Caitlin Foster’s Organic Patterns and Textures
07 Feb '15 —
There’s a spacious sense of beauty found in nature. Perhaps on a hike you’ve come across a weathered boulder with an irregular shape. Or maybe you’ve stopped to marvel at the soft undulating layers of sand on the beach. The organic essence of the textures and shapes found in nature are hard to capture and replicate. There seems to be an unpredictable order in the natural world that is inspiring, unexplainable and completely sublime.
When I first came across Caitlin Foster’s work, I was excited to see an aesthetic reminiscent of the the beauty found in nature. Much of her work exudes a sense of space and tranquility that sets her work apart. Caitlin’s amorphous and abstract shapes can easily be appreciated on a daily basis, making it difficult for her pieces to tire out.
There are multiple dimensions to Caitlin’s work. From afar, the experience is different than up close. The intricate details of her irregular patterns dominate the overall artwork as one approaches her pieces from a shorter distance.
Caitlin launched a new line of cards last year that capture her aesthetics in an everyday form. But her work as an artist emerged from an interesting journey that is honest and accepting of her attitude towards her own work. Caitlin’s creative involvement developed organically over time.
"I studied art, went to art school in Boston and Chicago for a little bit. After going through art school, I didn’t want to be an artist at the end of it. I felt 'I can’t do this, this seems really hard.'"
"I started working at galleries, more in the art world but not as an artist. So I’m at a point where I’ve been working in the art world for the past ten years and now I’m tired of working in the art world and I want to be an artist."
What sparked the change?
"It was actually living in San Francisco that I decided I wanted to do art again. I hadn’t done it for a long time."
"I’ve always lived on the east coast and just living on the west coast, where there’s a crazy amount of plants that I’d never seen and different landscapes, I started drawing again wanting to document it all."
"I used to draw portraits, but when I started to draw again, I would draw abstract patterns and plants. The place totally changed the way that I made art and influenced what I made since then."
The presence of nature is familiar in her works. To capture such timeless aesthetics takes incredible skill. Yet, Caitlin remains modest.
"For me, I feel like anybody can do it, but it’s just having the patience to sit there."
Anybody? I had to try it out myself. By placing lines in an irregular pattern (I assumed would result in something reminiscent to Caitlin’s beautiful gradient patterns), I ended up with a mess--the complete opposite of soothing and sublime.
"I did a couple craft fairs this past fall before the holidays. So many people came up to me and said 'I used to make drawings like that in high school in my notebooks'"
"To me it’s more than just a doodle, there’s more of an intent behind it. But just the meditative act of drawing, I really enjoy it, it’s something that has become part of the work in itself."
I found Caitlin’s ability to deliver a seamless experience, on the macro and micro level, incredibly skillful. On the whole, a certain mood is delivered, but on the micro level, each line contributes in a way that is hard to foresee. Additionally, Caitlin’s down to earth personality seems to reflect her intent behind her creations.
"I wanted to show my work but not in a gallery context. I do show my work but I wanted to take more control and be able to make something more available to more people. So cards and stationary came from this."
It’s not the first time Caitlin has worked with cards.
"Ten years ago, I informally started a project where I would make a card every week and send it to my grandmother. A collage or a drawing. She was really really old, so I’d send her something every week. I got into an unconscious habit of it each week, and she would save them and have boxes and boxes of these cards. She actually passed away last year. I was still making cards and I made a wedding invitation for a friend’s wedding. I got a lot of people who got the invitation and framed it wanting to keep it."
With ten years of experience making cards, a card made by Caitlin is not simply a card. It’s a thoughtful medium created with an intention to be personally special.
"It’s been a fun process. I’m interested in making cards for people who may not necessarily buy cards normally. I don’t like them to have a corny sayings, I want them to feel like you’re giving someone a piece of art--thoughtfully made, carefully produced. It’s something you could frame if you wanted to. I wanted it to be personal."
Caitlin is an artist who understands how art can provide an inspiring function to everyday living, particularly how special it is to show gratitude towards others. With her thoughtful and personal perspective, Caitlin creates art that can be easily appreciated, treasured and enjoyed on a daily basis.
All images by Caitlin Foster via caitlinfoster.net.