Meet artist Kate Van Doren
Galia Veleva: Interview with second place prize winner Kate van Doren
Statement and Process:
The foundation for my work is capturing the struggle and strength at the heart of the human experience. I join with others to help tell their stories. Their journeys involve mental and physical health and a reclamation of power that may have been taken through life experiences. Throughout each collaborative process my inspirations and I work together for months and sometimes years to conceptualize the image that we create together. This ensures that they are fully heard and seen, able to truly share about what it means to be human. Often we explore the healing power of nature within the birth of the creative process and how it lends itself to moving through life’s challenges. With contemporary realism we capture, expose, and explore the boundaries of the human condition. A strength based narrative dialogue integrated into the art making process helps organize and shape how others see themselves in an empowering way. The goal is to offer both my inspirations and viewers an experience of the human condition and connection to their natural world. I am deeply dedicated to the healing capacity of art and nature in the lives of others.
Q: Please, tell us a bit about your past. When and where were you born? Where did you grow up? And where do you live now? What was your childhood like? What have you done for a living? How did you become an artist? Tell us your short personal story.…
I was born in Sacramento, California, and grew up in Eugene Oregon. I was an only child. My parents were loving though both worked full time so much of my childhood was spent alone. I was quite introverted, so I drew and painted often. My mom noticed my artistic ability early on and was very supportive of my art making. She made it possible for me to work with and learn from other accomplished artists. I continued to draw and paint during my teen years. However, I stopped creating for myself when I went to college to become an art therapist, instead dedicating my artistic energy to helping others heal through their own art.
I remained a full time art therapist and psychotherapist for over 20 years. Then, due to a medical condition I decided to go back to my art as a healing modality for myself. I now have a small on-line practice and also coach art therapy and art students around the globe. I balance family life, my art therapy practice and studio time. Above all my children are my greatest inspirations.
When our children are on summer holiday for three months our whole family travels to Oregon, where my parents have a home in the forest. I’m fortunate to have two studios, one in the high dessert of Mexico and the other in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest . Both places have beautiful landscapes that inspire my art.
WINTERING RESILIENCE, Oil on dibond, 60 x 90 cm, 2022
Q: If you could initiate a positive evolution in the contemporary figurative arts, what would it be? And what would it look like?
I believe that partnership with inspirations is an important evolution in the art making process to elevate the voices in an empowering way. I see many artists doing this and I am excited about this progression in the future of figurative arts.
Q: Do you have a morning ritual or a ritual before you start creating? Please tell us about it.
I believe that ritual is the foundation for a healthy art making practice. With long hours and multiple pressures to create it is important to implement self care. I run, walk or practice yoga every morning before my kids wake up. This clears my mind and helps me focus on tasks for the day. It is a form of meditation and I have come up with some of my favorite painting ideas this way. Once my kids are at school I burn sage as a way to clear space metaphorically and physically to start my painting day which usually is 6-8 hours.
Q: If you could use 3 words to describe FiKVA, what might they be?
Organized, Professional and Deeply caring for artists in the creative arts. I am so honored to have been chosen and to be able to work with he FIKVA team. Thank you for this opportunity – It has meant so much to me and my career as an artist.