Kai Des Etages – Featured Artist
Kai Des Etages, Raleigh-based abstract artist is featured this month.
Her work is available for viewing in our gallery through March 31, 2019, and available for sale online here as well.
You can follow her on Instagram: @kaidesetages and check out her website, pourkai.com
1. How did you find yourself making artwork?
Around March of last year I needed a change. I had been out of college for a year and was settling into my life in Raleigh when I went to Buku music and arts festival in New Orleans. That trip showed me that there are many ways to choose love and that choosing love is important. When I came home I did a big chop and started wearing my hair in an Afro and started pouring. I had seen some videos on Instagram of paint moving and loved how it felt like the painting was alive. I felt like I should try pouring because it looked fun and once I started, I didn’t want to stop.
2. Was/is artwork always a consideration for a career for you or did it start as an interest that grew?
I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship, but I’ve only taken art seriously for about a year. My interest in art has taken me on a path I did not expect and I am thrilled to keep pursuing it. I am still learning what my artistic voice sounds like in this medium and each day I continue to shape and reshape my vision for my future as a painter.
3. You’re very popular on Instagram! How did you learn to promote yourself and utilize this platform? It can be difficult for artists to use IG when they’re just starting out with it. Any advice for them?
I love Instagram. It is easily my most used app on my phone… maybe second to Spotify. I found myself Instagram in ways that did not add value to my life and was beginning to think it was a waste of time, so I needed to readjust. I started to think of ways I could make Instagram work for me. I started following artists who I felt were growing and using their Instagram platform to engage an audience and hone in on their voices. From there I followed their lead by turning my account into a business account and creating consistent content to grow a following. It was not easy and my first marketing attempts were not fruitful, but once I learned who my audience was (age, gender, location, etc) growing my following became easier.
My advice: save money for marketing and experiment with your global audience (you might waste some money at first, but it’s not a waste if you learn something). Create content that is consistent and high quality. Find other instagrams that are like yours and understand their style/voice and how your style/voice is different. Connect with other content creators for advice and potential collaboration. Ignore the haters and those that don’t understand. Growing a following on a platform like Instagram means trolls can be abundant, but don’t let that discourage you.
(some of Kai’s most recent posts on Instagram)
4. Why pouring and enamel? What does the medium afford you that you can’t get elsewhere, either tangibly or spiritually?
I started pouring because it was fun, but I keep choosing to pour for many reasons. The setup process allows me to slow down and connect with the paint I’ll be using. I slowly and intentionally pick colors and mix them to a consistency I like. This process is important because in this moment I have control over some of the variables like color and density. Then I start pouring. The pouring process invites something unexpected each time which allows me to practice acceptance and understanding of the unexpected. I love painting in this way because it allows me to capture motion and forces me to stay present in the creative process.
5. What other mediums have you practiced with? How did these contribute to your current work?
Music and dance are two other creative mediums I’ve felt connected to. I played saxophone and oboe for some time and loved it. I explored modern dance in college and loved that too. Music and motion are two important aspects of my creative process. While creating I listen to my favorite artists and light incense to help me settle into the moment. And though I’m not exploring motion in the same physical way through dance I am using my awareness of space and body control to capture motion I can feel on the canvas.
6. You chose the title of “Anahata” for this show. What inspired this choice?
Meditation has been a big part of my life for about 6 years now. I find myself choosing chakra healing meditations consistently. And more recently I’ve been focusing on opening my heart to invite love and abundance. Anahata is the name for the heart chakra, so it was a good fit for my current body of work.
7. When starting a new piece, do you proceed from a conceptual or visual start point?
When starting a new piece I settle into where I am in the present moment. Then I pick some colors that I feel drawn to and then other supporting colors. From there I think about the things that have inspired me recently. That is often aerial photography of earth or nasa photography space, planets, and moons. Once I feel prepared I release my inhibitions and just start pouring.
8. What do you think is next for your art career?
I plan to continue creating smaller works and sharing them on my Instagram. I also plan to create larger pieces and collections that will ideally be rented, purchased, or donated to organizations or businesses.