Artist Cat Dolphin
Who are you, what do you do and why do you do it?
My name is Cat Dolphin. I am often asked if this is my real name. It is. Cat is short for Catriona. I am a contemporary artist and love to use colour, intuitive mark-making, symbols, and typography to create paintings of imagined and remembered urban landscapes and figurative works. Painting is what I think about, dream about, and feel compelled to do every day. I love the process, the challenges and the problem solving that comes with painting.
My paintings are built with multiple layers through adding and deleting marks, changing the scale, plane and direction, coaching the painting to evolve and come forward. My paintings have stories within them, journeys, adventures and cheeky vignettes for the viewer to discover.
Bright Sorrows by Cat Dolphin
How has your practice changed over time?
Like many artists, I have explored many aspects of art. I have painted in many different mediums and different styles over the past 30 years. That’s part of the development process. I have painted in my spare time, exploring still life, realism, intuitive styles and have brought all of this together to paint in the style that I do today.
What art do you most identify with?
I love colourful contemporary works that have a joyous outlook on them.
What themes do you pursue?
My paintings are primarily of imagined and remembered urban landscapes and figurative works that tell a story by taking the viewer on a journey.
It Begins With You by Cat Dolphin
What’s your scariest art experience?
My scariest moment was my 1 st in-person gallery approach. I had been in touch via email but wasn’t prepared for the ‘drilling’ when I took my work in. Lesson learnt – now I do my research and prepare my sales ‘Pitch’. I am less worried about the outcome now as I have more confidence in my work and capabilities. Not all galleries or stockists are a good fit for a variety of reasons and that’s Ok.
If you have one, what’s your favourite artwork?
I have a small figurative work that is my favourite as it was a pivot painting for me. It represents a change in my work and I keep it in my studio space. It inspires all of my work and I reference its simplicity and honesty often – I would love to create more works with the same simple integrity, but find that hard to do.
Painting People by Cat Dolphin
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
I am inspired by where I live and the places I go. I am also inspired by other
artists What jobs have you done other than being an artist? I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister and have worked in the clothing industry as a designer, product development team manager and business development manager for around 30 years. I was recently made redundant and am now a full-time artist.
Why is art important in today's society?
I believe art should bring joy, a place where you can escape, explore and forget about negative things. Art influences our moods and is a compass for our values, experiences and memories. It also reflects moments of today’s culture, a repository of social memory that helps us understand our world.
Regatta by Cat Dolphin
Is your artistic life lonely or do you find living as an artist to be lonely?
Being an artist can be lonely at times, however, once you find your tribe of like-minded artists through networks such as MAVA, you have a strong support network of friendship, advice and inspiration. I am grateful to have met and made some significant friends through this network.
What do you dislike about the art world?
Unique work is often met with trepidation from galleries, stockists and individuals. Which means that it is sometimes difficult to find supporters for your work if it is something different. Galleries and stockists seem to be looking for proof of commercialisation which often means that if it doesn’t look like someone else’s work, or isn’t already ‘successful’, then the risk is too high. As a result, there are a lot of ‘clones’ in the art world and at times it’s hard to tell one artists' work from another at times. That makes me sad.
Unfurling by Cat Dolphin
What makes you angry?
Scammers who copy other artists work, set up fake social media sites pretending to be someone else and anyone who tries to financially benefit from genuine hard-working artists makes me angry!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Just ‘do you’ and don’t worry about what other people think. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people – the ones who belong in your life – will come to you, and stay. They are your tribe.
What superpower would you have and why?
Invisibility. Many would say because I am a female over 50 I say because I like to observe and see things from different perspectives – I’m not one for the spotlight.
Wherever you go There you are by Cat Dolphin
Professionally, what’s your art goal?
My art goal is to be self-sufficient doing what I love.
Do you have a favourite art tool and if so what is it and why?
I have a huge collection of brushes and a have a few favourites amongst them. I really like short bristle bright (flat) brushes as I like the way that they handle when painting with them.
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