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Omphaloskepsis Blog

Zombies meet fine art

Oct 21, 2013


Link to the interview here: http://blog.zingrevolution.com/kate-vrijmoet/?utm_source=newsfeed38&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsfeed38

ZING: Can you give us your own self-description as an artist and what inspires you?

VRIJMOET: Making discoveries and learning inspires me, but my greatest pleasure comes from sharing my work. I work to facilitate experiences, even if they manifests as paintings.

  The deepest learning is experiential. Art connects us. It tells us we’re human, we’re like each other, we feel. My mission as a human and my job as an artist to bring about situations through art where this can happen—where we can have experiences that connect us.

  The late art critic, Robert Hughes said the purpose of art “is to teach us something about the world we live in.” If art teaches us something about the world we live in, it teaches us to reach out to others, digging deeper reaps rewards, and we share the human condition.

  I use the tools of classical painting to provoke emotions in my audience they might more often associate with theater. For example, I think great painting can be funny. I don’t settle for less than an extremely high impact experience for the viewer. 


ZING: As you know Zing took on part of your body of work which includes ZOMBIES, why ZOMBIES?  Where did you draw your inspiration?

VRIJMOET: Sometimes an artist taps into the zeitgeist; even without being consciously aware she’s doing it . My background includes creativity and creativity studies. A definition of creativity that I am fond of is: The combining of seemingly disparate parts into a new and useful whole.

  My paintings, installations and social art are about (among other things) consciousness and scale. With the zombie paintings, in the world of suspended disbelief, they combine the unreal with the real, the uncanny with the mundane.


ZING:  There is a great deal of attention drawn to the concepts of ZOMBIES in pop culture today – with The Walking Dead, the White Walkers of Game of Thrones, even ARCHIE COMICS has a ZOMBIE series now with ARCHIE AFTERLIFE, where do you see the concept of ZOMBIES fitting into fine art?

 VRIJMOET: The zombie thing is about consciousness. Zombie culture asks the question, “What is self?” This obsession with zombie stuff is partly about people’s fear of not being conscious in their lives; fear of plague, fear of death, fear of anarchy…and the disastrous possibilities that follow. It’s fear that the apocalypse has already happened to us that we’ve lost our awareness—that we’re sleepwalking. Some scholars today are talking about the rise of zombie culture as a backlash to the financial crisis. I think it may have more to do with the way we interact with our media vs. how much time we spend connected to physical reality.

  The CDC even got into the act. It posted a blog item on what to do if the dead rise and eat the living (in 2011). Apparently the post went viral quickly and their server crashed. They followed up by releasing "Zombie Preparedness 101," to educate readers on how to prepare for a zombie attack-which BTW is the same as preparing for a natural disaster.  http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm

  I once heard someone say in a radio interview that you need one of two things to get through life, a sense of humor or a sense of self. I've always relied heavily on humor to function professionally and personally. My zombie series combines my paradigm with the idea of consciousness in contemporary culture. They’re humorous because I place the zombies in real world scenarios.


ZING: What can you tell us about what it was like to paint these images you provided to ZING?

VRIJMOET: The lead up was a blast and I had a great deal of fun doing the research. I tagged along with a role-playing group during their 24-hour zombie apocalypse games taking place deep in the wooded mountains of Washington. I went along to sketch/paint the zombie participants as they prepared. They were an amusing and lively group. At around hour 7 they convinced me to become Zombie Artist, shambling with the pack. I came away with some useful sketches and photographs that became my resource material.

  However, coming up with the concept behind these paintings is somewhat a group activity. I enjoy when people find pleasure in telling me their great ideas for continuing the series. For me, it’s also about engaging.


ZING: How do you feel about your work being translated into images for Home Décor and consumer electronic devices- does it seem weird or is it cool? 

VRIJMOET: I’m always excited to share my work. That’s why I make art.


ZING: How do you balance your home and family life with your artist life?

VRIJMOET: Thank you for this question. As you know from your own personal experience, it’s a constant struggle. Lucky for me; I don’t usually need to be in an office during peak hours, so I schedule my two jobs (mom and artist) around each other. It’s a constant quest to refine my efficacy. I get up at 5 AM and work on business when the house is quiet. When my children are in school, I work in my art studio, creating work. I work again in the evening after dinner. And I don’t typically stay up late. IMO you need to have a sense of humor and you need to be flexible and you need to learn to say no so that you can focus on the two or three most important things. And you need to be okay with failing - getting it wrong.


ZING: What is next for you as an artist?  What are you working on?  Where is your next show? How do people learn more about you and your work?

VRIJMOET: You can read more about my work by visiting my website www.katevrijmoet.com or on 3 Quarks Daily where Elatia Harris published her insightful interview of me and my work. http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2010/09/kate-vrijmoet-a-non-ordinary-trajectory-.html#

  I am thrilled to have three upcoming exhibits on my calendar.

In December I’ll be exhibiting three paintings in “Suburbia” at The Linda Hodges Gallery in Seattle. http://www.lindahodgesgallery.com/

Opening November 2 is “Deconstruction/Destruction,” 13 my Accident Paintings at the Esvelt Gallery at Columbia Basin College in Eastern Washington.

And in January 2015 I’ll be exhibiting some water paintings at the Anne Focke Gallery in Seattle City Hall in a group exhibition centered around de-stigmatizing mental illness. http://www.seattle.gov/arts/publicart/city_hall.asp

  If you want to be kept informed on a more regular basis, its easy to join my mailing list right on the home page of my website, www.katevrijmoet.com  You can receive an eCopy of my catalog when you sign up.


Or you can find me on many of the social media sites: Kate Vrijmoet


Category: Press
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