Portland/Brooklyn Artist Series: Kate Bingaman-Burt

Feb 15, 2010

I'm thrilled to be partnering with Art Hound in a six-week series featuring some of the foremost independent artists from Portland and Brooklyn.  Each week,  we will be interviewing a different local artist from our respective hometowns.

This week's featured Portland artist is Kate Bingaman-Burt.  To young aspiring artists at Portland State University, Kate is called "Professor."  But she is known to many of her fans as the artist behind Obsessive Consumption, a blog documenting the daily drawings of personal consumption.

photos: Anthony Georgis

How would you describe your work?

I like to incorporate a variety of materials and create an environment, but I don't get the chance to do this very often.  For the past eight years my work has been about personal consumerism, guilt, excess, silliness, and the mundane.  I try not to take myself seriously, but I take working hard seriously.

Kate's drawing of Anthony's camera. She only draws with Faber Castell pens and uses Strathmore paper (8" x 10" to be exact.)

What are the greatest challenges of being an artist today?

One challenge that I have is balance and knowing when to stop.  I have a hard time stepping away from a project.  I also have problems with saying no.

Sometimes focus is a challenge for me, so I created a system of rules, such as daily drawing and a schedule.  This helps me create in ways that I need to create while still having a structure.

Layers of Kate's favorite images.

Tell us about the biggest risk you've taken as an artist.

Moving to Mississippi after graduate school.  I exited a community of friends and makers and entered totally new territory.  It was scary, but I am so glad that we lived there for four years.  It really taught me that you can make your own space wherever you are.

Kate dreams of a room filled with plants.  Fortunately for her, she lives across the street from a plant shop. 

What do you love most about Portland?

I like that I can sit at my desk all day and still feel like I am part of the neighborhood.  I live in an area that is pretty active.  I live above a coffee shop, so I can hear the patrons in the coffee shop and I don't feel like a total recluse.  I also love the fact that I can go to the ocean in 90 minutes and the mountains in 60 and into the forest in 10.  Amazing.

One of Kate's favorite Portland food cart items.  Mmm, they are delicious!

What makes Portland/Brooklyn such a great place for independent art?

Even though I have only been here for a year and a half, I feel really supported in what I do.  I don't feel negativity or competition, but more collaboration and support.  

Kate is releasing her first book, "Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?" this spring.  An upcoming show and book release is scheduled for April 2 at the Land Gallery in Portland.  

Maybelle, Kate's studio buddy.

This week's featured Brooklyn artist is Jacqueline Bos.  Read her interview here.

As part of the artist interview series, we are inviting readers to participate in a dialogue about Portland and Brooklyn's art communities.  Both cities are considered epicenters of the independent art scene, but how do you think the two art communities differ?


Meg Hunt said...

Kate is so awesome, I'm really glad to see her featured here and peek into her inspiring space again :)

Aaron Rayburn said...

You guys struck gold on this post! Thanks for this one, she is such an inspiration to so many peeps!

Kate - Art Hound said...

Looks fantastic! And great to learn more about Kate!

robyn's nest said...

Wow!! Thanks so much for starting this series! I just moved to Portland (to be with my sweetie Michael, aka Tinymeat) and am in awe of all the incredible artists/crafters here! I will continue to follow your blog---it's fantastic!

Cathy said...

Robyn, welcome to Portland! We carried Tinymeat wallets in our shop! It goes to show how small the world truly is in Portland. Love it.

Will_Bryant said...

she is the best! well done on the interview and the photos are rad

belinda marshall said...

great interview. that would be nice to work above a cafe. this is a beautiful work space + love kate's drawings.
am desperate to visit portland + brooklyn {one day!}.

Ray said...

She's the real deal.

Artsaccomplice said...


I'm an art student from Louisiana, but I took a trip to Portland a few years ago and had the wonderful opportunity to just wander around on my own all day. What a fabulous city! I must say I'm jealous that Kate lives above a coffee shop! how lovely! In the interview she mentioned how she keeps to a creative schedule; is there any was I could find out a little more about that?? I'm forever trying to make a schedule that I can really stick with! Thanks so much and look forward to reading your blog! Take care!


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