ARTIST-A-DAY BLOG: Inside A Generous Kingdom V with artist, Kate McHugh
"I can allow myself to fall into the hypnotic flow and just let my hand move subconsciously and excavate what the drawing wants to reveal,"
How does your work interact with the theme of “A Generous Kingdom V: Art that explores story, symbolism, and beyond?
I think there’s something very pure and imaginative about storytelling, since it is something humans have done since the beginning of time. As tales are passed down to us, they have a transcendence of living on through the storyteller. I like to weave
narrative and symbolism through my work to tell a visual story, because I believe it brings that same kind of magical spirit to the medium. The fun part for me is that I don’t always know what the story will be when I begin - and even if I have some idea of it, the tale ends up revealing itself and taking on a life of its own.
What draws you to the medium you chose? And tell us a little bit about your process.
I like to use pencil because I can let it guide me until something interesting comes out. Because there isn’t a pressure of a more permanent medium, I can allow myself to fall into the hypnotic flow and just let my hand move subconsciously and excavate what the drawing wants to reveal. I chose to keep going with pencil instead of going over the sketch with another medium because I think it preserves that sort of dreamlike quality and soft fuzziness that is tied to the way our minds work, and also holds the innocence of drawing.
Who inspires you? And what do you do to get inspired?
The works I love to look at the most would be by Aubrey Beardsley, because I think the detail and fluidity of his drawings have a delicate and beautiful darkness to them. His art shows a fondness for things that would otherwise seem mundane - a patterned wallpaper, the ruffles on a dress, the folds in an ornate window curtain. I think this attention to detail shows his wonder at even the smallest things, which shows that anything can inspire you if you only pay attention. He changed the way I view the world and
everything suddenly became interesting - now I find myself excited about things I didn’t before, staring at the patterns on tea cups or making mental notes of the curling designs on a fence I walk past. I think that when you allow yourself to see the artistry in everything around you, it opens up so many opportunities to share that wonder with others through your work.