspired from.

What are your hopes, dreams and plans for the future?
I hope to be lucky enough to have a lasting career doing what I love. I dream of the opportunity to travel more and possibly live in a foreign country at some point. My main goal in terms of work right now is to illustrate my first children’s book in the near future.

Do you have any piece of advice for fellow creatives?
Don’t be afraid!

Rikke Luna (f. 1988) og Matias Albæk-Falk (f. 1988) er stiftere af idoart.dk, og driver derudover formidlingsbureauet I DO ART Agency samt forlaget I DO ART Books. Rikke og Matias bor og arbejder i København.