We had the good fortune of connecting with Kat Hoelck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kat, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Facing rejection is a major life skill. In building anything there will be a series of false rejections– they are only fatal blows if you don’t get back up.
Its evolutionary biology to want to seek the approval of others, we are hard-wired to fear rejection. But, but it’s a certain way to lose your edge if you let someone else’s vision of you dampen on your drive.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My late brother Jonathan Waiter used to say that he determined how ‘good’ an artwork was by how many times we wanted to look at it again. Art should make you feel something. I like this idea, that art is a tool that moves the spirit and massages the brain.
Beyond visual art, I am invested in the systems of production and destruction in design. I worked as a commercial fashion designer in NYC for years and saw first hand how shallow most approaches are. Design is more than aesthetics– the way something looks might impact culture, push change in that way. Beyond that, a tangible object is the result of a series of choices from fiber to fabric to human labor to ecological impact and cultural change. I use visual art as a vehicle for larger messaging, to push the needle forward on systems change.
I call this the intersection of Ethics & Aesthetics, where the work is nuanced and intersectional and simultaneously visually engaging. I lecture at my alma mater, Parsons School for Design, about sustainable practices within the fashion industry and I creative direct projects that are impact-driven.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My idea of a good time is a city walk, watching the landscape morph with every block passed. When you are strolling with someone, you get to share all these little pockets of experience. I could do without the summer stench that creeps in around the city’s corners (iykyk), but I otherwise love being immersed in all of the textures of Manhattan. It’s really intimate and invigorating. It’s almost like, at the end of the day, you’re recalling a movie but the movie was your life. It’s almost like you form a bubble of your own company, bearing witness to the same soundtrack of whoever you’re sharing the walk with. Plus, fresh air hits different post-covid quarantines. Walks are great.
I love this town; check it out and support local businesses.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am made from the love and investments of so many people, you know who you are. My role as mother to my little boy is one of the most transcendent and clarifying aspects of my life. It is magical to see the world through his eyes.
All images credit Kathleen Hoelck