Hello My Name Is… Caitlin Peck
14 Questions With Illustrator Caitlin Peck
Welcome back to the Creator Interview Series! This series is a way to highlight some of my favorite creatives as individuals, parts of their creative process, and some get-to-know-them questions that will help show why I admire them and their work. I am SO excited to share with you!
Introducing Caitlin Peck
Where Can We Find You on Social Media?
Where Can We See Your Work?
I had the chance to show work next to Caitlin at a show organized by Corey Danks at Tattooed Mom’s in Philly a few months back. I was SO excited to meet her in person – the show had introduced me to her work (which I had scrolled through for way longer than is normal on ig) and I was thrilled to talk with her and see her work not on a screen. Her illustrations capture the things that are in my head that I’ve never been able to solidify, bring to light the surreal nature of our dreams, and make you feel like a kid again. She explains her work this way:
“I guess I kind of use my work to identify and sort out anxieties. Much of the imagery I use and create gives a kind of child-like whimsy to sort of nightmarish images. Along with a high attention to detail, it’s like adding beauty and charm to the terrifying to make it more palatable. I like to use both humor and existentialism in the images and titles. Word choice is very important. My process involves a running list of potential titles that are sourced from things that I wish I had said, things that I don’t think I’m cool enough to actually say, or parts of fabricated conversation.”
For reference – she is 100% cool enough to say whatever she wants.
Let the Questions Begin
The first artist I was ever introduced to outside of the Italian Boys’ Club was Aubrey Beardsley. I love his use of negative space and clusters of fine detail. Amy Cutler is always a favorite and Henry Darger. More recently I’ve been really into Zoe Hawk @zoe.hawk, Mando Marie @seeyouthroughit, and Katie Evans @kevans_art.
Go-to Inspiration Spot:
I love visiting the Jealous Curator blog or leafing through any artist book. I get most inspired when I look at other art.
Morning or Night Person:
Favorite place you’ve ever visited?
I spent some time in Ireland while in I was in grad school. I was on the west side of the country in the place called the ‘Burren’ which means wilderness. It was an absolute dream.
Who would you consider Your mentor?
While I never knew her or interacted with her, the way Louise Bourgeois speaks about making work is so inspiring. She speaks about it like an obsession. She made work literally up until the day she died. I want a life like that.
How Did You Get Started? Is there anything you would change about your journey?
Sometimes I feel like I’m still getting started. But I guess things really started 5 years ago after my divorce. I had a lot of free time that I used to just make art, go to events, and talk to everybody. Talking to everybody was the hardest part and it’s still not my favorite thing to do. But once you realize that everyone is usually as nervous as you and most people love to talk about their cats, it gets easier.
I’m a firm believer in that everything that has ever happened to you has put you in the place you are and being okay with that is actually the greatest challenge. I’m still learning and I’m still on this journey; I’m not ready to change anything about it yet.
How do you break through the noise of creating in the digital age?
I’ve had a studio outside of my living space for the past 3 years and what I consider to be lucky is it doesn’t have internet access. I try to make my podcast queue ahead of time so that I pick up my phone as little as possible. That being said however, I think a lot of good can come from just turning your brain off for a little and checking out 10 funniest cats on the internet. There is a book called ‘The Courage to Create’ by Rollo May that I often think about . It was published in 1975 but there’s a lot to it that applies today. One of the major points of the book is relieving the pressure creatives put on themselves to make and sometimes, brilliant ideas come from taking a walk or doing something mundane. I think the key is moderation on both ends. A lot of good can come from the internet, it sure makes researching easy, but there need to be limits. Just like if you overwork, you might burn out.
Best Advice you’ve ever received?
It’s not so much advice but I use it as such. Someone I didn’t know was seeing me work on a project and simply stated in passing, “You’re really good at what you do.” That phrase has stuck with me since and I remind myself of it whenever I’m feeling insecure.
Is there anyone you share your work with before you take it live?
Sometimes if I’m uncertain about a piece, I share it with my boyfriend. I probably listen to him only half of the time. Sometimes I live with a piece for a while to make up my mind about it but for the most part, I really like going with my gut.
How do you pay-it-forward to help boost other artists?
Showing up is important. Opening receptions can be one of the most stressful things because it’s not like playing a music show where you get to do the thing you love and people watch you. You already did the thing you love and now you are just there, with the product of your efforts, and hoping they come.
I also like to try to connect people. The art world can sometimes be weird and competitive and you think you need to keep your contacts to yourself because that’s your secret, or whatever. I love seeing artists succeed and if I can do my part in helping them get that show or introducing them to that collaboration, I’m thrilled.
How are you feelin these days?
The best kind of tired. I’ve been lucky to consistently show in 2018. I’ve planned a little break for myself though and am looking forward to taking some time to make more work in the studio and try out some new things.
How do you take care of yourself and your creativity when you are stressed?
I repeat the mantra, ‘Everything will be fine,’ because it usually is. When I have a big deadline or get stressed out about a show, I remind myself of that and tell myself that it’s okay to give myself a night off during crunch week. I keep myself really organized because I still work full-time, so the time that I’m not at work and can devote to the studio needs to be focused. So I’ll schedule out my week and really buckle down most evenings, but give myself a night off that I can relax, enjoy what I am able to accomplish, and give myself the much needed rest so I can get back to it.
Twitter or Instagram?
Whats your favorite podcast?
Oh! There are so many that I listen to and for so many moods. An always favorite is Buffering the Vampire Slayer. They watch one episode at a time of Buffy and discuss the episode in length complete with jingles, fashion watches, and sexual tension awards. It’s so fun!
Another is Art History Babes. I went to art school and had my fair share of art history classes in dark rooms that are a little too warm with a lecturer that breathes a little too heavy. These women talk about art history with as much fervor and enthusiasm as your bestie talks about their crush.
My process involves a running list of potential titles that are sourced from things that I wish I had said, things that I don’t think I’m cool enough to actually say, or parts of fabricated conversation.
– Caitlin Peck