Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Women Who Create Beautiful Things" - Katrina Sloma, The Kat Eye View of the World

I met this talented woman and photographer like many of my friends and fellow bloggers through the Kelly Roberts e-course.  So today, I'd like to share my interviewed  for  "Women Who Create Beautiful Things" series, an artist,  photographer and teacher and a very talented woman, Kat from The Kat Eye View of the World.

Tell me about yourself and how your family ended up living in Italy.

Thanks Diana, for inviting me to join you and do this interview!
Hi everyone, I'm Kat! *big wave*  I'm an artist and my favorite medium right now is photography.  I'm a wife of 18 years, mother to a 9-year-old son and work as an electrical engineer for my day job.  Even though I've spent the last 19 years working as an engineer for a large corporation, I've recently rediscovered, since living in Italy, that I am truly an artist and a teacher in my soul.

Our route to Italy was more like a serendipitous detour than the result of any forethought.  In May 2008, I began leading a project at work that required working with a company here in Italy.  I took my first business trip to the Milan area in June 2008, and something inside me whispered, "You need to be here."  I was a manager at the time, and was planning to hire two engineers who would temporarily reside in Italy as part of this project.  Before that business trip, I hadn't even considered the positions; I had other career plans.   After the trip, the strong feeling of wanting to come live and work in Italy would not go away.  My husband and I talked, did a little research , and we decided to go for it.  I took myself out of the hiring position and applied for the job myself.  In August 2008 I was offered one of the positions.  Another 8 long months of work permit applications, immigration paperwork and the international move, and we arrived in Italy in April 2009.

I smile when I look on your Flicker site and see through your eyes all of the wonderful countries you have visited while living in Italy.  Tell me about your experience from the first time you realized that photography was your passion to where you are now.

To answer your question, I think I also need to tell you a little bit about how I found my passion in the first place, because that is an important part of the creative journey I've been on.  When I got to Italy in April 2009, I was pretty empty personally.  I had just finished leading this successful technical project at work, but I didn't gain as much personal satisfaction as I had expected from that success.  I had also been reevaluating the whole career path that I had been following, since accepting the Italian assignment and moving out of the managerial role.  Up to that point, I had been defining myself through my work, but that was no longer enough.  Something was out of alignment with me internally, yet I didn't know what.  You might call it a mid-life crisis.  :)

I began my time in Italy with a desire to find myself again.  Somewhere in my life story of daughter-student-wife-mother-career I had lost who I was.  Right before moving to Italy, I had picked up a copy of Julia Cameron's, "The Artist's Way" and upon reading it knew that creativity was the right path.  We also started traveling extensively around Italy and Europe. As part of that travel I began visiting art museums, initially as a tourist thing to do, and discovered looking at other artist's work was a fantastic inspiration for me.  I got the urge to paint in bright, bold colors.  I purchased my first set of acrylic paints, not even knowing the right words for everything in Italian!  I hadn't painted since taking watercolor classes in high school.  Looking back now at this early time in Italy (summer 2009), I can see how this was all part of the rebirth of my creativity.  The love of art and creativity has always been inside of me, but had been diminished to a background role for many years.  I hadn't been paying attention!

This leads into my interest in photography.  My skill and interest in photography has been slowly building over the last 10 years.  I purchased my first 35mm SLR camera in 2000 after I had been scrapbooking for a couple of years.  I didn't discover photography as a true passion, however, until after this creative rebirth period during our time in Italy.  Between all of the wonderful places I was capturing with my camera during our travels, my immersion in the creative process and regular writing in my journal and on my blog, the artist in me emerged.

 It is powerful and exciting to be aware of this love of art, creativity and photography now and to own it as part of my core identity.  I would love for others to have this same experience.  I wrote a series on my blog called Lessons from Abroad, taking some of the lessons I've learned and making them useful to other people -- without having to move internationally like I did.

Since taking the Kelly Rae Roberts e-course, how has that affected your dreams and goals as a photographer. 

Kellie Rae's class opened my eyes to a lot of great ideas!  She confirmed what I was already feeling -- you have to follow your heart and be yourself in your creative endeavors, or you will not be able to sustain it.  Your efforts need to feed your energy, not drain it.  When you connect to your passion, there is an energy that is born.  The things that you do for that passion do not feel like work, they are fun and fulfilling.

At the beginning, I wasn't sure if her course would apply to me since I had no desire to sell my art.  I discovered so much of here information applies regardless of your creative endeavor.  I wanted to help people reconnect with their creativity, since that has been such an amazing experience for me.  Her course helped me to define and refine the direction I wanted to go -- teaching online, sharing my love of photography and the whole creative process.

A couple of direct outcomes of her course are the Exploring with a Camera series I write on my blog, as well as the first e-course I delivered early this year.  There are many more things to come, I can see myself going back to Kellie Rae's course material again and again.

I noticed you gave your first e-course recently.  Tell me about that experience.  How would it help someone like me? 

Teaching my first e-course, Find Your Eye: A photo course with heart and soul, was a wonderful experience!  The course idea started out of my personal experiences, to help others learn what I've learned on my photographic and creative journey.  I wanted to help people connect to the reasons they started picking up a camera in the first place -- the thrill of a photo that connects to your heart and soul.

The reality of teaching the course was surprising.  I learned so much from my students and it was exciting to see them connect with my process.  My love of creating and teaching this class showed me that I am on the right track creatively.  Continuing to develop and teach on line courses is definitely my future direction.

