Kit Lane – Interview
One of my favourite interviews so far is the one I did with my friend Kit Lane. Kit is the only non-painter in our collective, and she’s had a very eventful life that I loved to find out more about. Have a look at what Kit has to share with us!
KS: Your biography is probably about the most exciting one in our collective. You have lived in so many places, had so many different jobs. Are you a typical world traveller, or how did you end up in places like Mexico, Haiti, or New Zealand, not only as a tourist but a long-term resident?
KL: My dad was a student and then in the military when I was young. I started my life moving from place to place with my family including to your lovely country of Germany. He too held several jobs when he left the service including State Park Director of North Dakota, an administrator for an IT company which will not be named but who’s initials actually mean “I’ve Been Moved” and contract administrator with NASA. I just carried on as he did when I grew up. I was a Drug and Alcohol Therapist between Aspen and Vail for 6 years by the time I burnt out. I was so toasty around the edges that I couldn’t bear to talk to anyone anymore, so tired of peoples problems and their recidivism that I could think of nothing more healing than to pack up and move to a country where I didn’t speak the language. Where no one could bother me with their problems even if they wanted to. So, I moved close to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico back in the days when it was a fairly sleepy little town. Sunshine, beaches and beautiful culture and people were my cure. However, I could only be idle so long before I needed something to do. If I was to live and work there then I’d certainly needs to speak. Food was the first motivator to learn Spanish for me and I’ve written a bit about it here. http://kitlane.blogspot.com/2010/08/search-for-eggs-and-meaning.html Mexico is still very close to my heart. Surely I’d bore you to death with all the little details about Haiti and New Zealand. Suffice to say that Haiti and my efforts there was a way for me to give back some of what I had gathered in my life and my New Zealand story has a man in the middle of it.
KS: At this point, you live a rather secluded life with a funny puppy (please provide funny photo) and your Bobbaloos in the cold and snowy wasteland of Minnesota. What made you become a hermit? Was it a natural step after an eventful or even unsteady life?
KL: My mother lives in this tiny town, a grease spot on the road really. It’s populated by government workers, big farmers and the elderly; none of whom I have much in common. It’s a typical expiring small town in the Midwest that dies a little every day as young people leave to go off to school, never to return. My daughter is one of those. The old ones die and their children sell off the farm. It’s a common story out here in the wastelands. It’s simply perfect for me at this time in my life. I enjoy my life for the most part out here free from distractions. As a child I had always envisioned my life as a maker and creative person and now I’m in a position to be and do just that. I can’t drive a tractor and I’m not fond of government administration so…tada!
KS: Do you still smile a lot even when you’re working on your 500th Bobbaloo? And are the Bobbaloos mainly a way to practice for your larger sculptures? And, has your dog ever eaten one of them?
KL: I still smile even now that I’m up to around 2000 of them. My smile is from knowing the happiness those little guys bring to many and from the gratitude I have for all of my patrons. Those wee Bobbaloos allow me to pay the bills and give me time to work on my larger sculpts. The doglet used to get quite excited about the wool and bones in my early days but now she leaves my side when I’m felting. I think the rhythmic poke poke poking drives her over the edge. Felting has sound of hamsters munching and the constant squitch squitch squitch of the needle in and out of the wool sends her to a more peaceful place in the house usually.
KS: Where do you acquire the teeth and bones you integrate into your more complex sculptures, and how long does it usually take you to finish such a large piece? Could you explain to me how difficult it is to work with felt and how you prepare it?
KL: The teeth and bones I acquire here and there, people give them to me or sometimes I visit the local taxidermist who has a box in the back room of assorted parts that he allows me to poke around in sometimes. Have you ever purchased a kit complete with all the parts to build a piece of furniture? If you’re anything like me you’ll inevitably have bits and pieces left over and wonder where they should have gone in your build. That taxidermists box is a bit like that. Sometimes I do commissions too. I’m working on a small cats head that was found in an old abandoned shed. A tragic tale of a forgotten little soul perhaps lulled into the lip curling frozen death as she climbed under the woodpile to escape the desolate icy night far from home. I hope to honor her life in some small way.
KS: What kind of art and music do you enjoy?
KL: I like all sorts of music, new and old. It depends entirely on my mood and what I’m doing. I also enjoy most any ethnic and folk music from many countries and am especially enamored with Nueva Cancion and South American Folk. When I’m working I enjoy silence for the most part or acoustic music both electronic and strings from Germany to Japan. Words are a distraction for me when I’m working. Likewise, I appreciate all sorts of art. I had the opportunity this sumer to travel to Spain, France and Italy and was able to view with my own eyeballs so many works I had only seen in books or the internet. It’s all quite different face-to-face. I saw everything from all the old masters to contemporaries like Dino Valls. I’m sure I swooned every time I turned a corner both on the street and in galleries. The Uffizi and the Accademy were a dream too and at times some pieces even made me weepy. Seeing all those works not only inspired me to go on and learn more but also to lossen and lighten up; not take myself so seriously, not be too pretencious about what I do.
KS: My last question is, why did you decide to join an artist collective? Any hopes and/or expectations?
KL: I didn’t decide to join an artist collective but rather THIS artist collective. Many in this group I had already put on the proverbial pedestal of goodness and have met some new ones too that fill me with awe. I was chuffed and honestly a bit bewildered to be asked to join such talent. Participation in this group fills me with happiness….and sheer terror. Ha!
KS: Thank you very much for the interview, Kit! I hope you enjoyed it!