“When you're homeless, you have to be creative to survive. I'm thankful for a place to exercise my craft. ArtLifting gives me hope and opportunity to be a successful artist and contributes to my well being.”
Kateri is a deeply spiritual artist, whose desire and drive is in her mind, soul, and heart. Born in Oakland, California, she now lives in the Nashville area where she draws, paints, and constructs one-of-a-kind 3D wall art. Art has always been a spiritual experience for her and “helps in the process of healing my soul.”
Encouraged by her mother, Kateri began drawing and coloring at a very young age. She excelled in her art classes in school and recognized her own potential. When she became a wife and mother, she continued to draw for her daughter and family and had dreams of becoming a professional visual artist. However, raising a daughter and being a wife took up most of her time and energy, so there was little time for art. Still, she never stopped creating.
When a string of unfortunate events led Kateri into four years of homelessness, she was determined to use her art talents for an escape and a way to cope with living on the streets of Nashville. In fact, it even led her to try a new style of art: abstract. She explains, “Before being homeless I could not imagine drawing or creating abstract art. But because of the stress I experienced while living in the street, abstract art seemed so liberating and a freedom of expression that I began to create that style.” Kateri participated in a homeless outreach program that had art classes and the space for her to create and release her emotions. Through all of the challenges, she insists “My personal experiences make me who I am and I was given an artistic mind so I see life with different eyes.”
Kateri starts her pieces with an idea that she sees in her mind's eye, then decides the colors she will use. She almost never sketches any ideas on paper, but rather hovers over the panel board or canvas and decides through feeling where the first drawing or wood placement should be. When creating her 3D wall art, she thinks about geometrical shapes, placement, and what's pleasing to the eyes. The wooden geometrical shapes have to be hand cut, sanded, and hand painted before she can focus on assembly. She shares, “It's like putting puzzle pieces together. But there is so much preparation before all that happens.”
Since retiring, Kateri uses most of her time creating visual art, helping take care of her husband, and volunteering for homeless ministries. On Sunday mornings, she cooks a hardy and hot homemade soup and passes it out to homeless individuals in Downtown Nashville. When asked about her future dreams, she expresses: “My dreams are already coming true! To keep creating beautiful art, to earn a good living from my creativity and bring more visual art beauty to others and inspire other artists and patrons of art.” She goes on to say, “Perhaps the most important dream is to leave behind a footprint that I was here and my life was spent in creating beautiful art.”
ArtLifting champions artists impacted by disabilities and housing insecurity by connecting their art with socially-conscious customers . Learn more here.