“cheesiness aside, art gave me purpose”

catherine_graffam1

Much like a mother who loves all of her children equally, I love all of my podcast episodes equally… but this one is really quite special. New Hampshire based painter Catherine Graffam is only 23 years old. Yeah, 23. She didn’t find art until she was a senior in high school, at a moment when she absolutely needed it. She began painting self portraits as soon as she discovered oil paint and hasn’t looked back. Whether she realized it at the time or not, she would use painting to document the huge life transition she was about to make. Catherine is a trans woman and her paintings, sometimes sad but always beautiful, have been evolving and developing right along with her. You can listen to our conversation right up there under Catherine and her pink hair, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First up, a few of my favorites to get things started:

catherine_graffam2

Gorgeous. That final piece is titled “Panic”… doesn’t it look like a still from an old movie? Love it. So much.

Next, these are the paintings that broke my heart when she sent me that very sad, angst-filled email while she was still in college:

catherine_graffam3

See? Dark. Literally and figuratively.

Throughout this episode I kept telling Catherine how brave I think she is. Exhibit A, “I Guess I’m Stuck With Me”… the painting she included in a show at college depicting the beginning of her transition:

catherine_graffam4

Beautiful, vulnerable, and BRAVE – whether she’ll admit it or not. The other two pieces are the paintings she mentioned that are also titled after song lyrics: “Head High, Tears Dry”, followed by “Anthem For A 17 Year Old Me”.

Her self portraits are the base of her work, but recently Catherine’s been pushing herself to paint other people. Different faces, different angles, different stories. Here are a few of my favorites:

catherine_graffam5

Ok, so clearly she can paint other people too! Gorgeous.

It wouldn’t be right not to include these beauties… not only does she rock pink hair, look at all of the color and light that has made its way into her work:

catherine_graffam6

Love.

Speaking of love, this is Cat and her cat starring in, “Self Portrait as Madonna and Child”:

catherine_graffam7

Ha! So good. Thanks so much to Catherine for doing this interview with me, and being so vulnerable, honest, funny, and yes, brave. She’s only 23. TWENTY THREE. I am so excited to see what her future holds. Thanks to Saatchi Art for not only supporting this episode, but for also selling Catherine’s work. A big high five to audible.com for making my new book into an audio book! To preorder a copy for FREE just use my fancy link: audibletrial.com/JealousCurator  … and you know what comes next, thank you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other Links:

  1. New Hampshire Institute of Art
  2. Emily Barletta episode
  3. Sean Beavers & Sydney Sparrow
  4. FKA Twigs
  5. “The Polygon Project”, Tasmania
  6. RISD
  7. “Gender Unbound” Show, September 24, Austin
  8. Saatchi Art to purchase Catherine’s work

 






comments (7)

  1. mahogany kees /// 08.27.2016 /// 4:10am

    Hi I wanted to say I so look forward to the art in my inbox Everytime. I can’t wait to see what’s next. The art is always so Awesome. Thank you for your site and sending them to me.
    Peace.

  2. Kelly O'Keefe /// 08.27.2016 /// 7:23am

    These are lovely and so accomplished– thank you for posting them! I will watch this talented artist!

  3. the jealous curator /// 08.27.2016 /// 7:26pm

    me too ; )

  4. Jen /// 08.27.2016 /// 9:15pm

    LOVE Catherine’s work. Just stunning.

  5. Julie /// 08.28.2016 /// 3:37am

    Beautiful work!! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Jen /// 08.28.2016 /// 4:34am

    Love the strokes and color value!

  7. Heidi Lanino Bilezikian /// 08.28.2016 /// 8:16am

    Fantastic work, look forward to seeing more.