In the atelier today is painter Cathie Joy Young, whose work first came to my attention via Twitter. In perusing her portfolio online, I found I really had to stop and study each piece to try and interpret the meaning. The stories are not understood at first glance. It's intriguing that Cathie herself feels the stories are not hers, but rather borrowed. The colors are rich, the abstract figures always conveying emotion. With the artist as the conduit for these visions, the viewer is invited to dive in and explore.
In her own words, here is Cathie Joy Young:
"Shall the Meek?" by Cathie Joy Young, acrylic on wood panel
1) What path led you to your life as an artist?
My Dad was a painter. When my brother and I were very young both parents encouraged us to draw and later to paint. My Dad painted in oils and his studio was in our home so I was around it all the time.
When I was about 12 my Dad started showing my work alongside his own at casual outdoor art shows. It was all representational work. I sold occasionally and that was inspiring. When I would get too creative – as in work from my imagination instead of from reference it was frowned upon because I was actually making good pocket money doing water color roses and pen and ink horses. I did not take art classes in high school and was not active with art again until I decided to apply to art school. I figured I needed to go to college and I really did not want to have to deal with required undergraduate classes like math and science so I thought a private art college was the way to go. I got accepted to the Pacific NW College of Art in Portland, OR, and intended on majoring in Graphic Design. Half way through my first year I changed my major to painting. After graduation I worked in restaurants and painted at home and would show occasionally. Eventually I got art-related jobs so that I could make a living that way. I worked at a staging and prop company called Stage Right. I free-lanced at decorative painting jobs and then I contracted to McMenamin’s and did mural work in their various hotels, theaters and pubs. After leaving that job there were a few years when I did not paint at all, and then in 2005 I started all over again in a completely different way.
Since then I’ve been showing my work at various galleries and shows in the US and selling my work internationally online.
"Inside Miracle" by Cathie Joy Young, acrylic on wood panel
2) Please describe three sources of inspiration for your art.
My inspiration comes from painters I came across while I was in art school years ago and from authors I read going back as far as childhood. The visual artists I most admire are Odillon Redon, Marc Chagall, Ivan Generalic, El Greco, and many of the Expressionists as well as medieval painters. The writers who have helped shape the way I think are Hermann Hesse, Aldous Huxley, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, Doris Lessing, Tove Jansson, and George McDonald. Besides the listed artists and writers I am also inspired by the act of painting. What I mean by this is that the very action of producing interesting imagery keeps me going.
"Egyptian Faïence" by Cathie Joy Young, acrylic on wood panel
3) What was the last item you brought home from a trip? Where did you go, and why that item?
I was recently in Hawaii and I brought home shells, coral, and interesting small rocks that I found at the beach. I really like rocks and shells and I always try to bring home a rock from wherever I go. I stayed away from bringing home a lava rock though because my Hawaiian friend told me I would be cursed if I did. I don’t like to take chances with curses!
"Unexpected Clues" by Cathie Joy Young, acrylic on wood panel
4) Please fill in the blank: If I was not an artist, I’d be:
A writer of books.
"Opening Sky" by Cathie Joy Young, acrylic on wood panel
5) What advice do you have for people who are afraid to buy art?
The purchase of Art has a different and more enduring value than say the latest Iphone. The latter will be outdated in a few months and need to be replaced in a couple of years. A piece of art is ageless and timeless and if you really love it, you always will.
"Astro Coo" by Cathie Joy Young, acrylic on wood panel
I hope you've enjoyed getting to know Cathie a little better! Please visit her website to see more of her work. You can also email her at email@example.com or shop online here. Please leave a note and let me know what you think of these fascinating pieces!