Art interviews: Kathryn Bailey

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Kathryn Bailey contact information

Piece nº6.

When did you start painting?

I started creating art from the moment I figured out how to pick up a pencil or a paint brush which was at a very very young age, but I started seriously pursuing painting when I was in my third semester in college at Michigan State University in 2016. I would have been 22 at the time.

Untitled.

Did you find any difficulty when you started?

My biggest difficulty with art is that I never thought I would be good enough to fit in with the art world today. It kind of seems like there is a specific “mold” an artist has to fill nowadays in order to be “successful”,  you know? I was scared that this was just a dream I would never actually achieve. I still haven’t gotten over that fear 100%, I won’t lie. I still doubt myself, even after having art shows in New York City. I still find myself thinking “But what if I am not good enough.” I think that that’s just natural though to feel like we’re not good enough. But I got to the point where I realized that my whole entire life I never fit in anywhere. So why am I trying to perfectly fit in and be someone I am not? After I realized that, I gained a love for painting and it has never gone away.  

Kathryn Bailey next to her piece in a group exhibition in New York.

What inspires you?

Mainly nature inspires my work. I have always found comfort in the woods, just taking a walk and spending time outside. Anytime I would get bullied for being born with no hands I would immediately want to go outside into the woods or to our barn and spend time with my horses. It has always just been such a peaceful place for me. Plus, I have always found it so fascinating how nature can be completely devastated and torn to pieces, but it comes back even more beautiful and strong. That’s how I hope to be. I hope that when I deal with adversity I come out the other side even stronger than I was before. 

Piece nº 1.

In your portfolio we can see a lot of different styles… Is there a style that you feel you like the most?

I like to float somewhere in the realm of abstract impressionism. I have admired artists like Monet or Daniel Wall for the way that they use color and abstract marks to capture these amazing emotions within their pieces. I think I will always have some sort of image within my work, though, and never fully abstract just because I want to be able to put my memories of places or things into a place that will never perish. 

Piece nº3.

Do you think art has helped you in any way?

Art has helped me in so many ways, but one of the largest ways is that it has given me a platform to be able to put my thoughts and feelings out on a canvas in ways that I could never explain with words. It has helped me build confidence in who I am as a person. It has given me strength in the times where it felt like my whole life was crumbling around me…when my grandfather died, when my dog died, when I got screamed at in horror by a stranger like I was a monster. All of those moments get poured into my work. I want to turn pain into purpose and suffering into beauty and joy. 

Kathryn Bailey sending one of her pieces to New York.

Any dreams in relation to painting?

I just want to help other people with my work who are maybe struggling with self-doubt or body image issues or a deep fear that they just can’t seem to move past. I want people to feel comforted when they see my work. If I can do that, then every mean comment, every sad situation…it was all worth it. 

What would you say to emerging artists trying to make a career in art?

Just go for it and remember that the only way to truly fail at something is if you don’t take the leap of faith. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you. 

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