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Meet Kate Hooray Osmond, 2017’s Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year

September 20, 2017 by Angel Rose Tinnirello

According to Kate Hooray Osmond, our 2017 Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year, “we go through life each day and drive on streets that are familiar; when we get to view a bigger picture of that daily experience, things shift inside of us.”

The Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year award was created in 2003 by Michael Griffith and Donna Reyburn in order to support the creation of a work of visual art that represents an aspect of our Lowcountry’s unique life, culture or environment. Kate’s art does this in a very literal sense—her work displays aerial views of the Carolinas and greater Lowcountry.

Getting to know Kate:

What inspires and motivates you?

It’s cheesy to say, but absolutely everything interests me. I’m a complete magpie for information. I love the scale-ability of our universe; the attraction and repulsion of atoms mirrors the movement of our planets, road highways act like rivers, etc. I see connections in everything and get absorbed in the flow of life very easily. I find humans and community structures fascinating. My work nearly never has a human body in it, as my pictures are a metaphor for the human condition. When I see my finished landscapes and aerial views, all I see are people and their stories and I am very connected to each piece. I also really like sparkly things. I use gold leaf in my work because if I didn’t, I would probably cover my paintings in glitter. I’m only partly kidding about that.

What advice would you give to beginning artists?

Work long and work hard at your art and welcome missteps and failures. I’ve had bucketloads of failures along with some successes. Failures are what you need in order to learn how to be successful. Failures deserve a big hug. Treat your art as an investigation or experiment and you won’t fall into the trap of it becoming too precious.

Also, on a much smaller note- don’t spend hours and hours on a piece only to give it a shoddy frame or pedestal. That kills me.

Do you ever find yourself with artist’s block or stuck or unable to create a new piece? If so, what do you do to get unstuck?

I have had times when I would get stuck, sure. The way I use to avoid the problem is to work every single day, whether I feel like it or not. Although it’s not really so easy to face a problem when you feel unqualified to tackle it, you don’t give yourself the opportunity to let fear distract you from progress. I think artist block is another name for fear: fear of failure, fear of success, etc. I’ve found that the pieces that are the most difficult to resolve- the ones that have colors that aren’t working for me or I’m not happy with the composition- almost always turn out to be the ones that are the most successful in the end. It’s important to give yourself the opportunity to be creative.

Recently, you’ve started creating paintings based on source images taken from flying in a helicopter across N. America. Can you tell us more about how you got started with this idea?

I’ve been flying for over a decade. It isn’t difficult to sit in a helicopter but it is out of the ordinary experience of most folks and that’s kind of the whole point. The aerial view, just a few hundred feet of separation from how we usually view our life, makes a world of difference. We go through life each day and drive on streets that are familiar; when we get to view a bigger picture of that daily experience, things shift inside of us: some things that seemed important might not be so. Some things might become more important to us. A calmness sets in and maybe a new understanding. It’s a different perspective, get it?

What does winning the Griffith-Reyburn award mean to you?

Words can’t express how grateful I am, but I can try. Since I was told of my winning the Lowcountry award, I have shown my work internationally, won merit awards and I am now represented by two galleries in the U.S. I don’t think I would have felt that I could even attempt those things before. It’s a dream come true. It’s an honor.

Kate’s exhibit, Get Low will be on view from October 6 – November 10, 2017 at Redux Contemporary Art Center.

Please join us at our annual Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year Reception at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 6 at Redux Contemporary Art Center. This complementary event is open to the public.

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