Kathryn Buncik stayed in our home for a whole summer a few years ago. She interned at Atlas Church where I worked and for the Coons’ (learning what it means to be an artist in the family context). After those few months she stayed with us we knew Kathryn would always be family, making such a strong connection both Betony and I and our girls.
She graduates from her college in Tennessee this month with an art degree and Betony and I are so proud of her! We wanted to feature her senior art show “Hide and Seek” here with an interview and some pictures. Enjoy Kathryn’s heart, her thirst for wonder, and her lifting art!
The title of the collection (made for your senior show) is “Hide and
Seek”. What brought you to that title?
The title was actually suggested to me by Betony. And the more I thought about it, the more I liked
it. A lot of my work is made through my reflections of both childhood and adulthood. I think a lot
about my transition from being a child, innocent and curious, to being an adult who knows about a
lot of hard things happening in my life and in the world, yet still wanting to hold on to that curiosity. I
really like the play on words that “Hide and Seek” allows. Taking it in the context of childhood, it’s a
diverting and careless game. But taking it in the context of adulthood and looking at the individual
words of “hiding” and “seeking”, there’s a little bit of peril and fear that plays in to it. So in the
series, I show (mostly) children in the acts of hiding and seeking, yet they are doing so in
mountains and outer space and other vast open areas that, in reality, would be quite dangerous.
But even still, there is no sense of danger when one looks at the pieces. While it can be a hard and
dangerous journey sometimes, I’m enjoying it and find so much beauty in it. And I wanted to make
that much more prevalent than the hardship.
The elements you use for collage feel paired-down and it seems like I could
name each quickly: cosmos, nostalgic people figures (mainly children), animals,
searching or play featured… What else am I missing? How did you come to these
guiding subjects? Why are you drawn to them?
Definitely. Some I relate to personally. Some I’m attracted to visually. I could talk about each
element and tell you why I used it but I’ll spare you of that.
Where do you find your collage items and why have you chosen to work in this
series with collage alone?
I usually find my materials from old books and magazines. I find them in a lot of different
places…old book stores, thrift stores, antique shops, yard sales. Friends have even started giving
me books they think I can use for collage, which I love! For this series I decided to work only with
collage and only with original found materials. They were all handmade (not digital) and I didn’t
scan, resize, or reproduce any of the images. I did that mostly for the challenge. And I love the
history and age that comes with original materials as well.
What are you dreaming of when it comes to future art projects?
Hmm. More collage for sure. I’ve always enjoyed making art independently, but I think I’d be
interested in some collaboration projects in the future. I don’t know exactly what I imagine that to
look like, but I’m definitely open to the idea of it.
What are the top things you’ve learned in college, since you are now graduating,
when it comes to your art?
Best art advice I’ve ever been given: “Make what breathes life into you.”
A sweet British man named Nigel Goodwin visited my school a few times over the last few years,
and one of those times I got to sit with him and talk about art for about an hour. I was discouraged
about feeling so drained by various art projects I was working on at the time. After listening to me
for a bit, he told me that at any given time, I should make whatever will breathe life into me. And as
soon as he said that, I completely understood what he meant. I had felt that before. From then on,
I’ve made a point to work on projects that I know I’ll enjoy, whatever medium feels right at the time.
And that has only made me love art making more and more.
Could you give your feelings/stories for 3 specific pieces from your senior show?
1. This one is probably my favorite of the series. I grew up with 7 siblings and loved every bit of it. It
definitely reminds me of being with them. I also love the matching pajamas so much. The rip in the
side is also something I really love the look of, and I wish I had implied that more throughout the
series. But this was one of the last ones I made so that was more of a timing thing.
2. One thing I’ve been seeing a lot in my work lately is pairs. Two boys or two girls, usually. And
my favorite is when they’re in matching clothes. I’m extremely close with my younger sister (we’re
the youngest of the eight), and I think I just really love the sense of camaraderie and partnership I
get when I use pairs. It’s like they’re in it together, whatever their adventure might be.
3. This is another of my favorites. I just feel so happy every time I look at it. The boy is way too
sweet. And the gentleness of the butterfly makes his experience of being found so joyful. I really
love that idea.
Many thanks to Kathryn for sharing her amazing work here!! See the rest of her show at the link below: