• Interview | Kate Banazi.


    Posted on 28th July, by Dana Tomić Hughes in art, graphics + illustration, interviews. 5 Comments

    Collaboration with photographer Chris Searl. Silkscreen prints on board and paper. Exhibited at Three Drunk Monkeys.

     

    Left – “Hampstead Heath”, handpulled silkscreen print for the exhibition at the Lamington Drive Gallery in Melbourne. Right – “Your favourite blue”.

     

    Kate Banazi is an illustrator and silkscreen printer from London who currently calls Sydney her home. I was quite taken with Kate’s creative sensibilities from the minute I saw her work a little while ago. I was instantly drawn to her strong graphic style, striking compositions, rich visual texture brimming with patterns, layers, colours and a sprinkle of optical illusion. Pure visual ecstasy! Kate is represented in Australia by the wonderful Jacky Winter group in Melbourne, who also represent some truly magnificent local talent.

    Here’s a little surprise I found out about when I was researching Kate’s work – not only is Kate crazy talented herself, she also has a 13 year old son Milan, aka Moofus who is also a super clever little illustrator (check out his siteshop and etsy.) Milan donates a percentage of his sales to the charity International Animal Rescue. Isn’t that just wonderful? By the way, I have a mega soft spot for the name Milan – both my uncle and my cousin have the same name, including my favourite author Milan Kundera. Anyway, I digress.

    I am just so excited to bring you this interview with the lovely, generous, quick witted, funny and super creative Kate. Can I just say that I really love people who can have a good laugh and not take themselves too seriously. Life is way too intense and serious as it is dammit! Kate reckons she only ever uses professional waterbased screenprinting inks, as they are “safer for the environment and easier to get out of my hair.” And her answer to my last question had me completely smitten.

    You can find out more about Kate and her work on her websiteblogFlickr or follow her on Twitter. You can also purchase her gorgeous prints from her shop and etsy.

    Thank you lovely Kate for your time, and for being a part of yellowtrace.

    x dana

    Left – “1950000 more virgin airmiles to go” archival reproduction. Right – Collaboration with photographer Chris Searl. Silkscreen prints on board and paper. Exhibited at Three Drunk Monkeys.

     

    “Double eyed”.

     

    Hello Kate, welcome to yellowtrace and thank you for taking the time to e-chat. Could you please give us a quick introduction on yourself?

    I moved from London to Sydney in 2006 with my Australian husband and then 9 year old son. I did a fashion degree at St Martins and after a while in the fashion business, I was introduced to screenprinting by my friend Kate Gibb and she really encouraged me to work more as an illustrator and printmaker.

    When did you first decide to become an artist? Do you remember the very first piece or your first commission?

    I don’t think it was something I ever conciously decided to do, as I was always creatively rather than academically involved. Because both sides of my family were in the arts for generations back, it wasn’t something that raised any eyebrows, but was fully supported and encouraged. I think my parents would have been slightly bemused if I’d have turned around and told them I was going to be an engineer or a vet.

     

    Some of Kate’s tools of the trade – shots from her studio space.

     

    What you are seeking to portray in your work? What is fundamental to your practice – your philosophy and your process?

    The reasoning behind all my personal work is purely selfish in that I enjoy what I do and I will continue to make and do, even when not commissioned, so I feel that my philosophy is to to really work through a thought process and to try new things. I think fundamentally for me, the main principal of my work is to learn wether that be through new techniques or to learn through research.

    Can you describe your typical day of work?

    Like most freelancers I don’t have a typical day at work, but a pretty average day would be when I have a couple of jobs on the go, get into the studio anywhere between 8.30 and 10.30 with the dog depending on how distracted we’ve been in the park,  catch up on computer work and emails, shuffle some paper in the vain attempt they’ll fall into the right files, sort out ink orders and the like then check the schedule for the day. Usually a couple of hours a week are spent cleaning and dehazing screens which is a pretty messy and toxic business, but I get to play with power tools and machinery so thats always good fun. The way I screenprint is often less about producing an edition of prints but more about making one, much like a painting and with sometimes up to 50 screens to go down onto one piece of work it can be quite physical, so by lunchtime I need to get out into the open air and stretch out my back and brain else I’ll go quietly mental.

     

    Kate’s colour study (above) and studio table (below). The table looks like a work of art itself! You can download both of these images as wallpaper from Kate’s website right here. How bloody good is that?!

     

    What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting out?

    To trust my instincts, and that the best lessons learnt are through getting things wrong before you get them right. And that sometimes wrong looks much better than right.

    What are some of your main sources of inspiration? Are there any specific references you are drawing to regularly – books, websites/ blogs etc?

