Next week marks the opening of our July exhibition, Electropop: new works by Kaitlin Ziesmer and Robin 1000. Both artists are incredibly prolific, filling the gallery with an electric retro-contemporary energy of solo works and select collaborations. We had a chance to ask Kaitlin a few questions about her art and life; below, read about what she would tell her younger self, her greatest inspirations, her current musical obsessions, and more.

1. Did you aspire to be an artist, or did you fall in love with making art?

It’s been a combination of the two. What it comes down to is that I can’t imagine doing anything else. Even going through high school, I knew that I wanted to be in art classes. That wasn’t just to get out of doing “regular classes,” it was because I was going to art school; I knew that whole heartedly. So there’s that, but I think I’ve genuinely fallen in love with making art even more as of late. When I truly started doing it full time, working harder and more hours that I have ever worked at anything, that’s when it really, really, clicked. It’s so much fun and rarely feels like a job and I can’t complain.

"C3P(Olkadots)," 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 30" x 24"
“C3P(Olkadots),” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 24″

2. What would you tell your younger self when you were first embarking on your artistic career?

Not that I would actually listen, and I haven’t been at it all that long, but… “1) IT’S SO MUCH HARDER THAN YOU THINK. 2) Expect to go for long periods of time eating eggs, and tortillas, and you will learn to love cheap coffee as long as it’s strong as hell. 3) Know that you should save your money, because there are some months when you don’t have a dime come in. 4) With all that said, you won’t regret making the leap one single bit. You’ll never regret trying, even if you question it all the time. And 5) an art community is a good thing, a really good thing. Reconnecting with art-making friends, and making new ones, is huge and the amount of support you get from those individuals is unmeasurable (even if it’s a little uncomfortable at first).” Honestly i could keep going and going.

"Suzy," 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 18" x 28"
“Suzy,” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 18″ x 28″

3. Who are some of your current influences or inspirations? Have they changed over time?

I think I’m always going to be heavily influenced by my peers, or at the very least, heavily inspired. I love seeing people around me doing well and just absolutely kicking ass at what they do. Some people’s work ethics are unbelievable, I love to see artists, and really anybody, workng really hard to do exactly what they want to do. So in that sense, those influences will constantly be changing all my life. There are a few creatives that I will forever love because of what they stand for and why they make art. Margaret Kilgallen has a great quote in which she says, “Often, I know, artists supposedly do their work for themselves, and it is very personally motivated, and you work a lot by yourself. And yet, when you put your work out there, and somebody comes up to you and thanks you for doing it, and especially when young people come up and thank me— that is why I do work, if I can inspire somebody. I think my work, in particular, is pretty accessible to people, and I think it’s very accessible to young people who are interested i doing art or are doing art.”

From the "It's for Fun!" series, 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 12" x 12"
From the “It’s for Fun!” series, 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 12″ x 12″

4. Do you listen to music/audio while you work or do you prefer to work in silence? Any bands or albums you’ve been enthralled by lately?

Oh, I absolutely CANNOT work in silence. I would go crazy. I’m really the person that can listen to jusssssssst about anything. Something that’s always in rotation is Motown. I love it all. From there, and at this exact moment, I’ve got Pepper Rabbit, Lucy Michelle, alt-J, and Angus & Julia Stone on repeat. Music is huge for me, but I also bounce back and forth between that and podcasts. I’ve become a podcast junkie lately. Anything that’s a storytelling based program, I’m all over it. Everybody should sit down and listen to other people’s stories and experiences, it really makes you get out of your own head.

5. If you could travel to any place on earth tomorrow, where would you go?

Hike to the base camp of Mt. Everest. My Aunt Kelly, who is seriously the coolest lady ever, did it when she was my age. After I work my ass off doing that… I’ll head over to Bali and just do whatever I want.

"Homage to the Chuck Wagon," 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 18" x 28"
“Homage to the Chuck Wagon,” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 18″ x 28″

6. What does your perfect day look like?

Waking up early. Strong coffee. Donuts are always involved in a perfect scenario. Miraculously having the energy to go on an early hike with my pup. Paint something I’m unbelievably excited about with some amazing music in the background. Take a break and eat something delicious. Get back to work and kick some ass. Meet a friend and talk life and art while drinking really good beer… and then again, somehow have enough energy to go back home and work for a few more hours, and be really excited about it. Finally, cozy up with my dog on the couch. Boom.

"alive," 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 60" x 40"
“alive,” 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 60″ x 40″

Thank you to Kaitlin for participating in our interview. You can see more of her work in Electropop, opening Saturday, July 18 from 6-10pm, and online at www.kaitlinziesmer.com.

For more information on Helikon Gallery and Studios, visit www.helikongallery.com.

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