Chances are you’ve seen those delicious “Resist” t-shirts making their way around town – a powerful feminine hand smashing through a Venus symbol adorned with a wreath of flowers. If so, you’re familiar with the work of St. Louis artist and fearless feminist firebrand Kat Kissick, whose work is inspiring ladies and their allies to “smash the patriarchy – in style.”
An artist and illustrator with a point of view that blends activism with art, Kissick’s colorful style is less about a vibrant aesthetic than it is about using her talents to inspire others to action. From her “Feminist Killjoy” coloring pages to her commitment to donating half of the proceeds from her “Resist” shirts to Planned Parenthood, Kissick’s vision as an artist goes far beyond what she does with watercolor crayons and a canvas.
These days, Kissick is busy with tattoo design commissions, T-shirts and posters, and a book of children’s poems that she is writing and illustrating. Amid her many projects, she took the time to pause and reflect on our five questions about her work, life, and art. Here is what she told us:
Who gave you the best advice you ever received? My friend Charles Youel, the founder of ARTCRANK, has always been my champion and consistently gives great advice, but the best ever is: "Make friends with f’ing up." It's okay to fail as long as you try. And if you're not happy with that failure, keep trying. In fact, get all of your failures out of the way so you can have more time and space to succeed. Once you become comfortable with mistakes, failed execution, and bad ideas, you can see more clearly how you can improve upon them. If you're too afraid to look failure in the eye, you'll never know how to conquer it.
What wakes you up at 4 o'clock in the morning? Occasionally, a fantastic idea or several will enter my brain at the precise moment I want to fall asleep, but if we're talking 4 a.m.? Then it's probably Mabel, my one year old Boston Terrier. She has an amazing superpower: She's only 20 pounds at the beginning of the night, but while she's in bed she grows to the size of a school bus. It's amazing. I need a bigger bed!
What did you do with your first paycheck? When I was thirteen and growing up on a farm, my dad agreed to pay me a dollar a day (!!!) to feed our baby calves. After three months of saving those dollars I went to the mall – a big deal for a country girl at the time. I was completely disheartened that all I could afford were two pairs of shorts and a pair of shoes. I learned a lot of lessons that year.
What drives your artistry? It depends on the day, but the strongest motivation I have for creating is probably curiosity. I didn't go to art school and I got a late start with my art career so there are so many mediums and techniques for me to still explore. Even within my usual mediums, I'm curious to see what I can do with them. I love experimenting – I find myself asking "what would this look like if I did this?" during my entire creative process. It can be maddening, as I don't work digitally, so any variations on a theme that I want to see are all done by hand. It can be tedious but rewarding.
At Fauxgerty, we live by our value system. What's yours? Put good out into the world, and good will come back to you. Even if it doesn't, you've made the world a little bit better and that's what we all need right now – to be a little bit better.