By Jason Sendaula
Photos by Zack Gross
Kayti Didriksen’s work covers several different forms of visual media painting, mosaics and murals. She splits her time between the studio and doing community work. Having recently relocated her studio from New Jersey to South Philadelphia, she is volunteering on the installation of a mosaic at the Hicks Street Community Garden.
“I made a statement in my Open Studio that I wasn’t going to buy any more material,” Kayti says.”I had enough stuff in my studio and I need to get some stuff out of there and I was creative enough to manipulate all of the things in my studio as something else and so for the next year I am going to see how far I can take it.”
In the process she’s created a different type of work space which has changed what she produces. “I have a much more intimate space now. I am making work in a different way. I am figuring out things that I probably couldn’t have figured out in the other studio as far as the stuff that I want to make, the installation stuff,” she says.
“I’m interested in doing something where the viewer moves through the space to read the information, maybe on some panels at eye level, and walk through them and read the drawings in the kind of way that your eyes reads a flip book, so that the person is moving through space. Like say you are traveling in a car and you are looking out the window and you get the information but just a little less blurry. I am thinking about all of these things and how do I get those into an installation style.”
But this is different from the work that she is doing with the mural. “I designed the mural but I am not going to be the only person putting up the tiles. It’s kind of out of my hands after the design. I am just going to teach the class but I am also going to organically let it happen. I am just a part of the process.”
Kayti also does community work in her home state of Maryland. “For the last couple of years I have been teaching classes at the Library in Baltimore, in the county libraries to kids and teen’s stuff, like, how to make a duct tape wallet, paper marbling, just like stuff that I entertained myself with when I was in high school. Kids are into it so it’s rewarding.”
She views community as an essential part of life. “Well you know you have got to have a balance. You know you have to eat a balanced diet. You have to have a big picture of your life and kind of juggle all of the things. Your community, your personal life, your financial expenses, your friends, your family, all of these things and I’ve got to make stuff happen. ”
Sharing her pieces and getting them out there, of course, is not the same as making art to sell. “Well that’s not why I make art but I guess that is one purpose,” Kayti continues. “That’s the business of it and something that I would like to be better at and something that I am working toward being better at but quite frankly that’s not why I do it. I do it so I don’t turn into a crazy person. You do it because you have to, just like you have to eat, you have to move your body so that muscles don’t become atrophied, I have to make stuff.”
As far as her creative process, it’s something that can happen anywhere. “I think that mostly I’m just interested in drawing motion so when I go back and am looking through my drawings I’ll draw the same thing several times in a row to try and capture the movement, ” Kayti says. “I’ll just look back through my drawing and be able to see the motion and understand if I can put that in a painting. I’m able to formulate that in my head and know what kind of drawings make a good painting. So I’ll get inspired and I’ll just start a painting and it’ll work out or it doesn’t. I’ll sometimes paint over stuff but not too often. There is only perfect in the moment and how do you know something that you make may not be perfect in your own moment but if you do put it out there it’s going to be perfect in somebody else’s and that’s probably enough.”
Kayti makes something every day and is putting together another open studio for December 2010. For more information you can contact her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kayti-Didriksen/229487481553.