Mobile Artists on Their Artistry – Interview with Catherine Caddigan from the United States
We are delighted to publish the third of our new styled interview entitled ‘Mobile Artists on Their Artistry’. Within this interview, we ask highly successful mobile artists twenty questions about their backgrounds, their work, social media, how Covid-19 has influenced their creative life and so much more…
Today, we are very proud to publish Multi Award Winning Mobile Artist Catherine Caddigan from New England, United States interview. Caddigan is a conceptual image maker who constantly pushes the limits of her art to catalzye a unique, visual language in which storytelling coincides with collage.
To read the others in this series, please go here.
How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know your work?
My instagram account introduces me as a photographer who specializes in mobile art images. But my art has always been a process of collage, or expanding an image to tell a story. When I first went into a dark room I was manipulating images in camera and in printing.
I started to show manipulated photos in exhibitions and was happy with the results, winning some awards. I found the mobile community on Flickr. My first successes resulted in being in the TheAppWhisperer weekly showcase, which delighted me. Currently, I work primarily with iPhone and an iPad Pro. I have shown my work internationally and in my own New England at various art centers and virtually. I have been named winner in the Pollux and Julia Margaret Cameron awards in Digital Collage.
What name do you use within social media and was this a conscious decision?
@catherinecaddigan on instagram, Catherine Caddigan on Flickr. This was deliberate in order to make my work easier to find.
What kind of family did you grow up in?
I grew up in a large family, I have 7 siblings surviving today, I am the 4th. My parents were practicing Catholics, and so are many of my siblings today. I suppose I am left with a little of that Catholic guilt today. Tragedy happened when I was young and had rippling affects through the whole family. That too is part of my psyche today.
Did your childhood influence your ideas about creativity?
Both my parents appreciated the arts of all kinds, and encouraged creativity. My mother did some writing of poetry and drawing when she was young.
Did your parents support your creativity?
Yes, at an early age my mother enrolled me in an oil painting class with my sister. We lived in a suburb of NYC we visited museums, along with theater, opera etc. In addition, I will always remember the beautiful wooden “painting box” that I was gifted by my parents. It held paint tubes and brushes and had a wooden pallet. One of my most treasured gifts from childhood. At this moment I am wondering what ever happened to it.
When was the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
I was quite young, I think my parents had something to do with it. I vaguely remember doing a pen and ink of a tree, old and gnarly which I still have, I think, and I knew there was something in it. It was uplifting to be able to make things happen that way. Also living close to NYC and visiting some great museums as a child may have played a part.
What is creativity to you?
Creativity takes many forms for different individuals. I think it is in the way a person expresses themself, using their body, their mind, their actions and even their attitudes. We are always creating the world around us just by being, and doing, whether good or bad. Some of my siblings have raised exemplary families, and that is creativity. You, Joanne have been incredibly creative in producing TheAppWhisperer.
In visual art we leave a record of our thoughts, experience and attitudes for others to observe.
What did you do before (if appropriate) becoming an artist?
I was really always an artist, I majored in art in high school, I got a BFA as an undergraduate, followed by an MFA at an art School in Chicago. But I took a detour and was employed as a graphic designer for about 15 years. I started in high tech, and then got more varied assignments. That has definitely influenced my work.
Where are you most creative?
It varies, mostly in my home. I have a small work area, but I work on my iPad just in a large chair with my feet on an ottoman. If I am shooting of course that takes me to different locations.
What inspires you?
I have some favorite artists who inspire me, but some people inspire me in general. Inspiration can come from a film or a book, but I can be very inspired when seeing art in person. I enjoy a good exhibit and always find something or someone to take away. I love when an artist surprises me. It also pleases me to see someone on social media who I think is new to the medium, and see them grow and develop.
Who inspires you?
That is so hard to say. There are so many, currently Dorothy Simpson Krause. In mobile art I look to Eliza Tsitsimeaua, Roger Guetta, Clint Cline, Karen Devine and many more for inspiration. And you, Joanne, of course. Outside of the Mobile community I have been looking at and studying art for a long time and the list is pretty endless. I suppose one of my early inspirations were the pop artist of the 60’s, that is when I was developing as an artist.
Does your engagement on social media help you to plan your future projects?
Mostly I try to start fresh, using my own images. But sometimes I will see something that touches me, sometimes not even consciously, or I will see something I tried before and it works well for someone else so I will approach it with fresh eyes. I think this happens in reverse as well. It’s a natural part of sharing our art. I even belong to a couple groups that do continuing projects and everyone is staying with a theme. It can be useful. But sometimes social media backfires and I will see something I was planning and I will think, oh no, I can’t do that now, it’s been done. But it’s important for me to remember that all ideas come from someplace.
What does your average day look like?
Walking my dog in the morning and afternoon are paramount, rain or shine. Getting outdoors and in nature refreshes me so much, specially if I encounter some wildlife. This morning as I approached a field I often walk near I saw two swans circling above, it’s time for them to move to open water. When I am not walking I squeeze all my errands, and appointments in between and I help take care of my aged mother-in-law. I do some volunteer work one day a week. Sometimes I carve out time during the day to be creative, this is possible because my husband does a lot of the cooking. I am most creative at night. It can go very late if I am inspired. If I am not inspired I will read instead. I often go to social media when I have any downtime. My husband and I watch some TV at night together. (the news, Netflix or Hulu) I often work on my iPad while I watch.
Is it your intention to ask questions or make the viewer question what they see?
Most often, the questions come after I see a piece developing. Often, I use myself, or others (real or found) as subject matter and that lends itself to a visual story, but sometimes an image is just an image for me. My work unfolds as I do it, which is why I struggle with challenges, or themes.
Is there humour in your work?
That depends on the viewer. People see things differently and bring their own bias, so I do think that there is humor when someone is receptive to it. I try not to take myself too seriously.
How important is failure in your work process? Do you incorporate it into your creative process?
Working mostly in Procreate, sometimes iColorama and ArtStudio Pro I will often come to dead ends. I don’t discard these “dead ends” I save the layers and versions which on occasion get resurrected in a different piece. But the act of failure is in itself useful in that I learn when to call it quits, when to see that something doesn’t make good art. The trick is to not post the failures on social media, I’ve done that and regretted it.
How do you deal with criticism?
I welcome it. So often social media is a false construct, it can tend to be all about the numbers. On rare occasions an artist will offer critical advice in a comment or via private message and that I really take to heart, specially if I admire their work.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic influenced your creative life?
Yes, but I am not sure it’s all been in a good way. I have had to concentrate on myself more and I am not sure that is a good thing. I will need to get beyond and look back to know.
Who dead or alive would you like to have dinner with?
There are so many, especially women, like Annie Leibovitz or Julia Margaret Cameron, or you, Joanne. But I have to say Frida Kahlo the most.
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve heard and still repeat to others?
Get out of your comfort zone.
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