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15 Jul 2019

Interview: In Conversation with Blake Kathryn

Blake Kathryn (@blakekathryn) is a digital artist based in Los Angeles, California. We talked with Blake about aesthetic influences, music collaborations, and how she creates work that’s authentic to her vision:

Tell us a bit about your work and what you create:

Sure and thanks for having me! My work is very much based within surreal futurism. My personal work ranges in focus, though I’m currently enjoying crafting dreamscapes. When working on commercial projects, I generally start with an aesthetically-driven base and seek a way to marry personal touches to a client’s vision, ideally creating a fresh perspective.

“Password Bloom” by Blake Kathryn

I’m consistently guilty of living within my head vs. being grounded in the present and much of the themes I explore come from these musings. As a media consumer, science fiction has always had a soft spot in my heart and leaning into futuristic stylings naturally was born through those influences. As a 90’s kid I also have to give credit to Y2K pop culture incepting my impressionable mind with depictions of a holographic future imagined through fashion, music videos, etc.

You recently worked with Lil Nas on their music video-what was that process like? Do you often see your art intertwined with music? 

Lil Nas X’s Panini visualizer was definitely an exciting and inspiring project to bring to life. From kick off to delivery, the timeline was just about 72 hours. What resulted from the down to the wire scheduling was a lot of running with instincts on the creative end. It’s a blessing when you’re able to work with teams who welcome trust in the process. Overall, working within the music industry is a treat when visions align–being on opposite yet complimentary ends of the creative realm results in some magical pairings and I hope inspire the audience as well.

The color palettes you use are eye-catching-how do you come up with them? 

“Sips Tea” by Blake Kathryn

Thank you! Since my earliest memories I’ve always loved animated films and digital/traditional artwork. Being that those realms are removed a step from reality there’s often a lot of palette play and abstract coloring practices. Taking notes from that, I do my best to integrate those inspirations into my own work, while putting a personal shiny touch.

Your initially shared work that focused on shapes, objects, and textures, but then there was a shift towards themes of fantasy and femininity. What caused that shift? 

“Mother” by Blake Kathryn

I really enjoy minimal elements but having been so focused on specific, select details in my early years, I wanted to challenge my practice  by adding complexity. That transition became a double-edged sword: quite literally working more intricately while also integrating personal musings to deliver a narrative or emotion behind the work–subconscious pulls, self-reflection, daydreams, etc.

Where do you like to draw inspiration from? 

“How Beautiful You Are” by Blake Kathryn

Cinematography is a giant pull. Living in LA, I quickly adapted to the cinephile lifestyle. Mindless sketching, taking mental breaks through long walks, and recently browsing random library finds are all great conceptual fodder as well. In general, the more steps I take away from my practice, the more I’m able to dig within myself to pull out authentic ideas and feel confident in bringing it to fruition.

Is there a particular artist who inspires you, or whose work you’re excited about?

I’m consistently checking up on a few creatives. A few standouts: Nadia Lee Cohen‘s mind is a dream actualized for me. Jenny Yu‘s use of color and light pulls at my heart strings. Lastly, Six N. Five Studio is pixel perfection when it comes to imaginary worlds.