Kaitlin Noverr is the artist behind elysian market. Similar to many individuals stocked in the millennial arsenal; she graduated from college, got a great job in marketing, and then realized she wasn't happy. After planning and thinking about how she could support herself as an artist, she launched elysian market in August of 2016. Since then she has has participated art shows, pop-ups, design collaborations and currently in the process of launching her website. The meaning behind elysian is "complex, yet powerful: beautiful or creative, divinely inspired, peaceful or perfect". 'Elysian' seems to be a word that guides Kaitlin in her execution of paintings that she hopes provides a moment of zen, a moment of reflection, and a moment of acceptance for her viewer.
Kaitlin has an altruistic approach to art making; in our interview her desire for her audience to be at peace with her work in their home became very apparent. But with this altruism is a firm understanding of branding and business-- she utilizes her good will and her desire to support herself to design and implement a 'line' of paintings that is approachable to a vast audience and is aesthetically appealing.
Five-Dots: How long have you been in this studio?
Kaitlin Noverr: This originally was an extra bedroom, and then about a year and a half ago I started working towards making it ‘my place’ and sort of made it my own work space. And now this is where my studio lands.
F-D: When you moved in here, did you have an idea for how you wanted to lay it out or did it develop organically?
KN: It developed organically in that I knew this was what I wanted to do, but it became a question of “how do I want it to work for me” and “how do I want it to make me feel”. For example, I have my ‘inspiration’ wall over here: it’s just a collection of things that inspire me and gets me thinking and working. Then on the other three walls I can kind of place everything that I am working on or paintings that I think I did well. So then when I’m working I’m surrounded my everything that motivates me. And then I can relay that motivation onto the canvas.
F-D: So everything that is out has been made in the past few months?
KN: Correct, there are a few that have been put away that I didn’t find to be successful or I felt were more of the beginning stages.
F-D: Are you cross referencing any of the work that you’ve done in the past with what you are currently making?
KN: I mean, yes, I am. For instance this piece over here: it had a very micro feel instead of the macro feel that I lean into. I think a lot of times I just try to let my brain shut off and it feels as though my soul is coming out.
F-D: Do you utilize any color planning, sketching, or any other planning tools?
KN: Yes and no. Sometimes I plan out which colors I’m going to use but most of the time I just say, “gonna use this one and this one and this one” and then I throw them together.
F-D: Has the location of the studio influenced your work in any way?
KN: With having a home [studio], there are positives and negatives. But I highlight on the positive. It’s definitely a situation where if I want to start working I can just come up here or go in the basement, and I can just start to work. Otherwise, I’d have to get all of my stuff together and drive over there and I just know myself and. . . it would be a deterrent.
F-D: Ok, and how do you feel about living out here (about 35 minutes outside of Cincinnati in a small suburb). Do you ever feel isolated?
KN: Yes, at times I can feel isolated. But there is a part of me that loves it. I’m a pretty big extrovert. But I’ve grown to realize that I really need time for myself. So, I love it, but it’s frustrating because I am farther away from the city and the arts base downtown.
F-D: Can you describe a typical day for yourself in the studio?
KN: I don’t have a typical day. I have a daily to-do list, but I don’t have a typical pattern to my workday. I also don’t keep my to-do lists. I have a habit of making them too long and I don’t cross anything off, and even though I’ll just add things to the next day, sometimes I feel as though I’m not keeping up. I have to remind myself that I’m not superwoman. A typical day in the studio looks like me getting up around 8 or 9 depending on when I went to bed, then getting my coffee, and then I take Hemi for a walk. [While I'm walking] I can get my brain in gear and mentally organize my day. I then come in and get my admin work done; emails and Instagram and whatnot. And then I’ll get into the studio and start painting, but I usually really wait until the afternoon to start.
F-D: How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?
KN: I would have to say that it’s really, and this is so cheesy, my soul’s expression coming to life. I’m so grateful that I posses this skill. My art has a way of expressing where I am at [in my life]. Sometimes it takes me a while to like something, and then after a while I’ll realize that I was feeling something similar to what is being presented in the painting.
F-D: Would you say that you use it as a therapeutic tool, then?
KN: Yes. I mean, with my idiopathic hypersomnia (a rare chronic sleeping disorder in which a person is excessively sleepy during the day and has great difficulty being awakened from sleep), I struggle with a lot of basic elements of life. I try really hard to portray that I’ve got it together, but it’s a challenge. Like. . . today sucks. Today has been a real challenge, it’s one of those days where I don’t feel like I have a lot to contribute because I’m just exhausted. But, with painting, I do feel like I have something to contribute. I feel like I can give a voice to others with this [disorder].
F-D: So does your disorder inform your aesthetics in a way?
KN: Yes, and nature. I usually work loosely from some photo of the outdoors. This. . . [this is one of those questions] that shows me the double edge sword of not going to art school. I overthink every aspect of my life to the point of frustration. I overanalyze, and critique, and I’m judgmental of myself. But when I’m painting, I find that that goes away. It [resolves] itself. I guess my brain gets a break, and I can slow down and think-- or not think.
F-D: What mediums do you work with?
KN: Acrylic and acrylic inks. I use a lot of acrylic medium: soft, hard, pouring mediums, matte mediums. Right now, even though I’d love to experiment with new mediums, I’m just trying to get my technique down. But I’m trying to be open to new things and other imagery. Honestly, even though I love looking at the work of others, I feel like I compare in a negative way, and so I try to stay away from it.
F-D: Can you tell us more about this process and how it has evolved?
KN: Well I try to work whether I am at my best or my worst-- sometimes the latter is more interesting. A lot of it started as smaller works. I think [I started with smaller works because] of fear, and maybe cost effectiveness. I have found that the bigger pieces are something that I am more attracted to.
