Tuesday, March 11, 2014


What is your name? 

Kat Johnston-Silver

Where are you from? 
Rochester, NY/ Philadelphia

Where do you live
Carmel, IN

When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

I did my first painting when I was 7 yrs old, I knew I wanted to be an artist my whole life, since childhood.

Who influenced you as an artist?

My uncle Robby, was an artist, he taught me how to paint.  He passed away at a young age (mid-twenties) from AIDS, when I was only 10.

What is your favorite medium? 

Painting, mixed media

Do you have a studio?  Where is it?

I work in my home, a small space (desk area) and/or floor.

When did you become a mother? 

Sept 2012, about a year a half ago.

What are your challenges as a mother artist?

Finding the time to make art is the most challenging.  I haven’t been able to work on larger projects without getting interrupted.  Also having to adapt my work environment to make it child safe- like not leaving materials about for the baby to grab or get into, scissors, paint, glue, pencils, etc.  Before being a mom, I would leave my mess wherever I wanted and be able to come back to a project whenever the mood struck.  I have to stop and put everything away and be patient for another opportunity to work.

What has been the driving force behind keeping a balance between being a mother and an artist? 

If I didn’t make art I think a part of me would die, I know that sounds dramatic but it’s the truth.

When do you spend time making art? 

When she takes her nap in the afternoon (usually an hour and a half to 2 hours) and at night after she’s in bed.  Sometimes I try to sneak in working on small pieces when she is awake and with me, I find creative ways to incorporate her into the process, she helps me find images in magazines, loves tearing the pages out and handing them to me.  If I am working on a larger painting, I sometimes put her in the wrap and wear her while I paint, she likes it for a short time but then wants to go do something else.  She is very active now, ( toddler to the max) and runs around looking for things to get into.  Just in the past few weeks she has started coloring with crayons on the walls. She is so quick, scribbling before I have a chance to stop her.  Its her art, since Mommy has all her stuff on the walls, Wynter wants to be just like her mommy.

How many children do you have?
Do you want more?

 One.  Yes!  We plan to have 3 more children.

Have you ever considered giving up art in order to be a mother? 

No. Never.  

Do you have support from your family and friends to keep making art?

 Yes, I have a lot of support.  My husband is always encouraging me to make art and keep doing shows, he helps me stay organized and able to juggle everything.  I get a lot of positive feedback from my family and friends. I am very active on facebook, networking and connecting with other artists online in the collage/ mixed media groups.  I have made lots of friends and have done dozens of collaborations with artists from all different parts of the country and even over seas! Its wonderful to be able to have a group of people who give you support and praise on a daily basis! Even if I just make a small piece (like post card size) it’s fun to post it up on facebook to see how many “likes” it gets and to hear people’s feedback! 

Do you feel like you are taken seriously as a mother artist? 

Yes, I think so.  Most people are impressed by how prolific I am despite having a little one.  When I take Wynter to my openings people are very friendly and interested in her and how her entrance into my life influenced my work. I don’t see the two roles as separate, I am mom and artist, they are one and the same.

Has becoming a mother influenced your art?

 Most definitely it has!  When I was pregnant with her many of my pieces explored the experience of being pregnant and all the waiting and anticipation (worry/ fear) but also hopefulness and joy that comes along with that.  After she was born she continued to make her way into my art, I used photos of her in my mixed media collages.  People really thought that was cool that she was such a big part of my work. 

Do you think mother artists are taken seriously in society? 

I think they do, but I think the individual has a lot of influence on how they are perceived, in how they see themselves effects how society and others will receive them.  For example if a mother artist is confident and goes after her dream and doesn’t perceive herself as somehow compromised or at a disadvantage because of having children then I think the art world will see her as such, an artist who is driven and going after her dream. I think that is the reality for much of life, we are the creators of our own realities, we heavily influence outcomes of things by our beliefs and expectations.  

What do you say when someone asks “what does your husband do for a living?” 
Are you offended by such a question? 

No. It’s not offensive to me.  I would answer that“I am an artist, and he is a life insurance agent” 

What is your story? 

 I studied Fine Arts in undergrad at a small college in Rochester, NY (my hometown)) then went onto to get my Masters degree in Art Therapy.  My first love has always been making my own art and exhibiting but I thought Art Therapy was a good way to share my passion for art with others, to teach others the powerful therapeutic effects that art can bring, also enjoyed learning about themes and collective unconscious symbolism in art.  I worked as an art therapist for about 7 years in Philadelphia after graduating from Drexel University.  Life circumstances became complicated for us, my husband and I, after only a few weeks of learning we were going to have our first child, we got evicted from our apartment.  With no where to turn for help locally, we accepted an invitation to move to Indianapolis by my husband’s mother.  Things went from bad to worse, just a few short weeks later, we found ourselves in a trucker motel , dropped off and told we had a week to figure things out, with no jobs and no money to our name, we trusted that the universe would bring something our way, we were able to find a place to stay with a long lost cousin who lived here in Indianapolis. We stayed there until we found jobs and before we knew it we were back on our feet in asafe 1 bed room apt in Carmel. We learned a lot about life that year and we continue to learn to not take any little thing for granted.  All of the comforts and appearingly stability that we have in our life can be gone in an instant.  Nothing in life is static or permanent.  That is why it is so important to cherish each moment spent with your loved ones. 

What have you learned about balancing motherhood and your passions? 

I guess I have learned that if something is important enough you will make time for it, even ifits not the amount you used to devote or amount you would want. You make due with what you can accomplish, knowing that things do evolve and change. I appreciate my time with my daughter being this young age because I know before I know it she will be all grown up and I will miss these times when she was so small and so dependent on me.  I don’t ever wish to fast forward to “easier” age, because I can never go back. So I just really take things a day at a time, accomplish what I can, even if its just small works on magnets, or altered playing cards which are small and quick.  I know someday I will get back to working larger and more involved, before I know it! 

What advice can you offer other mother artists about pursuing their passions regardless of their situation? 

Baby steps ( no pun intended) but seriously take it one step at a time, set small goals, like do one drawing by the end of the week or something like that, and be patient with yourself.  Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make your goal, just try again next week.  Each day and each week is a little different than the one before.  Give yourself permission to relax and play, not every piece of art has to be a masterpiece,  sometimes just making stuff for fun that is creative can be a good way to ease back in to making 

What do you want to be remembered for as an artist? 

I want to be remembered for connecting to deeper parts of the human experience, when people see my work I want them to feel connected to it, like it taps into somewhere deep within them. A part that they have forgotten or ignored that is being stirred and woken up.  

For more information about Kat Johnston and her work visit :



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