Interview by Amanda Thiel
We are here today with Kati Driscoll, Organizer and the driving force behind Delaware Fun-A-Day over the past two years.
First things first - the first state. Have you always lived in Delaware? If not, what brought you here?
I am a lifelong Delawarean with an obnoxious amount of hometown pride.
What is your preferred medium?
I'm most comfortable working with textiles and metals - despite being new to the latter. Working with three dimensional objects feels a lot more natural to me than drawing or painting, though my true ambition is to be a better illustrator.
What spurred your interest in undertaking the enormous task of organizing Delaware Fun-A-Day?
Leanne Pedante brought the event to Delaware in 2012 and I signed on as a participant and volunteer. In an elaborate full moon ceremony, I entered into a blood oath with Leanne to take over the event in 2013 (she was leaving for LA and asked me very nicely if I would). Ever since, I've been running Fun-A-Day with the support of my friends and volunteers. This year my focus is mainly on registration and marketing (email, social, website).
What do you feel the impact on the Delaware art community has been?
I'd like to think that Fun-A-Day has had a positive impact on a small part of the art community. We provide an opportunity for artists of all ages and abilities to exhibit their work which is hard to come by in this state. I would love to make a much larger impact - especially with artists outside of New Castle County - but that sort of growth is difficult to realize without greater community investment.
You were recently approached to license one of your prints. How does it feel to receive interest and recognition from a corporation wanting to reproduce your image on a larger scale?
It was overwhelming to have an established brand come knocking on my door. I haven't been painting long and have little confidence in my work. Because I was approached via TWAMIES, which I run with my partner Alan, I was dismissive - immediately assuming they were interested in his work. When they explained the piece was mine, I cried non-stop for hours and then sporadically over the next few days, much to the bewilderment/irritation of my friends. I'm one of the few people who sort of bumbles into great opportunities only to end up distressed over it.
How do you stay motivated in your creative process?
I don't really have a problem with staying motivated because there are so many amazing things that I want to make that it seems really unfair that I don't get to live forever! There are times when I get burned out on a project but I just move on to something else for a moment. If I'm tired of sewing I'll jump to metalworking or drawing or painting or try something totally new like weaving or cyanotypes. If anything, I have a hard time staying FOCUSED.
You are an Adjunct Instructor at Delaware College of Art and Design, teaching Social Media. How do you think Social Media has changed the Art world? What drew you to teaching this this type of program?
It's hard for me to be concise on this topic because Social Media is what I do for a living, but I'll try! I think Social Media has had a positive impact on the art world in that it has enabled discovery of / ease of promotion for artists. You don't need to be invited to participate in a show at a renown gallery in a large art market to find some measure of success. You can turn on your phone and snap a few images and wake up to requests from private collectors, galleries and businesses. You can ask for and receive financial support from a global community (just like we're doing for Fun-A-Day this year - ahemhemhem).
Of course, that doesn't mean the issue of accessibility is solved. If you're an artist without the income to afford technology or someone who isn't interested in plugging into the matrix, you face the same, maybe even greater issues than in the past. There's also the threat of plagiarism, which happens pretty regularly.
I was drawn to teaching Social Media - and also the Etsy workshop - at DCAD because I really wanted to help people understand how to manipulate the system to work in their favor. In my experience, if you're just OK at art but great at writing for the web and marketing, you can get surprisingly far!
You are also a vocalist and have been very involved in volunteering for Girls Rock Philly. How does it feel to inspire young women on their journey of self-expression?
It feels incredible! I came home after Girls Rock Camp and told everyone that if I died here & now, I would've lived a full life. Girls Rock seriously changed my life! Working with young people who identify with the female experience is awesome & helping to shape their identities in positive ways via music is the coolest thing I have ever done.
What do you think it means to be a successful artist?
The ability to consistently and flawlessly transition something from an idea to finished object is my idea of being a successful artist. That's something that takes a lot of patience & practice - which is really hard for me, but I feel is essential if I want to be a better maker. Every truly gifted artist or musician I know is someone who practices all the time and I don't believe that to be coincidence.
Finally, what do you hope Delaware Fun-A-Day will be able to do for the future of the art community five years from now?
I don't know that Fun-A-Day the event can influence the future of the Delaware art community, but I have a very firm belief that the people of Fun-A-Day will play a large part in the future of the scene. Wilmington, for example, is making major investments in the arts community and I definitely see some of the organizers and artists involved in Fun-A-Day playing a large role in that. I think the only way Fun-A-Day could really be a part of that would be as a more formal entity. If we exceed our fundraising goal [shameless plug: readers, participants, Facebook fans, community members and friends - please take the time to donate to Fun-A-Day today!], I'd love to use the remainder to formalize the collective as a non-profit. This would enable us to apply for grants so that we can perhaps focus on a dedicated space in addition to running Fun-A-Day. OR, I can see Fun-A-Day rolling into an existing non-profit, gallery or organization.
For more of Kati's work, visit her Etsy shops TWAMIES & Cloverhunter.