Kathy has been an artist and educator for 40+ years in the Lafayette, Louisiana area. She was raised in a military family, moving every two years until settling in Louisiana. Kathy grew up in mainly urban environments, and didn’t have many opportunities to discover her innate attraction to the plant world until graduating from University of LA with a BFA in Fine Arts. What started as a small garden grew into the source for her artistic ideas, and led to a love of Nature that fueled explorations into the philosophical ideas that she continues to pursue.
She retired as a visual art teacher, having taught the visual art program for the Lafayette Parish High School Arts Academy, and later, in the Lafayette Parish Talent Program. She has strong ties to the local arts community, was gallery manager for the late Artists’ Alliance and Galerie Lafayette, and has shown locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. She has taught numerous workshops and has been the recipient of grants and awards for her artwork, as well as for her teaching programs.
In addition to her individual artwork, she maintains a collaborative art practice with her husband, Steven Breaux, creating artworks that reference a sense of place, history, and cultural issues.
My artwork seeks to reveal the insights and lessons learned through a conscious connection that I have cultivated with my immediate natural surroundings. I am engaging the nonmaterial aspects of these encounters through art-making. For me, cultivating a garden and being present as I step outside teaches me things than I cannot express in words. I have been gifted much more than just visual enjoyment and things to eat from the garden and all the life in my yard. I sense energy, power, compassion, wisdom, creativity, and interdependence from the plants, creatures, and elements; I have been guided to practice patience, non-attachment, gratitude, and attention to the fleeting moment. My artwork investigates these qualities, and searches for ways to honor and communicate my small daily epiphanies.
I am influenced by my studies of alchemy, meditation, yoga, ritual, and Eastern art. I work with multiple media, but my artwork is based on drawing, observation, and working with color. Using fabric in my works has been an important part of my art practice. Fabrics, particularly those that are re-purposed, carry memories that I am sure are encoded in them. Since the earth is over-burdened in the production of material “stuff”, I am trying to use what I already have on hand as much as possible in my work.
Who makes up your art circle?
My art circle is populated by my husband, Steve, all my colleagues, and former students, and the wisdom from many artists, both historical and contemporary, that I read about. I am a long-standing member of Lafayette’s art community, and I have made many connections with local artists and art organizations, and appreciate my connections with our arts community.
How do you expand your art circle?
My art circle continues to expand as I participate in and attend projects and exhibitions, such as the ProjectSpace residency at Basin. Participating in diverse show venues, with artists from other locations can spread your ideas. I think that by taking a chance and stepping out of your familiar “habitats” as an artist, you can indeed expand and grow your circle.
What value do you see in having a creative community?
I think that a creative community enriches everyone who is fortunate enough to live in it. When people are creative, they will not only make the whole community more vibrant, beautiful, interesting, and fun to be in, but they can solve community-wide problems that exist, with new solutions. For our community to thrive and to move forward, we need to nurture and celebrate creativity and our creative individuals. Thank you, Basin Arts, for doing your part.
How does your artistic approach contribute to your community?
I like to think that my teaching and work with young people for 25 + years has had a direct and impactful contribution to the community. I have helped in the various organizations and groups that I have worked with, to present contemporary art to this area.
BUT I think that the greatest contribution any artist can make is to be an individual: to have a personal vision, and to keep developing as an artist. Stagnation for the sake of making “what sells” leads to stylistic conformity in an art community. I have always been a fan of diversity and also of excellence in the production of art. Exceptional individuals, who are unique as artists, contribute the most to our community.
Our weekly Art Circle series profiles artists throughout the community and is sponsored in part by Lafayette Visitor Enterprise Fund managed by Lafayette Travel