    I think catching up with my friends is really important to my whole inspiration process, talking through things they’re interested in sends me off into unexplored territory, or just asking them for help will throw up completely random ideas that I’ll squirrel away for a later date.

    My stepfather just sent me a superb book from the 1950s called the principals of colour overprinting, my friends Sandi and Amy at the blog Aqua Velvet are hugely inspirational with their great knowledge of art and design.

     

    “Wendy”.

     

    Who or what are some of your influences?

    An eclectic mishmash of space paraphanaelia, the classic greats, philately, trains, 1960 lines and grids, optical illusions, brown corduroy, orange plastic and music, loads of music.

    What other artists, peers and creatives in general do you admire?

    All of my friends… it would be rude to chose one or two, but especially old college friends for amazing frocks and incredible photography, then pretty much a constant would be Hockney, Neil Gaiman,Ian McEwan, Vivienne Westwood, Titian, Ivor CutlerRabindranath Tagore, I could go on and on and on…

    Is there something professionally you would like to try that you haven’t done yet?

    Make furniture and do my own tax accounts.

    My plumbing experiments have proven succesful so far, but I wouldn’t want to risk the electrics.

     

    Collaboration with photographer Chris Searl. Silkscreen prints on board and paper. Exhibited at Three Drunk Monkeys.

     

    What has been your favourite project so far?

    So many things have been a joy to work on so I think I’ll have to go with the personal work and having the luxury of working last year on a solo exhibition and also the honour of Chris Searl letting me play with his photographs that went up in Three Drunk Monkeys. Some of the private commissions I have worked on in the last 12 months have been hugely rewarding.

    What are you working on at the moment?

    Right now I’m working on a proposal for a TV ad, some illustrations for a couple of magazines and printing some big screenprints for Rinzen.

    What’s next – can you share with us your vision and some of your goals?

    The next couple of years I’ve got all sorts planned with fun stuff with friends. My father’s a amazing graphic illustrator who’s slacked off in the last couple of years so we’re planning on doing something together.

     

    “You Beauty”. Handpulled silkscreen print on paper.

     

    Let’s Get Personal:

    What are the qualities you most like about yourself?

    Sense of humour, weirdly shiny hair and that I am a direct physical mix of 7 amazing people whom I have known well and loved.

    What are the qualities you most like in others?

    Patience and good legs.

    Apart from your work, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

    I have an unabashed book fetish and own an obscene amount of books. I love the library, but I don’t like leaving books behind.

    So I have to steal them.

    Only joking.

    I like the simple things, spending time with my friends and family, going swimming or riding,  walking the dog. My husband and I often go out in the evening and just walk around Sydney at night. I love the fact that we spend most of the year outside over here…. it was a revelation!

     

    Kilburn, Wednesday night.

     

    What are some of your favorite local galleries and shops {music, fashion, books, accessories, furniture vintage, other bits and pieces}?

    Tate Modern and the National Gallery in London, Police museum and many of the independent galleries in Sydney.

    Your favourite cafes/ restaurants/ bars?

    My favourites usually revolve around great nights/days out so in that respect, my sister in laws restaurant in Portland, Bistrotheque in London or my corner caff in Sydney. There’s a great Indian restaurant in Balmain that makes curry like my Nanna used to cook, thats a bit special. There are so many great restaurants and bars in Sydney that I’m spoilt for choice just to chose one.

    My favourite place has to be my friend Jens, she’s a superb cook and and always excellent company.

     

    More shots from Kate’s studio showing her work in progress and her inspiration boards. That’s Kate’s son Milan (aka Moofus) in top left hand image – what a handsome young fella he is.

     

    What is your most treasured belonging?

    A ticket stub July 12th 2002.

    It’s not very cool, but I really like…

    Magnum P.I. and E.L.O

    Your favourite joke?

    Too rude to even contemplate sharing.

    How would you like to be remembered?

    With love by the ones I love.





  • 5 Responses to “Interview | Kate Banazi.”

    1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kate Banazi, Dana Hughes. Dana Hughes said: Interview with @katebanazi – crazy talented Sydney based artist and illustrator. http://bit.ly/97BMm4 [...]

    2. Vicki M says:

      Great work Dana and Kate – a really interesting interview. Love the morning studio process – if only interior designers were able to work that way :) Keep up the fabulous artwork :)

    3. Lauren says:

      Excellent interview, I love Kate’s personality that you were able to capture.

    4. yellowtrace says:

      Thank you for your comments Lauren & Vicki.
      And V, I completely agree with you about Kate’s morning studio process – sounds like a dream, especially for those IDs working in large design studios.

    5. Kate says:

      Thankyou for the kind comments, the morning chaos really has to be seen to be believed, my shuffling and paperwork chucking skills are second to none. If I worked in an ID studio it would be terrifying.
      Thankyou again Dana for indulging me!



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