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Artist Spotlight: Kat Scarim

Deborah Corr, Photo Editor

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BFA Art Therapy major with primary focuses on painting, drawing, and printmaking, Millikin senior Kat Scarim has recently had one of her multimedia prints accepted into the Emerge Gallery & Art Space in Saugerties, New York.

Born in Palos Park, Illinois, Scarim focuses mostly on abstract art. Her website, kathryn-scarim.squarespace.com, talks about her process and art style. “Scarim’s work transforms familiar shapes into new conceptually layered pieces. By utilizing repeated line, she builds texture and form. Scarim experiments with layering solid shapes over chaotic linework- juxtaposing the organic with the geometric, the recognizable with the abstract, and the known with the unknown.  Most recently, she has been working on flattening out and reducing shapes to simple contour line. This method is reminiscent of children’s artwork- honest and unbiased.”

As an abstract artist, Scarim proclaims, “I WAS A LATE BLOOMER!” Her relationship with art has not always been as intimate as it is now. Scarim addresses, “I ran away and hid from my own creativity growing up, but an art that demands to be practiced cannot be neglected forever. I was studying International Business before I came to Millikin and was so uninspired and unhappy. Looking back, this unhappiness was absolutely rooted in avoiding my soul’s desperate need to express itself. I was afraid of abstract art; it’s messy and loud and it’s not always conventionally beautiful; people do not always understand it. Abstract art and I are one in the same. When I finally listened to my creative call, everything within and around me changed. I became myself. I met abstract art halfway and I have never looked back. Abstract art will always react to you if you react to it.” Scarim’s conjunction with the abstract is one every inspiring abstract artist hopes for. Abstract art is easily misunderstood and is often given a blind eye in the art community, but Scarim brings artists and audiences together to embrace abstract art. Ultimately, this reason was definitely a basis for her acceptance in the Emerge Gallery & Art Space.

The gallery, “Petit: A Group Exhibition of Smaller Art,” will feature Scarim’s piece, “Chosen One.” The exhibition includes artwork sized 16”x 20” and under. The artworks presented use various mediums including oil, acrylic, collage, mixed media, fiber art, sculpture, photography and more. As well, the works represent various styles of art throughout the United States and countries like France, Switzerland, and Italy. The Emerge Gallery & Art Space especially focuses on exhibiting art by emerging artists.

Scarim describes to Dane Lisser, the author of the article, “Millikin student achieves rare artistic feat,” that in making her specific piece, “Chosen One,” “‘… [Scarim] first used the traditional intaglio printing technique and then incorporated mixed media to develop a physical history on the surface. Through layering acrylic paint, watercolor, pencil and gel medium [she is] able to render a developed, experimental and nontraditional final product.’”

In an interview, Scarim talked about her process of making art. She states, “I never walk into the studio with an idea of what my finished product will look like. I make marks and respond to them. The print starts to have a conversation with itself on the page and I am merely there to facilitate it. The Not Knowing can sometimes be scary and frustrating, but I try to find comfort in it.”

Scarim also talked about her specific accepted piece stating, “The title of this specific print is derived from the words written on it: ‘I want to make it happen. I want to be the Chosen One.’ This phrase was said to me by someone I love the night I made the print. I love incorporating words and poems into my work. It makes my pieces deeply personal and almost autobiographical. The audience does not need the context of the conversation, they do not even need to be able to decipher my handwriting. In my opinion, the written word can stand alone as nuanced mark-making.”

Scarim’s artwork is doubtlessly unique and influential. Even as a “late bloomer,” Scarim is an inspiration for artists to get in touch with their undeniable relationship and exploit it through art. Scarim allows artists to embrace the “not knowing” in art making and just go for it.

Scarim’s “Chosen One” will be able to view and purchased online at emergegallery.com and is on exhibit from November 4th-28th. The gallery’s reception is scheduled on November 4th from 5-9 pm. Various artworks of Scarim’s can be viewed and purchased online at her website, kathryn-scarim.squarespace.com. Scarim’s BFA thesis exhibition will be held on December 10th from 1-3 in KFAC and is surely not something to be missed.

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Artist Spotlight: Kat Scarim