Monday, November 12

Unexpected Guests: Anahata Katkin.

This week we're popping in on vibrant artist and PaPaYa! designer Anahata Katkin. PaPaYa! appropriately (as you will soon see) means creative abandon. Anahata's work is exotic, colorfully layered and highly imaginative. I first discovered Anahata because of the interesting and thought provoking comments she regularly posts on sfgirlbybay, which then lead me to her flickr photo stream, where I found her beautiful photographs of her home, studio and artwork. So, sit back and check out her amazing style...I think you'll find it's a bit like a psychedelic, magical mystery tour!

Is Anahata your given name?
Anahata Joy is indeed my birth name. Anahata is Sanskrit for the heart. Or for the more Hindu minded - it is the name for the heart Chakra and also doubles as the name of the "unstruck sound" which is responsible for creating the universe, so the Hindu's believe. It's a scary name to live up to as a child. I went by Ana all my life until I was about 20. I was horrified if people knew my real name as a kid. Ana is a great cop out when I need to rely on it and it is
still what friends and family call me.

Who is your favorite artist?
I have been in LOVE with the artwork of Blaine Fontana, especially artwork from his 2003 series. Also an artist named C.W. Slade, a painter with the most vivid, modern colors you can imagine. Her paintings breathe. I cannot understand how she does it. Historical period favorites are traditional Mughal paintings from court life in India (1500's) and dead artist favorite is definitely good ol' Van Gogh, but only in person. I just never liked his paintings until seeing them in the flesh and The Mulberry Tree made me cry when I saw it. He really is the stuff of history.

What's your favorite food?
Definitely Thai food. I am officially Panang Curry and Mango with Sticky Rice all the way! Mochi ice cream is a close second (is that food?).

Who would you like to sit down to tea with?
Amy Butler, Rex Ray, or Lisa Congdon, Victoria (you!). Real people/designers, living real creative lives, and just celebrating scones!

What is your most treasured belonging?
My art journals and an African statue my family had while I was growing up, of a naked Mosai woman. She was given to our family from some friends who owned an African art gallery on Melrose in the 60's. She's simple and beautiful and I always think of how we used to put a little Santa hat on her at Christmas time. Weird.

What's the last great book you read?
I know it's predictable but I have to say it...Eat Pray Love. But, I also felt the book was somewhat based on the book Holy Cow. I read that maybe four years ago and totally loved it. It's a woman's story of living in India while her journalist husband was stationed there. Even the humor and personal accounts are similar. But Holy Cow came first! I highly recommend that book. And along the same trippy lines, It's Here Now (Are You?) by Baghavan Das, is a VERY wild autobiography of a young rogue westerner in India in the 60's. I was shocked at what a great read it was. But it's not for everyone.

If you could photograph anyone in the world, who might that be?
Ooooooh. I love this question. What a great thought. Super hard. I know she's gone now but Anais Nin when she was young would be my first choice. Of living people, the first thing that comes to mind are Brazilian Graffiti artists.

Did you go to art school - or is your talent just a natural gift?
I went to a summer at Otis Parsons LA when I was 15. That was a really exciting process for me at the time. I recommend it for anyone with a creative teenster. It was strict and hard and very rewarding. (to this day I cannot draw as well as I did that summer). Then I also did just one year at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle when I was 17. The fine arts foundation program was also a great experience but the pressures of being so young and in college got the best of me and I ended up traveling instead of heading back to school. In the end I think it's a good thing since collage and mixed media was frowned upon in that setting. I was always getting knocked for being drawn to collage and assemblage. I made a life size cabinet with a woman inside of it for my final project and I had writing on the windows. Many said the project was good but didn't understand why I would incorporate text into it. Sheesh!

The type of artwork I do now was entirely self taught. I did a photoshop tutorial and two single day mixed media workshops. The rest was just a process of trial and error and still is. When I get emails from people who are in isolated communities who ask how to begin and feel frustrated- I always tell them that they have an advantage because of their isolation. Not being able to rely on inspiration from others or from the culture means that the stuff is pure and can have a deeper impact on people once you find your groove.

PaPaYa! is a fluke. No one would have told me I could make a living at what I'm doing. No one else could really even see the value of it until now. And honestly I have never cared much if people got it or not. I have obsession to thank for that. The feeling of obsession means that life has big plans for you regardless of what's popular now or how people around you feel about it.

Favorite Color?
Turquoise by far. If I could be a color it would be turquoise. Chartreuse is a new favorite, though. I'm cheating on turquoise with chartreuse at the moment. I guess I like the thrill of it.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Mmmmm... Clive Owen & Rufas Sewell. I also like to leave lots of lights on. Ohooo. That's a super naughty one.

What do you despise?
Service people in Ashland, Oregon (where I live). Come on people! I JUST-DON'T-GET-IT.

What's your favorite word?
Synesthesias. I just learned it this year (I'm a later bloomer)! And Leelah - it means the play of God.

To find out more about the evocative Anahata Katkin, you might like to take a look at her online shop PaPaYa! (or CafePress), where you can shop for her brilliant, beautiful work. There's also Anahata Art, where she maintains private art journals and shares work she has done by hand. Thank you for a most fascinating interview, Anahata, I learned so much and must admit, I am right there with you on Clive!


jill said...

great interview. im also right there with you guys on Clive Owen!
would love to know where the white chair in her living room is from.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great interview with the fabulous Anahata! Loved the questions, and the answers, she is So inspiring!

Cakespy said...

What a treasure! I saw some of her stuff at the Atlanta Gift show, but this is a great behind the scenes view. Thank you for the great post!

Anonymous said...

Ummm, does she accept lodgers? Or at least is she willing to travel halfway across the country and provide design advice? :)

Christie said...

love your apartment and work space. While I'm living in SF right now, I'm origionally from Oregon, so it's great to see an oregonian featured!

kelly rae said...

love this girl and had the lucky experience of learning from her. amazing. her talent is deep and wide.

Maggie Sumner said...

Her place and work has such a beautiful feeling. I find it very inspiring. It's like visual candy--the really satisfying kind.

Anonymous said...

Love all the pics. Just curious to know where you got that great sectional?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: grey sectional is from Natuzzi (I'd never buy a down sofa again!)

Blue: The white chair is from Sitcom. They fold up and have washable covers too Technically they are outdoor.

Anonymous said...

Great interview Victoria. Love Anahata's work, wonderful to see her place.

LEE said...

thanks SFGIRL and Anahata for sharing this, inspiring, indeed! great work, beautiful pictures and fun interview. yay!

Anonymous said...

I love Anahata's style- especially her bedroom and balcony. I had them as Flickr faves, so it's so lovely to find out more about the person living there!

Uncle Beefy said...

I know I should be more articulate and delicate perhaps buy "holy crap"! Beautiful, inspiring, the work, the house...oy...I mean...OY VEY! I'm gonna be dreamy all day! Thanks for all of this Victoria & Anahata!

Lora said...

tell anahata it's ok cuz i'm cheating on chartreuse (first love) with turquoise!

Amelia A Beautiful Living said...

Wow! Great pictures and lovely colors!

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I'm totally with you on:

A. Mughal art
B. The amazing experience of seeing a real Van Gogh painting with your own eyes
C. The benefit of sometimes creating art in a remote place far from other inspirations
D. Yes, Clive Owen! He's swears like a filthy sailor and I love it.

Julie said...

What beautiful work on both your parts. this is a lovely find I just happened across. How lucky am I?