The first time I saw the painting The Pure Look of the Bishop I stood in front of it for about half an hour because of how mesmerized I was by it. K’s work has a tendency to draw you in and keep you staring. I haven’t quite put my finger on what it is yet, but she is without a doubt one of the most talented artists I know, and The Pure Look of the Bishop is one of my favorite paintings ever. She not only is an amazing visual artist, but she can write and pull people into a new way of seeing. We are thrilled to have her as the featured artist for this issue of Fathom.
What do you do and how can I find it?
Man, what do I do? Now there’s
a real philosophical question! On a practical level—I make things and I
curate things through portrait painting, fiction and essay writing, and
collaborative performance pieces.
All in all, I tell stories. I try to present, to depict the people and the experiences that ask to be materialized. I explore. I kind of wade around in a big pool of ideas, emotions, cultures, languages, images and really enjoy them. I guess I just hope to make work that wants to change people. You know, work that sucks people (including myself) into a deep crevice of reality. That kind of thing is transformational. You just can’t see the world the same after it. It’s generative, you must make new what you make of everyday life.
My work can be found mostly in my Mac’s hard drive, but you can get to some of it through my website.
How did you get started?
Growing up with parents that are artists, I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t drawing a pretty girl, or producing a movie about two elves, or laying under a piano writing a matrix spin-off. . . . You know it’s really hard to answer this question too. I feel like I “get-started” every day. When I wake up and make my schedule, it’s always new. Perhaps it’s the same schedule as the last four days, but it’s a reboot—spiritually, physically, mentally—every day.
What is the coolest story you have about doing what you do?
Hmmm. The coolest story. I have some real wild stories, but the coolest . . . Well, a few months ago I took this creative writing class. We all would take turns reading aloud each person’s piece. My story came up on the docket. A friend of mine, poor guy, who had to read the piece started into the opening words. By the time he got to the end the whole class had been laughing so hard that tears trickled down faces and heads rested on tables. I wasn’t even sure he was going to be able to finish reading it.
I had brought in a piece about a 10 year-old girl engaged in a snowball fight with her Dad, but it was told like Saving Private Ryan.
It’s pretty easy for most artists (definitely including me) to get real vague and idealistic about their work—wanting it to be transcendent and ethereal. But honestly, it always comes down to the simple moments. One of my coolest days was when I discovered that just making people laugh is extraordinary.
Who was the biggest inspiration for your work?
Inspiration is everywhere, in everyone. It just depends on if I’m willing to see the world and hear God at the same time.
If you could give someone advice for doing what you do, what would you say?
I’d just say stop thinking about yourself. Look at your audience; you do this for them—your roommates, your family, even your dog. Let your work always be an act of love, for God and for your community. You don’t have to be afraid of your work “not-mattering.” What is done in this love is done with God himself—it is eternal. Now go have fun.
A flash fiction story by K Pastore
You told me that learning to fly came with a dizziness, a warm-breathy clearness, a between-the-shoulder-blades-tenseness, a tingling in your brain that cleared a space for numbness and filled up with deep-water blueness; well, the fairy dust in my ear turned my eyes to Midas gold, yet my feet stood upon the floor then I saw dignity restore, honey dripping off human lips, leaves radiating star-lightness, tenebrous clouds resounding politeness, haloed-children bearing brightness—I never thought flying would be quite like this.