We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Kathy Linden a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Kathy thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. When did you first know you wanted to pursue a creative/artistic path professionally?
I never remember NOT doing some type of art. Whether it was doodling, coloring or begging for a painting kit as a gift. When I was required to do reports in grade school, a drawing was always included. As I got older, the passion increased. I would sometimes demand that I be allowed to stay home so I could go down to the basement (where I had my supplies) and create something on a canvas or drawing board that I had in my mind. I graduated from University with a degree in fine art. I had been trained in all mediums and genres. I was excited, I was eager. I returned home , to New York, and found the art world not as inviting as I anticipated. I ultimately found work in an advertising agency, which was not remotely close to what I was so badly wanting to do. I had to wait until after I had children and could afford to spend my time and appropriate funds on my art. And wow, did that feel good………. to say “my art”. I began taking advanced classes at Museum art schools to get comfortable with current trends and decide on the medium that worked for me. It took time, but I began getting noticed. Exhibits, contests, and gallery inquiries came to fruition. It was years of ups and downs and disappointments which eventually strengthened my resolve. I was not going to give up! I intended to succeed…. and I can say that I am enjoying the ‘”fruits of my labor” and perseverence.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Having gone to University and being trained in every medium, from watercolors, to oils, to etching I had a well rounded artistic background. I also did not have a preference on style. I was trained to create pure realism…. regardless of subject matter. You may wonder why I wasn’t curious about trying different styles. In part, the answer to that, was my strict upbringing ( by European parents who had gone through WWII). I always did as I was told… and taught and that seeped into my art. I began concentrating on becoming a medical illustrator, which combined my love for art and medicine. As time went on, life interfered and led me in other directions. After marriage and family, it was time for ME!!! It was time for me to focus on my art again. First issue was to find myself and how I wanted to express that. I went through dark periods (again, a result of my upbringing) and for too many years my hand remained “tight” and very exacting. I then met a mentor, a fine artist who became my instructor and friend. He led me out of my comfort level. I learned to not be afraid; to paint large; and most of all that color was my friend!!! I began to feel an expressive freedom I had never known. My work showed that. Viewers became responsive. And I, in turn knew what direction I was going in. I didn’t have to re-create what I was looking at; rather I could create what I saw. That’s when I exploded (so to speak) into the artworld! I became a very figurative and colorful artist! For me, there is color in everything; nothing is static. I developed a mantra which applies to every work I create…… “color is the silent language that speaks to the soul”.
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?
Initially, I was painting nonstop and enjoying every minute. But I had to step back and consider……..where am I putting all of these works? They were taking over rooms in my home and every bit of wall space. That’s when the proverbial light bulb went off. I wanted to sell; I wanted to know that others were seeing and enjoying my creations. I knewI had to become proactive. Once again, I had to steel myself and develop the courage of my convictions. If I thought the work was good, then hopefully others would as well. As I began selling, I became very active on social media. I began slowly and cautiously. First one site, then another and another. I began to receive responses and requests. Being an artist is not merely about creating beauty, it’s also about marketing it. Unless you have someone to do it for you…………..you must make the time. If you are serious, It’s business! And so, I’ve developed a daily routine. First, coffee! Then I spend about 1-2 hours every morning on social media. If you are not out there, the world will not know you. My social media connections have earned me exhibits and sales world wide. I have done it long enough and routinely enough that I now receive invitations.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
I am continually rewarded as a creative. First, of course, the most obvious………..someone seeing your work, loving it and wanting to own it! The financial reward is truly gratifying. The heartwarming responses once the artwork is in their home is a real “feel good”!! I have been able to donate work to charitable organizations as fundraisers; And it is such a wonderful feeling to know you are able to help in some small way. I have been invited to loan work to cancer centers to uplift patients and distract them with the abundance of color in my work. I have also known the heartfelt phone call from someone who had visited one of my exhibits and wanted so badly to buy a small piece, The problem…. they were out of work and didn’t have much to offer. I accepted whatever he could afford. Making that someone happy filled my heart immeasurably. He was so grateful and we continue to have an ongoing friendship.
So, as a creative, it’s not just about creating and selling; it’s also about sharing the gift you are lucky to have!