Kate Debbo has always loved to paint, but says that it took her a very long time to build up the courage to do it as a career. “After travelling for a few years, I went to art school but dropped out after a year and a half to continue travelling. In that time, my husband and I fell pregnant and after having a second baby, I never found the gap to return to my studies. So I am mainly self-taught. I have always managed to carve out a space to paint, no matter where in the world we have been or how small the space.”
After immigrating to Australia 8 years ago, Kate had a ‘now or never’ wake-up call and took the leap to paint professionally. Now living and working in the beautiful regional town of Margaret River, WA, she paints in “a very messy corner of the lounge. We are in the process of building a tall tin shed for me in our garden, which will be a dream come true! I couldn’t create my work without my super supportive family who put up with my mess (mentally and physically) while I build my art career.”
Kate is endlessly inspired by her interpretation of things she has seen, absorbed and remembered throughout each day. “For me, the magic is in the making.”
“I begin each new work terrified of the white canvas, so I’ve learnt to just make random and/or more decisive marks until the fear disappears and the picture takes over! Destroying most of what I make and then reviving parts of it seems to be a huge part of my creative process. Each piece is only what it is because of what lies beneath the layers of ‘mistakes’. I use long sticks and both my hands to manipulate the oil paint.”
“My works are made from memory and imagination because I want to paint an emotional response rather than a direct observation. My horse series is a lot more controlled by me – the animals appeared in some of my paintings as a symbol of the link between our domestic, tamed roles and something more magical and nostalgic. I am endlessly inspired by the everyday contrasts, absurdities and twists in the tale and through my work I hope to engage the viewers’ imagination and spark a sense of identification and resonance.”
When describing her career highlights, Kate says that every small step in the journey feels like a highlight. “From gaining commissions, exhibiting alongside inspiring artists, participating in art prizes, joining exciting galleries and just getting to be a practicing artist makes me feel incredibly lucky!
See Forman’s range of stunning Kate Debbo works here!