Expat Artist Questionnaire: Cate
Cate is new to France, although her artwork in jewelry design has been welcomed by the European scene whole-heartedly. Read what she has to say about being an expat artist in Paris.
Country of residence: France
Reason for moving to new country of residence
My jewelry line, Moonshined Designs, was getting a lot of notice in Europe, and I always wanted to live in Paris. So I took the opportunity to jump, and did it!
Which medium(s) do you work in?
Gold, silver, and gemstones.
How has living abroad influenced your work as an artist?
I've only been abroad for three months, but I think moving countries, climates, continents and cultures forces a person at some level into a constant state of shock -- in a good way. So that means I am constantly more aware of every nuance of living than I ever was at home, and that translates to highly increased sensitivity to my surroundings, other people, and myself.
Oddly, this is causing me to be even more minimal in my work, perhaps as I struggle to define for myself the bare minimum of what is actually necessary, and how to communicate a thought or feeling most simply.
Can you describe what you wish to communicate through your art work?
It changes all the time, with each piece... but the main themes tend to be beauty, impermanence, corporeality; and then whatever else is going through my mind while creating.
Which famous local artists inspire you?
The arts scene in Saint-Germain is tremendous, but what inspires me most at the moment is the irreplaceably lovely old architecture here, and the way each street turned down is a remarkably beautiful, almost fully framed view.
Which up and coming local artists do you find worth mentioning?
I'm very taken with the street art all over the city, and how it influences fashion and more traditional forms of art.
How easy or difficult is it to mix with the local artistic community?
It's both, though I don't say that to be coy. As with everything, it really depends on the specific people.. some are quite open to foreigners, while some believe themselves to be quite liberal, yet have rigidly held beliefs about Americans that impede them seeing people, not beliefs about nationalities. At times this can be depressing, but many times I'm overjoyed in a moment where I realize design has no culture, and am happily chatting to people from all over the world about design elements, fashion, art or some small architectural detail that transcends culture, religion or nationality.
Can you offer some advice to others wishing to break into the local art scene?
Attend as many vernissages as possible and mingle. Stay current on all the big exhibits at the main musees. I think it's also quite important to attend as many other forms of art events as possible, even if it's not "your" medium, because they all influence each other. Music, film, art, fashion, design: increasing your exposure and sensitivity to one increases your awareness of all others.
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