I am just a little bit excited to present our first ever artist interview. Yay!
The interview is with the amazing Cat Coquillette (pronounced Koh-Kul-let). Cat is a visual artist and illustrator based in the US. Her illustrations are colourful and whimsical, and the influence of Cat’s travels make her work unique and interesting.
This post may contain affiliate links if you are interested in understanding how these links work click here.
Cat’s art prints are very affordable with prices starting at US$20, Phone cases, throw pillows and t-shirts are also available via Cat’s stores. Click on the images or follow the links to visit Cat’s Etsy, Redbubble or Society6 stores.
Now to the Cat Coquillette Interview
Which one of your designs do you love the most and why?
I’m really excited about my new Kansas tribute prints. I’ve been wanting to find a way to pay homage to my home state for awhile now and this felt like the perfect way to do so. Our state motto, “Ad Astra Per Aspera” translates to “To the stars, through difficulties” and is one of my favorite quotes. I incorporated our state animals into the design as well– the box turtle, spotted salamander, honeybee, western meadowlark and bison. I was thrilled with the final design, so I decided to create a sister print –the American bison– to compliment the first. I’m turning these into a limited edition series screenprinted with metallic gold ink by KC’s own Valhalla Studios.
Your style seems to have evolved a lot over the years. Where you think you will go next? What’s on the agenda for Cat Coquillette?
Good question. A few years ago, I was doing a lot of watercolor florals mixed with calligraphy quotes. After that, I got super detailed with India ink & a stylus– I explored abstract patterns with ink, then moved on to inking insects and anything with an exoskeleton. That was followed with food in acrylic and gouache– cake, donuts, cupcakes, beer, wine, you name it. Lately, I’ve been getting back into illustrating digitally with loads intricate details and type-heavy compositions. Throughout all of this, my go-to has always been painting animals in a slightly whimsical style. In the future, I’d love to focus on a series that would lend itself to products– perhaps a zodiac calendar, notebook series of all the places I’ve travelled to, or portraits of my favorite lady artists.
You say you are not particularly superstitious but have created a collection of Evil Eye illustrations. I understand from your Instagram feed that this was inspired by wearing an evil eye when travelling around Asia. What made you wear the necklace? Is there anything else that inspired your Evil Eye illustrations?
I’m drawn to the whole Mediterranean aesthetic– cobalt blues, intricate tiles, gold embellishments, and a limited color palette inspired by sand and sea. I created the Evil Eye series on a whim and it blew up on Pinterest. With all the traction, I gained two new clients that wanted similar styles. One of those was Berber Essentials, a fair-trade organization that sources artisanal goods from Morocco and supports a local community of women. I’m also working on a silk scarf for a Parisian champagne company that wants a similar style to my All-Seeing Eye Mandala. But to answer your initial question– my parents were nervous about me backpacking alone through Asia, so I told them I’d take every precaution possible. A little necklace to ward away evil (real or not) seemed like a solid way to make good on my promise.
Where are you travelling next?
I’m heading back to Southeast Asia after Christmas. I’m starting in Sapa, Vietnam to do some hiking just south of the Chinese border. From there, I’m going to settle down in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a few months and work remotely. I guess I just couldn’t stay away from those mangos & sticky rice.
What’s your ideal working environment or studio space?
I get bored with a routine, so I’m most productive when I’m on-the-move. I concentrate best when I’m working from coffee shops or other high-energy places. I actually created most of my Ad Astra Per Aspera poster from an airport terminal while my flight was delayed. When painting, I prefer bright, natural light. When designing on the computer, I hunker down in the darkest corners and turn my screen brightness way up. I listen to Spotify when I need to concentrate and Podcasts when I can allow my mind to wander.
If all your dreams come to fruition where will you be in ten years?
I hope I’ll continue to be travelling and experiencing as much of the world as possible. I feel incredibly fortunate to live a lifestyle that nourishes my sense of adventure while working in a field that fulfils me creatively.
Anything else you would like to add that you think our readers might enjoy?
I’m obsessed with animals. If I weren’t a designer/illustrator for a living, I’d be in a field where I can help animals. I recently went to hear wolf experts, Jim and Jamie Dutcher, speak about their experiences while living with a wolf pack in Idaho. They spent years isolated from society while researching their pack in a remote stretch of the Sawtooth wilderness. Afterwards, they began a wolf-advocacy foundation that’s geared towards raising awareness about diminishing wolf habitats and correcting public assumptions about these animals. I left thinking, “those are the coolest people I’ve ever encountered”. Now, I’m looking into creating a wolf-inspired print where I can kick back proceeds to their foundation, Living with Wolves. Details coming soon!
Want More of Cat Coquillette?
Love this art? Sign up for The Art Folk News and receive the most popular art from the latest featured artists delivered to your inbox monthly.