As for how it would help someone like you, I have some great ideas!  I am actually going to split the content into two unique parts:  A digital photography basics course, which is perfect if you are new to digital photography, and a "Find Your Eye" course series.  The part that is closest to my heart is the "Find Your Eye" process.  This series of courses is for anyone who wants to deepen the connection of their heart and soul with their photography, or really any art form.  I believe you "Find Your Eye" when you learn to express yourself with confidence in your art, not following someone else's formula for success.  My process helps people to recognize, internalize and "own" their unique style.  There is nothing better to build your confidence as an artist!

I think that the "Find Your Eye" process would work for any art medium, and I would love to have some other artists join me in the course and try it out!  I am planning to offer the newly revised courses starting in July 2011.  I have so much fun teaching these, I can hardly wait.

Tell me about Mortal Muses.

I'm so glad you asked about Mortal Muses!  It is such a great participative and collaborative photography site started by Tammy Lee Bradley.  I am one of nine regular contributors called "muses".  Each day, one of the muses writes a post on the current theme, pairing one of their images with a photo from another photographer who submitted to our Flicker pool.  Every 9 days we change the theme, and everyone is welcome to submit their images and has the opportunity to be featured.  And it is fun to be featured, isn't it?

I love that there are nine of us, each with unique styles, involved in this project.  Since we are all different people and artists, there are nine perspectives on one theme.  Having nine people choosing the photos to feature ensures a wide range of photographers and styles are featured.  

I encourage everyone to join in with us.  You never know when you might get featured, but you have to participate first!  I was asked to join after being a regular participant, so there are other potential benefits of participation as well. 

What are your plans for the future as a photographer when you return to the states?

 We return in July of this year.  We are so close to the end I am sad to be leaving, but also excited for what comes next.  I will definitely continue regular posts on my blog.  Writing and sharing photos has become a key part of my creative process.  I will be starting up my e-courses in full force again in July.  I already have my course schedule planned out through the last half of 2011 and will be working on creating some new courses.

Of course, I will also continue my own photography practice, that's a must to stay creative!  I already know I will have to search out new subjects and places to photograph, since I won't have the rich history and texture of Europe on the other side of my camera lens.  I am starting to plan to sell some of my photographs online -- I love the idea of my images brightening someone's day as a postcard or hanging on the wall.

I look forward to rediscovering my experience of Italy through a serious review of the photos I've taken in the last two years.  I'm sure that I'll learn even more about myself, my art and my creativity through both review of my photos and moving back to my home in Oregon.  You will get to follow along, as I write on my blog.  It should be interesting!

Thank you Kat for sharing your story with us.  I'm sure a lot of other readers will enjoy it as much as I did.  If your interested in how Kat and I first connected, check out her blog today!


Kat Sloma said...

Thanks so much Diana! It was a fun experience to be interviewed by you. And I LOVE the painting you did of my son!

Barbara said...

So fun to read this, Kat! I totally enjoyed it!

urban muser said...

This was such a great interview--Kat I learned a lot more about you!

sonyamacdesigns said...

lots going on in the life of Kat ... Thanks for the Sunday Interviews Diana ... It is something to look forward to!

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

Great interview Diana! So nice to meet Kat. My goodness... these images are amazing. It is a dream of mine to see Italy. What a wonderful journey!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this interview, Kat, and seeing again, some of the wonderful photographs you've taken on your journey. Diana, your painting of Kat's son is fabulous!

Elizabeth said...

Diana, you did a great job on this interview..So happy to get to know more of Kat. She was one of the first flyers who connected with me because of our careers. I am also an engineer who loves making art. Thanks to you and Kat, I enjoyed it so much...Very interesting, indeed...I should take one of those photigraphy ecourses...and this will help me to post better pictureson my blog..Hugs!!

Holly said...

Wonderful interview and great to learn so many new things about Kat! Just love your perspective and your thoughts! Thank you : )

Kelly Berkey said...

Fun read! I'd love to take a job in Italy for a few years.
Katrina, your photography and personality are beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story;-)

Cindy said...

Nice to meet Kat, and I loved the pictures throughout the article...I am going to get my husband to read this, because he too is an engineer - and tho' he would have told you 20 years ago that he was not artistic in the least, he now has discovered that part of himself...sometimes he even surprises me with what emerges!

Thanks for sharing again...

Kirstin said...

What a wonderful interview! It was truly lovely to read more about Kat discovering her creative side.

Veronika said...

Cat is one of my favourite photographers in blogging world, her photos are stunning and always tell a story. I'm so happy she's found her true calling, with her passion and hard work I know she will prosper :)

patty said...

Wow, Kat, I learned things I did not know from reading your blog. I had no idea that you had a "day job". Boggles my mind how you do all that you do!!

We have something (else!) in common. Reading The Artists Way was also the beginning of my creative journey 10 years ago. Life has not been the same since!

Thanks for sharing all of this. Diana, I have not read your blog before, but will check it out. I am a fellow flyer.

Anna said...

Kat, loved reading about your life and aspirations. You have so much to offer! Wishing you a wonderful transition back to the states.

Artist Terri Smith said...

Thank You Kat For Sharing With The World Your Beautiful Work! An Exceptional Interview! Thank You Diana For Opening Us Up To Such Exciting People & Places. These Interviews Make My Entire Week! You Have No Idea How I Look Forward To Them!