Today’s artist spotlight features NYC-based artist, Kate Scialabba. What first drew me to Kate’s work was her use of shades of blue (my favorite color palette) and how she uses a combinations of shapes, brushstrokes, geometry and pattern to create her pieces. Following her graduation from the University of Virginia, Kate pursued a career in interior design before rediscovering her love for fine art and painting.
In this interview, Kate shares about what inspires her, her favorite place to paint and some words of advice for artists who are just beginning their careers.
After graduating from the university and pursuing a career in interior design you fell back in love with fine art and painting. What do you enjoy the most about combining your love of interior design and art when creating a painting?
I think what’s really cool about making the transition was I kind of imagined what kind of room the painting will go in while I’m creating the new piece. When I worked in interior design, we would always look for art for the walls as the last step and we were trying to make it fit into the interior. Since it was the last part of the design process instead of the main focus, so we would always struggle to find the right piece. So that’s why I decided to make the switch from interior design to creating art. I love how art can transform a space and enhance the overall look of your space.
Your primary medium is acrylic on both canvas and paper. What do you enjoy the most about using acrylic versus oil?
To be honest, I used to only use oil when I trained growing up, but since my studio is in my apartment I decided to switch to acrylics due to the smell. Oil also takes a lot longer to dry while acrylics dry quickly. So it’s mostly about the ease of using acrylics. If I were ever to do realistic paintings I would definitely switch to oil.
I love that your work often features a color palette of blue & white. What drew you to this color palette and is there a particular shade of blue that you use most often in your work?
I’ve always loved blue… my parent’s home is blue and most of my wardrobe is blue. In fact, most of my friends now try and talk me out of buying any more blue or blue striped pieces for my wardrobe. I just love how calming and comforting blue is. My favorite color paint is cobalt blue and but I would say a blue-grey almost periwinkle is my signature color, like my logo.
Where is your favorite place to paint?
In my studio. I love being at home, but right now I’m painting outside in Miami. My parents spend a lot of time down here and I love painting outside. The paint dries quickly so you have to work faster, but I love painting outside the most.
Your work features organic shapes and brushstrokes that are combined with geometry and pattern… what would you say is the biggest source of inspiration for your work?
I would say both natures as well as textiles. When I started experimenting with my style and what I wanted my look to be a lot of the shapes I used were inspired by textiles and nature.
I enjoyed seeing the pieces inspired by your trip to Africa, featuring giraffes (Two’s Company… my favorite), elephants, and zebras. What did you enjoy the most about creating these pieces?
I like to stray away from what I do all the time every so often. So I wanted to see how it translated to animals. I deconstructed and reconstructed the animals using my signature style, plus Africa is just such a beautiful place.
Your artwork is available on both your website and via Serena & Lily. How did your collaboration with the brand come about?
My dad was actually at Serena and Lily shopping and saw all their original artwork. So he mentioned that my art really matches their art style & aesthetic, so they put me in touch with the head of the art department.
In addition to your work on canvas and paper, you had a 2019 Ornament Collection. What is the biggest difference/challenge you run into when painting on an ornament versus a flat surface?
Holding the ornament is the biggest challenge because it’s round and it’s difficult not to keep touching the wet paint on the other side. I like moving it around as I paint it so I’ve figured out how long it takes to dry. They are really fun to create, and since they’re at a lower price point, they make great gifts for family and friends.
What is the largest commissioned piece that you’ve painted?
The largest one has probably been a 48 x 60. It was for my best client in Colorado. Her husband is in the military, so they move around a lot. She says that art is how she makes her new home feel like home. She asked me to do this big piece with a lot of shapes and blues and afterward, she always sends me pictures of her husband and her little boy standing in front of the paintings.
Do you have any words of advice for artists who are just beginning their careers?
I think that Instagram has been a huge outlet for me and I know it’s crazy to say because I didn’t take it that seriously at first, but reaching out to the community and having that support has been a huge source of marketing for me. Every artist has something in their mind that is unique to them, that they need to expose to the world. It can be a little scary, but once you put yourself out there, there will people who love your work and it’s very reassuring.
Website: https://www.katescialabba.com // Instagram: @katescialabba
All images in this post are via Kate Scialabba and photographer Merari Teruel