Artist Kate Hogg delves into hair as a subject in of itself.
Mixed media artists have a tendency to be known for their detailed pieces and uncommon mediums used to portray complicated and grandiose themes. This is particularly true today, when artists have access to so much digital material that can be used to enhance artwork, adding new layers. There are still artists out there, however, who instead use more traditional materials and manipulate them in such a way that they become almost unidentifiable to the viewer. Kate Hogg is an example. She uses print, collage and thread — commonly-used material — to explore visual sensations and optical illusions. Her new mini-series’ Shaved, Twisted & Portraits explore a person’s identity through their hair.
Meagan Kashty: Can you talk a bit about your mini-series’ Shaved, Twisted & Portraits and what each one represents to you?
Kate Hogg: Portraits came first. I had been toying with the idea of a self-portrait for some time but always unsure of the medium to choose. With Twisted and Shaved I wanted to remove all characteristics of a person from the hair and embody the hair as the subject in itself.
MK: What influenced your current mini-series?
KH: People young and old are pushing the boundaries with their personal styles. Hair is reaching new heights and so are the eyebrows of the not-so-impressed. I love seeing the dynamics of self-reflection vs. outsider reactions.
MK: What do you hope to convey by your choice of materials?
KH: I like that art can trick the mind. The subtle textures of white on white paper may not always transmit on a flat screen but the distortion creates new wonder.
MK: Why did you decide to pursue art professionally?
KH: My grandparents were wonderfully creative people. They owned a farmhouse near Cobourg, which they filled with floor to ceiling stain glass, woodcarvings and tapestries. Their home became a magical haven for me as a child, which in turn fueled me to create and re-create the magic for others.
MK: How did OCADu and living in Toronto influence your work?
KH: OCADu put me in a room of like-minded individuals. There is something so beautiful about a group of people that understand the need for art in our world. The city of Toronto has an energy that is infectious. I worked on a few projects in my early years at OCADu; drawing inspiration from streetcar wires, telephone lines and invisible energy pulsing through the community. Once Toronto became my home it was evident that the juxtaposed natural vs. built environments held my interest.
MK: I read that a trip to Italy and abroad had a huge impact on your work. San you talk a bit about the effect traveling has on the creative process?
KH: It gets you out of your comfort zone. Your eyes are open wide and everything you see seems necessary to document as if your memories will soon feel like dreams. I spent 9 months in Italy with 20+ OCADu students and 2 teachers. Life was a dream.
MK: What kind of freedom does being a mixed media artist afford you, as opposed to staying with one traditional kind of art?
KH: Sometimes I feel a little crazy when I am arms deep in a multitude of projects but I’ve learnt it is how I work best. By constantly changing up my materials and techniques I rarely feel like I’ve exhausted a subject or hit a wall.
MK: What artistic themes do you hope to explore in the future?
KH: I have begun to explore the notion of our land and our home, hoping to execute a series of large-scale oil paint-collages within the year. I also have some plans to revive a series of my father’s hands in a reduced black and white pallet, working with my brother, Jacob Hogg, as photographer.
Banner Photo: From Shaved Mini-series: Follow the grain, 2013, screenprint graphite on paper, 27×27″