Welcome to the second installation of our relatively new feature “3 of Me,” where we ask one of our favorite self-portrait artists to share 3 of their selfies and answer 3 questions. You may recall our first feature showcased the fabulous instant photos of Leanne Surfleet. Today I am thrilled to share Kit Kite and her mobile self-portraits with you. I discovered Kit’s unique images on Instagram last year and instantly fell in love with her work, which on its face is whimsical and quirky, but if you read on you will find it emanates from a very personal journey. If you are looking for something different, a true artist, look no further…just read below and then go check out the rest of her work on Instagram. It was a true pleasure to put this post together with her, and I hope you enjoy your peek into the world of Kit Kite and “The X Housewife Portraits.”
1. How long have you been taking self-portraits, and please tell us, how did you come up with the concept of “The X Housewife Portraits”? Your use of everyday inanimate objects as masks and wearable pieces of art is unique and inspiring…what is your vision behind this series?
My interest in self-portraiture through and with inanimate objects began about three years ago, when my life as a wife and stay at home mother came to an end. As a painter and installation artist, I began to create and build out through the process; painting a heavy narrative of highly illustrated and congested images on large boards, as well as sewing plush organ like shapes and mounting them to metal. Within this process, I was drawn to the abrupt, and the unification of opposite materials. Feeling so much like a contrasting idea myself I was forever changed, yet still stuck in the banality of the everyday that I had always known. The strong overriding thoughts and questions of home or what a “house” was, and my slowly slipping grip on “wife”, marriage, family and relationship left me with only the raw winding mechanics of its past idea grinding ahead of me.
Without intent, I subconsciously gravitated toward everyday inanimate objects and simultaneously was fascinated by mirrors and the repeated imagery of one’s facial features found in beveled glass–as I, too, felt at that time like several different people in the same. It’s odd to admit, but one day while drinking water from a glass, the same glass I had drunk from a lifetime before, I looked at it for the first time and suddenly felt less real than the water’s cup. This glass, the books, the chairs, the rug had never changed, but always remained the same fixed objects and were being used in the same way as before, while I was not. These objects would never be changed and (if they thought at all) would always be certain of what they were. I saw who I was as less real than ever and felt myself melting into the background, as the well-known objects around me seemed more and more defined.
I attempted to write out my observations through a series of short stories called “The Suburban Screen”. But instead, I began shooting photos, depicting myself as the prop and the familiar everyday objects as the posing figures in the setting of a self-portrait study and series titled “The X Housewife Portraits.” Relating to my physical surroundings helped me in this way. When I hardly knew how to relate to my own internal terrain, I now seemed overthrown by existing forms and their functions, the repeated shapes and solid objects around me, and finding and loving the unfamiliar found in familiar tools of my everyday.
2. I understand that all of your self-portraits are taken with your iPhone. Do you have any favorite apps or processing tips that you can share with our community? And how has the ability to share on Instagram influenced your work?
The process is a fairly simple one. In the beginning I only ever used the Instagram filters for effects and the app Frametastic, because it was free and a simple way to edit, frame out, or create a mosaic. I’ve recently started using the app Vintique, which has more filter range and tint options allowing me to create more color in the series. I shoot all the photos in my bathroom. I have found the direct lighting there to be useful. I’ve never used a self-timer, but instead prefer to shoot hand-held. As a result my right hand is never found in the photos–my left is always depicted. I shoot into a beveled mirror which sometimes doubles as an effect, extending my neck or repeating my hand and/or shoulders.
Instagram has been an instrumental part in developing The X Housewife Portraits from a concept to a fully fleshed out idea. In the beginning I worked out of Instagram like one might work out of a sketch book; evolving the idea as I did, but with one great exception–having a participating audience of supportive IG followers and IG galleries such as Mobile Artistry and IG Artistry Features that continue to encourage me and ask questions. This has helped me stay consistent with the project and ultimately define it.
3. What inspires you? I’m curious to know how you come up with each item to pose with in your self-portraits. I also wonder…how long does it take from concept to photo shoot–especially when you are posing with masses of coffee stir sticks, aluminum cans or Dixie cups?!
I’m inspired by nearly everything, but more specifically in the series The X Housewife Portraits I’m drawn to household devices, discarded or overlooked materials, containers, cans, bottles and just about any inanimate object in the rooms of my house’s reach. Some of the constructed installations, such as the coffee stirs or Dixie cup masks, were more involved and can take anywhere from an evening to two or three days to build. Other concepts are as simple as collecting vases or chairs around the house and shooting myself along with them. Choosing and editing the photos takes me about an hour or so. It’s a process I really love and do primarily in the evening when my children are in bed.
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Kit, thank you SO much for joining us here today. Your unique style is so fantastic, I look forward to seeing more and more of your work! And now it’s my turn to share three of my favorites from your gallery of selfies. I spent a long time looking through your Instagram photo stream to choose, so here goes…
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Kit Kite lives in Nashville, Tennessee and is planning a collaborative project to shoot The X Housewife Portraits on film in the next few months for display on a website and in a gallery show in the summer of 2013. She also continues to work on an exhibition she started nearly 3 years ago titled “Home Spun Bombs”–a series of projectile paintings, a twenty plush missile installation and a giant and most untraditional quilt. Home Spun Bombs (like The X Housewife Portraits) depicts and asks the question “what is home?” and explores the differences and definitions of external house versus internal home and the objects (and their uses) found in the displacement of one’s own physical surroundings. You can find more of Kit Kite and The X Housewife Portraits on Instagram as @kitkite.
If you would like to be considered for a “3 of Me” feature, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here.
Until next time!
Christy | Urban Muser