A typical English village is pretty much how you would imagine, a little Sense & Sensibility, Tess of the d'Urbervilles and all those movies, but without the bonnets. Still full of intrigue and interesting people but with summer blue skies and the greenest long grasses and trees. There are fields in the distance where sheep graze and butterflies and birds dance with the dramatic light, colours and stunning scenery. Surrounded by the beauty of the Surrey Hills, in a quiet leafy Surrey road, is our artist's studio, a sanctuary from the modern world, which provides a welcome and creative refuge from a life that has not been without its challenges and in so welcomes the peace. Our founder Kati, talks us through her pursuit of light, colour and escaping it all as she paints and expresses her musings through the language of colour.
There is one plug… which hooks up the record player, with a LP collection that can only really be described as ‘odd vintage’… a Johnny Cash BBC recording from Folsom Prison 1968, played many, many times, Radiohead, James Blake and a large collection of classical, so you can tell, I love music and get greatly inspired by sounds. The studio doors are so large and open wide, which allows a stream of light to come through along with a burst of fresh air. Even in the winter I like to open the doors wide and paint with fingerless gloves and layers of jumpers!
This is my haven from the world, it’s not glam or luxury, but it’s where I can switch off and immerse myself, which I feel is a luxury in itself nowadays. I’m from the pre-facebook generation (just), so the need to escape technology and just ‘be’ is quite a strong one. I have always needed time to isolate myself and be still… perhaps I was a travelling monk in a past life. That’s how much I need some solitude! I sometimes wonder if I didn’t have those quiet times and finding something to entertain myself with as a teenager, perhaps I would never have found yoga or painting! It’s always during those times I get my most inspiration and creativity.
Painting for me is an escape, switching off the ego, clearing my mind, breaking down the barriers that forms and labeling gives to shapes, as I try to capture the greatness, darkness and light of this world into colour and markings, it’s my perfect pursuit. As a dyslexic, expressing myself through words is somewhat of a difficulty, so my paintings reflect on what I have learnt from my difficult times and from life in general, I’m saying that even in the toughest of situations, it’s always possible to learn and move forward towards becoming a more complete human being. I feel very blessed to be given a tool to express myself, to try to capture the light and grace I feel into colours and capture that moment in a burst of movement, marks and creativity.
I started painting quiet intuitively whilst living in Hong Kong. At the time, I had a highly stressful job in Fashion Design, a pretty intense life and not much money in the pot for escaping it. I practiced yoga on my own in my studio apartment, which was on the top floor of a walk up building in the middle of Soho, I would open all the windows and let the white gauze curtains flow and fly with the warm breeze as I practiced. Every Sunday I attended temple, where I learnt deeply about transitions and meditation.
I also went through a period of feeling very alone and far away at this point in my life, my best friends had all embarked on other adventures and I was changing in myself I could feel that, I wasn’t bothered to make new friends or push myself again to socialise, so I went to the art shop, bought a basic starter kit and started painting on my rooftop, firstly with brush strokes and then with the palette knife and things clicked. I started to paint… A LOT!
Upon my return to the UK, I started to refine and explore my painting further and moved from bustling Brixton in London to serene Surrey, with a growing artist community. I am still looking to the expressive power of colour, space and mark-making and the effect that can have on mood and consciousness but for the first time in a quieter headspace, which has been calming for a brain that literally never stops.
My compositions take on a spiritual aspect within them, whilst conveying thoughts and storytelling in their purest forms. One mark leads to, informs and changes another through copious energetic and intuitive marks. I build stories upon stories, layers upon layers, scraping back thickly applied paint and re-building them to capture my ‘message’ in an expression of thoughts, through the colour palette and dynamic marks. The profound emotional escape and expression I feel through painting I try to transfer to canvas, it is my pursuit of light.
The removal of technology, noise and the constant stream of media, stripping imagery back to the beginnings of colour, energy and movement, with no forms to distract or give label to, is inspiring and evocative and something I will be exploring for some time to come.’