This week's blog was written by painter, Jennie O'Connor. Jennie interviewed painter, Katrina Zarate.
How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op? I joined Artistic Portland in October 2017, which makes me one of the newer members of the Co-op. I have been working professionally as an artist since 2015 and mostly doing everything on my own. Within the last year I wanted to refocus from instructing art to selling my work and am a strong believer in working smarter and not harder. I loved the idea of a group working cooperatively to help benefit everyone and really appreciated the warm and inviting nature of the artists at Artistic Portland.
What’s your background? I have a Bachelor's degree in human ecology from a small liberal arts college on the East Coast and attended both Claremont Graduate in California and Reed College’s Graduate program in Portland. I have experience working in non-profit art foundations and for profit event production. I have worked for the past four years instructing paintings for a Paint Party company which has been a real treat. I was lucky to be raised in an arts- and business-focused environment which both taught me the struggles being a working artist and the necessities to develop other skills.
Why do you do what you do? My career as a visual artist and the drive that propels me stems from my battles with vision loss which both inspire my work and motivates me to keep pushing. The beginning of my career was punctuated by the sudden and drastic loss of vision I suffered as a result of two torn and detached retina. Over the years I have had a number of corrective surgeries that have both altered my vision and taught me how to see. I make art because my visual world is a central idea in my life and the ability to express myself visually is a luxury I feel grateful for.
Describe yourself in one word. Why that word? Driven. I love to do what I love and as a result I can be a little obsessive about working. I paint at least 12-16 hrs a day when not making art I am often working on the business of making art.
Where do you create? I am lucky to have a home studio in North Portland. My home has become a sanctuary for art of all kinds, from a music studio in the basement to a painting studio on the main floor. The space I work in is extremely important in my ability to create and can drastically affect my output.
What motivates/inspires your work? I am inspired mostly by people. I love the reality of people, from wrinkles to veins I am enamored with the beauty that is found in the ordinary faces of the people that surround me.
What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have? I wake up, make tea, set up my space, and then work. My work sessions are typically long, so it is important that I ensure that I have everything set before I get started.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever created? I don’t have a favorite piece. I love a work while I am creating it but the moment it is done I am done with it. I often destroy old work with new paintings and if they are not scanned for prints I will forget about them. I guess my favorite piece is the next one.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be? I have been trying to improve my ink drawing skills, but I would love to have any skill that involves two-dimensional art.
What do you like to do when you're not creating? I almost never listen to music while I am creating. Instead I will put on an audiobook, a podcast, or a old episode of a familiar show. To me it helps to feel like someone is talking to me.
Be sure to stop by Artistic Portland to view Katrina's work! We are open every day. Monday - Saturday 10-6pm and Sunday noon-5pm.