Through KatScratch, I find myself confronting my own cognitive discourse – being fearful of the physical and emotional aspects of sexuality, yet at the same time intrigued and fascinated by it. The anger and sadness I feel sometimes from past traumatic experiences, I am able to process it safely through my art. Often 'anger' is seen as a negative emotion, but I see it as a powerful asset, that gives my work fire - as with any tool, it's all about how you use it.
As mentioned in my Statement, the catalyst for my artistic expression, and therefore the biggest driving force behind my work is the film 'The Violent Kind' (2010) - the gist of the plot is as follows:
"One night at a secluded farmhouse deep in the Northern California woods, a small group of hardened young bikers and their girlfriends are tormented when one of the girls becomes savagely possessed and a gang of "Rockabillies" seemingly from the 1950's descends upon them to collect what is growing inside her." http://www.imdb.com
It was the Rockabilly gang that captured me the most, and for me was the most exciting aspect of the story. Their backstory was that they were a group of youths that went missing in the 50's - just vanishing, seemingly never to be seen again. Murderball, Jazz, Vernon, Trixie & Pussywagon.
Looking into what may have been part of the inspiration behind the story, I began reading up on the'ice files' of the 50's - named as such, because due to the comparatively primitive forensic technology at the time, many cases of people going missing were left unsolved, and as trails ran cold, these cases were dubbed 'ice files', and abandoned.
I used the Rockabillies' backstory as inspiration for a piece called 'Missing' - featuring the characters Trixie & Pussywagon:
Another aspect of the Rockabilly Gang that I loved were the heavily stylised costumes in a way they were stylised almost to the point of being caricatures which fitted perfectly with the campy, almost pantomime-like characters. The violence in the Rockabilly scenes was heightened with sexuality to the point where the line between violence and sex became increasingly blurred. The fact that the Rockabillies were impervious to physical harm - much like in a cartoon - meant that violence was all part of 'the game' for them - to the distress of their human victims.
Another important element in The Violent Kind was the soundtrack. In the Rockabilly scene the gang play 50's rock n' roll on a vintage record player - which contributes to the atmosphere of the scene. With the look of the character Jazz reminding me of The Big Bopper:
I then went out and bought my own record player and now have a rather extensive record collection including many of the singles featured in the film.
Music is an integral part of my practice - as I'm working I listen to music that brings about the same emotions in me as I'm trying to convey in the piece. I feel like a conduit, as I channel the feelings provoked by the artist through my pencil and onto the paper.
Most often, I find myself listening to my Buddy Holly and Elvis records - but really it depends on the piece!
In The Violent Kind, there are frequent references made to the film Rebel Without A Cause with James Dean. Below are two pieces I did, featuring the characters Murderball as James Dean, and Trixie as a feral Natalie Wood:
Out of all the characters in the film, Trixie is my favourite - partly because she's played by one of my favourite actors Mackenzie Firgens , whom in my opinion is one of the most talented, versatile, creative performers in the indie film scene today.
In January, I decided to start an audio diary. For a long time, I had been wanting to find a way of keeping a record of my thoughts. Previously, I had tried keeping a written diary, but I found myself self-editing and my diary entries didn't truly convey the complexities of my mind which was what I was really trying to express in a tangible form, that would allow me, years from now, to reread these entries and recall what it was like to be me, Katy, in the year 2017. Thus, I decided on an audio diary, where I could just talk freely into a microphone, without worrying about proper punctuation and keeping my writing legible.
I decided to address these diary entries to Trixie, comfortingly fictitious, whom I could pour my heart out to, without fear of judgement or condemnation. I have included only my first entry on my 'October '16 to March '17' - as the other entries contain my more private thoughts, that I'm not ready to share with the world!
There are similarities between the 'Dear Trixie' diary, and a collaboration project I have started with another student named Ines - which I discuss as one of my case studies.
Since sending a 'friend request' to Mitchell Altieri on Facebook, I frequently share my art with him, when the piece is inspired by one of the films he helped create, I also share these pieces with Mackenzie Firgens on Twitter. Last October, I asked Mackenzie if she could please sign some DVD covers for me. Along with the DVD covers, I asked her to sign, I also sent her some of my art, as well as a fan letter in a hand-painted card. When she mailed me my DVD covers back - she included a beautiful letter, encouraging me to always follow my dreams. I framed the letter, and it sits pride of place on my bedside table, and whenever I've had a lousy day I re-read it and it lifts my spirits.
Another film that has given me a wealth of inspiration Class Of 1984 (1982) by Mark Lester.
'Class Of 1984' depicts a dystopian nightmare, where a naive, young music teacher Andy Norris finds himself at Lincoln High - a rundown, inner-city school that is being terrorised by a gang led by lead antagonist Peter Stegman.
The title itself being a reference to George Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', Class Of 1984 has proven to be dramatically prophetic in predicting the rise of drugs, violence, and criminal activity in schools today. In contrast to The Violent Kind, the violence in Class 0f 1984 is portrayed in a gritty, realistic manner. As well as being an exploitation film, Class Of 1984 can also be viewed as a social commentary and a warning to society.
As with The Violent Kind, the costumes and soundtrack are an integral part of the film with a strong 1980's punk aesthetic.
The dialogue and costumes of the gang members, in particular, have paralells with Stanley Kubrick's 'A Clockwork Orange'. The gang have their own slang, and singular patois, which serves to both intimidate, and insulate themselves from the rest of society.
As the film builds to the climax, the gang's behaviour becomes increasingly vicious and erratic, and their costumes become a parody of punk fashion.
My favourite character in Class Of 1984 was Patsy. As with Trixie from The Violent Kind, the characters that appeal to me most tend to be the 'bad girls'. Tough, strong, sexy, confident, 'badass' women who refuse to play by the rules - traits that I would like to work on within myself.
Sometimes in a situation that requires an extra oomph of confidence, I put on my inner 'Patsy' or 'Trixie' persona (albeit a much-diluted version). In the same way other women put on makeup and heels, trying on a hint of Patsy's swagger, or Trixie's toughness helps me walk that little bit taller.
Since seeing Class Of 1984, I have been in contact with Stefan Arngrim who plays Drugstore, and his fiancee Claire, who live in New York, and I was thrilled and very flattered when Stefan mentioned me and my work during a radio interview with Greg Gilbert on Python's Paradise Ep. 34 - 2016-05-21.
The next important part of my journey came with the arrival of Jessie Voorsanger.
From Jessie's first lecture I could see clear parallels between her craft and mine - with the catalyst to her practice being David Cassidy and The Partridge Family, as mine was Mackenzie Firgens and The Violent Kind. Jessie spoke about several issues that I could relate to - in particular, the way we relate to actors and other famous personalities, the separation between these people and the images they portray online and on screen, also the trepidation of reaching out to people you admire, and the risk of feeling utterly crushed if they turn out not to be very nice.
Thankfully, I've had only a couple of negative experiences. I think this is partly because those who are genuinely talented tend to be the nicest as they are secure within themselves, and when you're happy within yourself, you are more likely to treat others with kindness and respect.
I am going to formulate my research question around The Butcher Brothers and their work - including 'The Hamiltons', 'The Thompsons', 'Holy Ghost People', and obviously 'The Violent Kind. Their genre-mashing, convention-defying films, and complex characters provide me with plenty of inspiration to sink my fangs into!
THE SEXXX PROJECT.
A project I'm currently focusing on is about fetish modelling and the adult film industry.
A QUESTION A DAY.
A collaboration project I'm conducting with my friend Ines.
For more information about these upcoming projects, check out my Case Studies!