INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST: KAYTHA COKER POTTS

We welcome Kaytha Coker Potts as our featured artist for November and as our guest during Second Saturday Soiree on November 14 from 1pm until 7pm on the square in La Grange.
It is always fun to learn a bit more about the artist so we are sharing this interview with you.


Tell us a bit about yourself-where you grew up.  Things you like to do besides your art.  
.  I was born in west Texas and raised in Colorado and Virginia.  I love the outdoors, especially the mountains, and spend as much time as I can skiing and hiking.
Did you start art as a kid or other creative things like music or dance?
     I have been in the arts as long as I remember having grown up in a very musical family.  I was singing at a very early age and in grade school discovered my passion for the visual arts. Although I have been very blessed to be able to make a living in the arts, my main focus has shifted over the years from musical theatre to visual arts.
When did you start to paint in thread?
    Having taught art for over 20 years, I began selling my art two years ago. Since then, I  have been focusing on yarn and fabric paintings- which was a project I developed and used as part of my art curriculum on folk art. 
   


How did you come to choose your medium of yarn?
    My work in yarn grew out of my years as an art educator. Expounding on the idea of yarn paintings- originally derived from the Huichol Indians in Mexico, I have enjoyed experimenting with the color, texture, patterns and possibilities that this unusual medium presents.
Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
    My work was inspired by the yarn paintings of the Huichol people of Mexico. I recreate works from historically significant art movements and artists who best exemplify those periods, using yarns which emphasize color, vibrancy and texture.


Tell us a bit about your process.  
    Yart (yarn art) is an idea that evolved from my many years of teaching art. It is a conglomeration of one of my favorite projects/mediums along with my favorite art movements, artists and subjects. 
     My yarn paintings are inspired by the folk art of the Huichol people of Mexico. Using their idea of "painting" with yarn, I have continued to experiment with the bright colors and textures of yarn (often combined with fabrics, paint and ink) to create my own version of yarn art which represents the celebration of life, uniting the past with the present.  
    
 I begin by preparing my surface with fabrics, molding the fabric to the canvas or board. Next, I sketch out my composition, painting in large areas with acrylic wash or watercolor. Once the ink is dry, I begin lying down the yarn one strand at a time, working small sections at a time, using a permanent fabric adhesive. The end result is almost like a tapestry to which I often will add layers of paint to achieve a look of layered depth and texture that appears to jump off the canvas.
 


Who is your favorite artist and why?
    I have so many, it would be impossible to pick one but I tend to gravitate toward the Fauvists/Post-Impressionists like Van Gogh, Franz Marc, August Macke. One of the reasons I liked teaching art is because I got to change up my projects/ artists/ focus every year.
Toot your own horn.  Tell us about awards and honors that you may have gotten in your creative life.  Which was the most meaningful?
     I actually just started showing my art a few years ago and was super excited to win Best of Show at Bayou City in 2017. As a new /"emerging" artist, I had applied twice before and hadn't gotten in and in the fall of 2017 I was waitlisted and really only got in because of the cancellations from the hurricane that year.... so I was really overwhelmed and shocked that I won the Best of Show that year. It felt like a Cinderella moment for me.
Bayou City Art festival downtown- Best of Show 2017
Granberry Harvest Moon Festival- Merit award 2018
Granberry Harvest Moon Festival- Merit award 2019