Skip to Main Content
🇫🇷  Vous préférez voir notre site web en français ?
🇮🇹  Preferisci passare al sito in italiano?
The Localist
Ask The Artist

Ask the Artist: Kate Lowe

Kate Lowe is a lesson in following your dreams, even if you’ve spent 20 years in a different career. A visual artist working in a range of mediums, including paint, digital film and AI, Kate spent two decades in advertising – which isn’t as far from art as you might expect, honing communication, facilitation and research skills. Her work in The Hoxton, Shepherd’s Bush, was inspired by a stay in Canada, hiking the wilderness with fellow artists.

Kate is not just part of the incredible talent in our neighbourhood, she’s a trustee (and resident) of Kindred Studios, round the corner from The Hox, Shepherd’s Bush and also the founder of Pollen Collective, a group of London-based artists who work and exhibit together. Through these connections, she supports other creatives, encouraging emerging talent and fostering interest in the arts: read on for more on her own inspirations and tips for those starting out.

Tell us a little bit about you and your career…

Art is my third career – but my first love. I worked in advertising and brand strategy for over 20 years before returning to my art education. I am now a full-time professional artist, but my art practice has a lot in common with my previous careers; all of my roles and interests are centred around communication, relationships and narratives. I was trained as a researcher and facilitator, and I often use these skills when exploring connections in my subject matter. I am keenly interested in the power of creative communities so I spend a significant amount of time fostering supportive collaborations within Pollen and Kindred.

What inspired the art now hanging in our Hox Gallery? 

The work in the gallery is inspired by a month-long Pollen Collective artists’ residency in a remote part of Eastern Canada. The Pouch Cove Foundation’s art residency programme has hosted over 1,000 professional artists for extended residential stays. In 2022, eight artists from our London based collective spent the month of March exploring and making work in this wild and beautiful part of Canada. I did extensive hikes along the coast, and was particularly inspired by the area where the land and the sea meet. I invested many hours sketching, photographing and painting this connected part of the landscape. The painting that is in this exhibition examines the intricate and dynamic relationships that exist along the rocky shoreline.

“I use my camera as a kind of sketchbook.

Tell us about your creative process?

I use my camera as a kind of sketchbook. I take it everywhere and am constantly recording and experimenting with it as a tool. I also use real sketchbooks and often draw and paint ‘en plein air’ (outside). I will typically start in the landscape and then move to sketches, studies and then eventually on to larger paintings in the studio. I also use AI a way of disrupting them. These abstracted digital images are often made into short films.

Where is your studio, and why did you choose this neighbourhood? 

My studio is at Kindred, which is around the corner from The Hoxton, Shepherd’s Bush. I live in west London and love the creative community here. At Kindred Studios we have over 65 makers in a huge variety of practices ranging from painting to fashion, sculpture, ceramics, photography and mixed media. It’s a generous and supportive community; I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.

What are your favourite objects and materials to work with?

I have two main areas that I work in: I am interested in our relationship to nature, and in our relationships to each other. Everything I work on explores a narrative of connection. I often bring back stones and elements from the natural world. Every time I travel, my suitcase is overweight on the way home as I have picked up so many stones and sticks to bring back to my studio.

Who or what inspires you currently? 

I am particularly inspired by other women in the creative world. This includes artists of course (my favourites are Louise Bourgeois, Alice Neel, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Chantal Joffe), but I am also inspired by female entrepreneurs, scientists, writers and poets.

What are you working on at the moment?

Currently I am working on a collaboration project with textile maker and fellow Kindred and Pollen artist Rachna Garodia. We went on a wonderful art residency to Snowdonia (The Mawddach Residency) in the spring and have a growing body of work which will explore the junction of painting and weaving.

Do you have any tips for aspiring artists?

My biggest tip is about community. Artists need to find their people. Being surrounded by supportive and collaborative creatives makes all the difference. Making art can be a lonely practice; having communities like Pollen Collective and Kindred Studios is crucial for both artists and healthy cities and societies.

Catch Kate on Instagram