In the Studio with Kitty Rice

In the studio with Kitty Rice, visual artist whose works are inspired by Edward James' Surreal Folly in the state of San Luis Potosi. We met with Kitty to tell us more about growing up in a family with lots of women, her greatest influences, and unexpected sources of inspiration.

When did you first begin to see yourself as an artist?

I’ve always felt like an artist, since being a child. I used to pretend I was ill for school so I could stay in bed drawing and I always loved playing exquisite corpses.

Where are you from and what was your upbringing like?

 I grew up in a family with lots of women, in a pretty idyllic rural life. My older sister and I had a lot of time and space to develop creatively. We used to imagine being adults, holding our dolls and pretending to smoke cigarettes in our thatched gypsy caravan. 

Paint us a picture of your artistic journey. What inspired you to first pursue, and then continue to practice artistic work? 

I was taught to paint as a child, so art has always been something I’ve done. I studied illustration and then moved to Mexico City where I was very influenced by the european, female surrealist painters. I suddenly felt I could paint more imaginatively, especially being so far from familiarity and in a totally different surrounding of light and colour.

What’s the message of your work? Where do they come from? 

I’m interested in asking questions about femininity and memory. I am haunted by images of my childhood, imagining an adult world of womanhood through a playful visual world of innocent imagery.

Who & what are your greatest influences?  

Marlene Dumas,  Lisa Brice, Tracey Emin and Leonora Carrington. 

An unexpected source of inspiration?

VHS stills and toy packaging. Olivia Laing’s ideas on Freedom and the female body. 

What do you want people to take from your work when they view it?

They’re for me, to ask questions to. When people connect, I know I’ve answered some of my questions well.

What events in your life have mobilized change in your practice?

I just completed a post-grad programme at The Royal Drawing school which really encouraged me to adopt multiple approaches and experiment more. 

What are your ideal conditions or catalyst for creating a “good” piece of work?

I am looking for images ; either in my head, through sketches, in front of me in 3D or from a still image. Once I have decide on an idea, I consider the composition, medium and scale. I think about washy pixels , quite photographically, which make up an image and then paint either loosely or very tightly rendered. 

Tell us the inspiration behind your works?

I recently became re-obsessed by a film called Bad Girls which I watched a lot as a child. 

The imagery of the cowgirls reminded me of the longing I had as a girl to become a woman.

Something in the future you hope to explore?

I am interested in painting femininity in varying cultures, to be able to compare the differences and decipher the universalities.