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Meet Kat Stockton of Kat Stockton Art

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kat Stockton.

Kat, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. My father is an artist and my mother is very creative so I feel very lucky to have an understanding and supportive parents.

Animation has always been something that I am passionate about and it continues to amaze me. After my undergrad at SCAD Atlanta, where I studied painting, printmaking, and illustration, I was hired as a background painter at Floyd County Productions to work on a new animated show called “Archer.” It was a great experience working there and it gave me so much opportunity and creative growth. Eventually, I was directing a department and developing content for new shows. Everyone there was incredibly supportive of my ambitions, but about a year ago, I decided it was time to try something new and expand my skillset.

I’m currently studying Art Direction at The Creative Circus here in Atlanta. It has been amazing so far. I was surprised to see how much there was to learn about design and strategy and the school really pushes its students towards excellence.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
If it weren’t for the struggles I’ve faced, I would not be where I am today. I’m sure many artists can relate to that. I believe some of the best work comes out of struggle.

I had to take a year away from art school because the mounting debt was starting to really scare me. I went to GA State during that year on the HOPE scholarship and a grant. I was working 40+ hours a week bartending at various local dive bars until 5 am and going to school the next day.

The struggle was real but during that time I made some really great work. I still look back on that period as one of my high points creatively. With that work, I was able to go back to art school on a full scholarship and finish up my undergrad with a little more peace of mind.

Don’t be afraid of the bumps in the road either. Shit happens and we all get derailed, but a lot of times those instances can take us somewhere incredible. The harder it is, the stronger you’re going to be and the sweeter the reward. I look back at on some of the most difficult times in my life fondly because of what they taught me.

Once I started working at the animation studio, my artistic life changed. My dreams of galleries and fancy art things took a back seat to my career. The hardest thing about that job was that I was constantly having to prove myself. This leads me to push myself to the extreme over and over again. After seven years of that, I was burnt out, and I was still waiting on something to happen.

I realized that all the energy I expended trying to prove myself and hope for the best was essentially wasted. It’s very important to do good work for your employers but that energy that fuels you and pushes you to those kinds of extremes is yours and yours alone. It’s priceless and it should be directed towards something that makes you happy and fulfilled. Seek fair and supportive work environments that care about your wellbeing, and don’t neglect your passions.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am in my last year of studying Art Direction in advertising at The Creative Circus and I was a Background Illustrator and Director at Floyd County Productions. I’ve taken on various freelance illustration gigs over the years as well and I am a traditional painter. I struggle defining myself with a job title so my business card just says “Creative.”

The motto I live by is, “whatever it takes to make it happen.”

My illustration work has revolved around the animation industry and I’m producing background illustrations, concept art, character design, and pitch decks for a variety of clients. I’m very confident in the animation realm and that’s where I make my living as an artist. Having animation, and advertising, as my main source of income takes away the stress of selling my paintings.

I am completely different kind of artist when I paint and this is where I let myself be weird. I always found it difficult to sell my work, so I have a basement and studio filled with paintings and I have no clue what to do with them. Occasionally I’ll do some group shows at local bars but I haven’t actually tried to break into the very elite gallery scene.

What were you like growing up?
I was the nerdy girl with weird clothes who liked to sit in the back of the class and draw during class. I was an average student with a lot of Cs and Bs… the occasional D. It didn’t bother me because I was delusional and knew I was going to make a living as an artist. I might not have been too into school but I was in marching band, girl scouts, art club, and anime club, and track. I just focused on what I loved to do.

I spent a majority of my adolescence in the suburbs of Atlanta and there wasn’t much to do so I read a lot. Harry Potter was the most exciting thing in the world at the time and I was at the bookstores at midnight to get the latest releases.

When my friends started driving we would spend many many hours at Gwinnett Place Mall just hanging out, eating free pretzel samples, and visiting the friends that worked there. As weird as I was, I got along with a lot of people. If you were nice, I was nice back. Some of my closest friends today were my closest friends then. I’m incredibly grateful to have those kinds of friendships.

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