Kat Phillimore

So excited to be chatting with the watercolour queen herself, Kat Phillimore. Kat's been out and about in Melbourne town lately, running solo shows and collaborating with other local creatives... pretty amazing for a confessed networking hater. 

Tell us about yourself. Where did you study? Where have you worked as a creative?

I’m rapidly approaching the quarter century mark much to my surprise! I went straight into a Bachelor of Fine Arts at VCA as a fresh seventeen year old but that didn’t suit me too well so never made it to the part where you dress up in a cape. Before that though I had spent the final two years of high school doing a Certificate IV in art and design on top of VCE which is when I started to realise how redundant sleeping was and how important hard work is, because I gained a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time and am all the better for it. That course was choice…literally did everything from jewellery making to typography and all sorts of strange portfolio building beauties in between. Since then I’ve sporadically done freelance illustration, design and art however never scored a job anywhere within the creative industry.

When did you first discover your love for watercolour? What other mediums would you like to explore in the future?

I always admired this watercolour sketch my pop did of me as a child, and ever since have been drawn to them and the way you can build layers or create depth and expression by one simple quick stroke. The immediacy of it suits my work which I like to get done as quickly as possible before I get bored and move onto the next subject. I would be really keen to get into ceramics and be able to adapt current-drawing techniques to porcelain paints one day hopefully.

Design work by Kat Phillimore The Design Kids interviews Kat Phillimore work-2

When and where do find yourself most creative?

The most inconvenient times usually. Like earlier when I tried to respond to an email, which was pretty urgent, coming up with new hand-painted business cards distracted me. It’s crucial to have my mind clear of all the clutter and I just go to this mode of automation where everything flows out. It doesn’t matter where I am or if it’s 3am or 2pm, sometimes it just hits, usually when I’m not trying though which is a bugger when you need to come up with a new concept for a commission or something. So I write a lot of to do lists and eventually get through them once I’m back in a good spot at home, this also helps weed out the crap ideas that ‘post red wine bottle Kat’ can think up.

We’ve heard you love collaborating with other artists, tell us more?

I have never really enjoyed the whole networking and publicising aspect of art due mainly to the fact that I can’t stand looking or talking about my own work once it’s done, and that has been to my detriment. The sooner I realised it’s not as awkward and unbearable as it first seemed, the more I’d probably have done by now. So in the spirit of fixing my life and achieving some new years resolutions I have been setting up dates and discussing shows and making a concerted effort to be open to new ideas and propositions involving other creatives. In particular I’ve already knocked out two solid and fun Monday night sessions with the fabulous Danielle Harmshaw (Kuuvesi) as a starting step to a larger collaborative project called REVEAL which involves both us girls and a couple of talented photographers Jack Bleasdale and Duncan Jacob.

Design work by Kat Phillimore The Design Kids interviews Kat Phillimore work-4
Design work by Kat Phillimore The Design Kids interviews Kat Phillimore work-4

There’s plenty still to be learnt for me I’d say, and hopefully there always will be because knowing it all is boring! I think a big thing is being able to ask for help, and the right kind of help.

You’ve done a lot of freelance work, what have been your favourite projects to work on and why?

I love doing stuff for mates as corny as it sounds; it makes me happy to be able to give them a little smile when it’s finished. Also, the Strawberry Fields festival posters were ripper because I love all the feedback (feeding my hungry little ego) and being able to contribute to something that’s enjoyed by so many amazing people.

Where do you find inspiration? What are some of your favourite blogs?

Never really one particular spot, sorry to be vague but it’s something I’ve realised you have to be open to all the time just in case it pops out when you’re not expecting. In saying that, lately I’ve been catching busses everywhere, which sucks, but to take the good from the bad there are plenty of fascinating strangers I can creepily study in secret from the back seat and try and memorize their facial features. As for blogs,  I love Booooooom and am just getting into Pinterest as its great for bookmarking references for drawings.

Design work by Kat Phillimore The Design Kids interviews Kat Phillimore work-6

You’ve had several exhibitions around Melbourne, what have you learnt about the do’s and dont’s of exhibiting? Do you have any advise for first time exhibitors?

There’s plenty still to be learnt for me I’d say, and hopefully there always will be because knowing it all is boring! I think a big thing is being able to ask for help, and the right kind of help. Even if you’re putting on a Solo show, you don’t need to do everything all by yourself. Also, don’t be shy when it comes to talking yourself up and being proud despite what Australian culture has ingrained in you regarding tall poppies.

What can we expect from you in 2014 and beyond?

When I was about fifteen I made a goal for myself of winning the Archibald one day. For now though I’m just continuing plans for group shows and possibly another solo at the end of the year whilst selectively accepting requests for freelance illustration. Hopefully some representation will tap me on the shoulder or a wonderful benefactor will offer to fly me to London or somewhere to paint their Walls, I’m really open to anything!

Design work by Kat Phillimore The Design Kids interviews Kat Phillimore work-8
Design work by Kat Phillimore The Design Kids interviews Kat Phillimore work-8

Where to find Kat Phillimore online.

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