F-D: Scale is always relative to the artist, what is considered large for you?
KN: This piece up here, it’s a 24x24. I’d say that’s pretty large for me. Anything above 20x20, I’d consider large. I think that I’m attracted to that idea of the macro image, and so I’m interested in exploring that further--and working large is a [more approachable] way to do that. I'm not going to stop working small, but [I'm starting to think that perhaps making prints instead] might be a better option for creating affordable pieces. I want as many people to be able to afford having my work in their home, and so I think offering prints of paintings is a viable option. It’s interesting because I had thought that the original canvas panels would sell better. But I think people are so used to buying things digitally that buying prints is just more approachable for them.
F-D: Do you have narratives in mind for each piece?
KN: I don’t. But I do [within the context of] my chronic illness. I truly can see [the influence] of my energy level in each piece as I am working on it. So though it’s not apparent to others, it’s apparent to me. I can see a chaotic influence in whatever I’ve been working on, on a day that I didn’t take my medication. I have one painting that is so [emblematic of my illness] that I, for the longest time, thought I was going to be throwing it away. But I’ve kept it, because it tells a story for me now. But I don’t start off working on things with a story in mind. I do think that my effort in searching for a representation of tranquility and calm comes from my need for those things. Not just when I’m painting.
F-D: The last time we met, you had made mention that you were interested in playing around with painting while you weren’t on your medication, have you done that any further? Or have you decided that that wasn’t the healthiest of actions to take.
KN: It was just the one. I just. . . it scares me, the idea of going off my meds that frequently. Because the disease, just so your readers know: it causes me to not usually hit REM sleep. And it’s one of those things where, even when I take my meds, I still have times during the day where my energy level is just really low. It just affects me in a way that I don’t really like. It scares me because I haven’t been that vulnerable in a long time.
F-D: Do you consider your work to be autobiographical at all; does personal history work its way into your art?
KN: Yea, I just try to be honest with everything I’m making. Then I can go back and identify however I was feeling that day when I made it. I’m just trying to be honest in my portrayal of the good and bad days. Live in your truth sort of thing.
F-D: What influences outside the visual arts inspire and impact your approach to making work?
KN: Nature for sure, natural movement: waves, wind. . . Also, connections. Relationships with others. Experiences with others. . . being able to have that is a motivator for me. Using feelings that stem from interpersonal relations is a motivator for my work.
F-D: What does having a physical space to make art in mean for your process, and how do you make your space work for you?
KN: I’m very grateful for this space; especially with how I work. I need space to move paintings around so that I can [manipulate the paint]. I mostly do that downstairs in the basement. I then do a lot of the detail work, cleaning up, and editing up here. Also, with the room being out of the way, I can work on things and then step away from it. As far as making the space work for me. . . I utilize the basement for bigger pieces as well as when I’m starting something new and need the room to get messy. I use this room up here when I need to work at a table or I need the natural light.
F-D: Is there something you are currently working on, or are excited about starting that you can tell us about?
KN: I am working towards the launch of my website. So I’m excited about that. I had an Etsy shop sort of as a stepping stone, and it’s a great stepping stone, but I’m ready for something more professional. I’m also working towards a series or collection (I’m not really sure what to call it). I’ve got a few collaborations starting this next year as well. I’m excited to see what happens this year. I’m also just working at being patient. A while ago I actually heard Cass say that “you have to wait for the universe to catch up to you”. And I’m trying to take that advice. I’ve been working really hard and I’m waiting to see more of the outcome and result.
F-D: Do you see your work as relating to any current movement or direction in visual art or culture? Which other artists might your work be in conversation with?
KN: I don’t know. I mean, it is contemporary because it’s intense but tranquil? Which is something I've seen a lot of lately. I just, I try not to go with trends. I just try to make things that are authentic to what I’m into. At the end of the day I want my work to make people feel beautiful and peaceful. I want them to feel good and positive when they take it home and place it there. A few months ago I got to have a really enlightening conversation with Jonas Gerard, he’s an abstract artist based out of Asheville. I was there with my family and we went to this arts colony that’s down there. We happened to walk into his studio and we had a conversation for at least an hour about how I was about to start [working out of the studio full time] and how I had a tendency to ridicule myself and all of this. And he basically just went back to painting, made a mistake, starting cursing, and then said, “look, doesn’t this sound awful? Why would you be this hard on yourself? Just let it happen.”. And I realized how hard I was being on myself. And so he was a huge motivator.
F-D: Do you have a motto or creed that as an artist you live by?
KN: It sounds kind of cheesy. . . but “be you, bravely” is what I’m rocking right now. That I way I can kind of look back and say, "I was brave then". And "I was brave then". I can be [retroactively] proud.
F-D: When asked; what do you tell people you do for a living?
KN: I for the longest time had a hard time telling people I was an artist. Coming from a marketing background and being used to using all of these words to explain what you do, it felt foreign to just say I was an artist. But once I did, it was like a breath of fresh air.
F-D: Why did it feel foreign?
KN: Because I didn’t feel like I had earned it. I didn’t feel like I had the right to call myself an ‘artist’. That insecurity is still there, but the more I say it, the more pride I feel and the more I believe it.
F-D: What risks have you taken in your work, or for your work?
KN: Just being able to be myself. There are so many other ways that I could have gone. And I decided to do what I wanted and finding my own voice was a big one.
F-D: Words of wisdom?… a motto, favorite quote?
KN: I would probably just say to keep going. I think having that idea at the forefront helps in the daily pursuit of your dreams and goals.
F-D: Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?
KN: I have a few shows coming up in the summer, but right now there isn’t too much going on. Just working on the website and applying to shows.
We will be updating this page with Kaitlin's website after her launch this summer. Until then. . .