Kate Slater is a fantastically talented and all round loverly illustrator working and living in London.
She studied at Kingston University in London (where I first met her) and graduated in 2008 with a fantastic degree show which set her in good stead for her first steps in the illustration industry.
Kate has had her work published in the Guardian and Fast Company magazine and has also produced work for Random House Children’s Books, Zig ad agency, Frances Lincoln, Passion Pictures and is awaiting her first children’s book to be published in November this year by Andersen Press.
I asked Kate if i could interview her for my blog and she said yes – pheww! So below is her interview. Enjoy!
How would you describe your working style?
It’s a combination of collage and cut-outs. I usually work in 3D by suspending individual cut-out, collaged pieces from wires and then photograph this to create the final image. It’s a slightly bizarre process, but I gradually moved towards collage while I was at Kingston and I’ve always loved making 3D pieces from wire so it seemed quite natural to combine the two. For my children’s book ‘Magpie’s Treasure’ I worked in flat collage, although I think I made up for the lack of complicated wire construction by making even more intricate collages!
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now my ongoing project is a window display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I was told I could fill the space with anything I liked, so I’m making a huge flock of about 50 birds which will wing their way across the window. I’m also working on a book cover for Frances Lincoln and I’ve just finished an editorial piece for a magazine in the US.
Who are you inspired by and why?
I’m inspired by all sorts of things, I do love looking at the work of other illustrators like Brecht Evans, Yulia Brodskaya, Sara Fanelli and Lizzy Stewart to name but a few! I was read to lots as a child and the worlds created by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Jon Burningham, Judith Kerr and Quentin Blake are so magical and memorable they remain a source of inspiration. Stories still inspire me today, especially poetry and the theatre. I went to the circus a couple of days ago (Circolombia at the Roundhouse) and that was so incredible that I really want to illustrate some of the acts. People watching is interesting, but animal-watching even more so! I’ve discovered Steve Bloom’s amazing wildlife photography and could pore over his book ‘Untamed’ for hours. I’m inspired by the countryside, specifically trees and more generally just because it makes me feel more relaxed than the city.
What is your working space like?
Well, I live in London and when I’m there my working space is one end of my bedroom, where I share my desk with cups of tea and various plants and the paper creeps out across the floor, no matter how long I spend sorting it into boxes and bags. When I’m not in London I go back to the farm in a tiny village in Staffordshire where I grew up. There I actually have a studio, it used to be where apples were kept and then it became a room full of old furniture and a haven for spiders. When I was about 16 my parents cleared out the furniture, along with a few of the spiders, and turned it into a studio for me. I still go home (the farm is still home) to use my studio when I need the space to work, or miss the cows. I’m very lucky to have two homes!
Where is the place you feel most inspired?
I find the countryside very inspiring and relaxing, and growing up in land-locked Staffordshire I’ve always loved going to the sea. I’m also inspired by going to museums and galleries. An afternoon at the V&A, the Natural History Museum or the British Museum is always a treat (especially because I usually feel I should be doing work instead)! Recently, I had a behind-the-scenes peek at the new Museum of London galleries which are opening at the end of May. It was so exciting and I had two very enthusiastic people from the museum showing me around which made it really interesting! The galleries are going to be fantastic and I can’t wait to go back when they’re finished.
Kate’s book, ‘Magpie’s Treasure’ will be published in November 2010 and her work will be displayed at Yorkshire Sculpture park from the 10th July to 5th September.