We have decided to launch a new intimate style of interview into TheAppWhisperer – the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website. We feel it is important that our community feel close to each other, as it is this support that helps us to nurture one another, gain confidence and continue to grow.
This is our eighth interview, to read the others, please go here. Today, we are publishing this riotous reimagining with an energy and passion all of its own interview with talented digital mobile artist, Kate Zari Roberts from Colorado, in the United States. Enjoy.
All images ©Kate Zari Roberts
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
I remember at twelve years old wanting to be an artist. I was creating pastel drawings of people and distinctly remember my drawings of Diana Ross and the Supremes. I also did abstract oil paintings in my late teens and early twenties. However, my father took me photographing with him beginning when I was twelve as well. He gave me my first camera and we concentrated on landscape photography.
‘Garden of the Gods’ ©Kate Zari Roberts
I started showing my photography in the Coconut Grove Arts Festival in Miami when I was in my late twenties. Steve Althouse, a professor of photography from Barry University in Miami saw my work and invited me to teach black and white printing at the university in exchange for him teaching me to print in color. Two years ago, I saw his very large black and white prints of the Amish community at the Dairy Center for the Arts during the Month of Photography, the first time I’ve seen his work since the old Miami days.
My first job was as an interior designer working with a designer in Palm Beach, Florida. We designed a house for George Hamilton, the King of Hussein, the Worth Avenue Bank, a few tennis stars and several other projects. I was twenty two years old at time and I think we had more opportunities in those days so anyone with a little bit of talent could easily find a job.
‘My Walks in Niwot’ ©Kate Zari Roberts
Private or state school?
I did K-12 in public schools and then went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh to study Interior Design. After graduating and moving to Miami in 1972, I enrolled in continuing education and studied photography and creative writing. Ten years later, I learned the Russian language for a trip I took to the USSR. In 1991, I did a year of nursing school before I had to move after I lost my home in Hurricane Andrew. When I moved to South Africa I did a year of psychology at the University of South Africa.
Who was or still is your mentor?
I’ve been fortunate to have had many mentors in my life. My first one was a photographer I met in Miami who photographed the southwest, particularly Santa Fe and Taos. His photos instilled in me a desire to see the southwest, to study the work of Georgia O’Keefe and Alfred Steiglitz and to travel as much as possible. In some ways, he was like a father to me. I lost my father when I was fourteen and this photographer was the first person to encourage me again to follow my heart/art.
‘Boulder Valley Ranch II’ ©Kate Zari Roberts
How physically fit are you?
I climbed my first 14er ( a mountain 14,000 feet high or higher) at age sixty. I’m sixty-seven now and still walk or hike as much as possible. The knees get a little sore after a long hike but my enthusiasm for hiking overrides any pain. My love of landscape photography certainly helps to keep me fit. I’ve been very fortunate health wise.
Ambition or Talent: What matters more to success?
One has to have both.
‘Lake MacIntosh’ ©Kate Zari Roberts
How politically committed are you?
My maternal grandparents were very politically active so politics was often the topic of conversation at their house. They were Russians and suffered terribly before coming to the USA. Today, some of us Americans are worried that the current president and his supporters, both in government and out, will not accept the results of the next election and he’ll become a dictator. All the signs are there. We all have to do everything we can to get a Democrat in the White House, one that isn’t supported by corporations and/or the Republicans.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
I experienced a financial disaster after coming to Boulder from South Africa. I opened an art gallery to promote the work of contemporary African artists, some of whom have work in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. I had never been to Boulder but my research showed it to be an “artsy’ community and I felt my gallery would be so unique that it would be a huge success. I put everything I had from the sale of my home, furniture and car in South Africa towards the gallery. In one year, I lost everything. At my age, not to have my own home is a great sadness for me. I don’t feel grounded and I don’t have a sense of belonging here.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
I don’t have any. I live a simple, modest life. I suppose one extravagance is my iPhone!
In what place are you happiest?
On a mountain top, in a forest or in the middle of an ocean. My ex-husband and I sailed across the Atlantic from Cape Cod to Portugal in 1988. Those days in the middle of the Atlantic were some of my happiest. It took us 16 days to cross and I would’ve been happy to never see land again. But here I am, landlocked in Colorado so the mountains have become my refuge.
What ambitions do you still have?
Someday, I hope to have some financial reward from my work. If it doesn’t come, that’s alright too. I enjoy creating and never have the thought of will this sell. I create for me. At one time in my life, I was able to support myself from the sale of my fine art photography and from commercial work but that hasn’t happened since I returned to the sates in 2004. Hadn’t I left the country after the hurricane, I think I would have been more financially successful with my work because I already had a following in Miami and several commercial clients.
What drives you on?
My love of life, nature and art, and of course, my family.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
My greatest achievement is raising a daughter who has compassion, who is brilliant, and who’s gone on to receive her LCSW degree and do important work with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. I’m so proud of her, and yes, it took a lot of work on her part as well.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
I’m very sensitive to sound so if someone’s normal talking voice is loud I have a difficult time being around them. It’s a bi-polar thing.
If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would she think?
She’d be happy that I followed my heart.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
My Mamiya RZ67 and all the lenses.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Without doubt, climate change is the biggest, and the political right gaining ground around the world.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
I spent twelve years studying Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetans believe that what carries on are two “drops” in the heart- one of wisdom and one of compassion. I like that.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
Definitely a 10.
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