Kathy Lloyd is an Indiana-based artist who makes an unusual kind of art: denim collages. Using scraps of denim leftover from her hobby of repurposing clothes, Kathy began to make detailed collages of celebrities and landscapes alike. In addition to making and selling her art, she’s also a mom, works at a hospital, and is an art therapist. We originally met Kathy at a RAW art show, and met up with her again to talk more about her art.
JB: What is your background, and what made you want to be an artist?
KK: I have always been into art, every since I could hold a pencil. I have a degree in art, and I went to Marian University right here in town. My degree is actually in interior design but I had to take all the art classes anyway. After I graduated I found it kind of hard to get into the interior design field. So life happens, and I just kind of took jobs and the arts got pushed aside. Now in the last fifteen years, I decided to pick up a paintbrush again and get back into art. I’ve done several murals for different facilities, schools, and assisted living centers. And about a year ago I started repurposing clothes because I got tired of looking for things that were different, it was kind of for myself. I use a lot of denim in my upcycled clothing, and I found I had a lot of leftover denim I wasn’t using for my clothes. I started using that denim to make art, and that’s where I branched off into the collage work with the denim. I’ve always liked monochromatic stuff, so that’s been really fascinating to me.
JB: What’s it like being an artist in Indianapolis?
KK: I think it is an art centered place here. I just recently went to San Diego and saw a lot of galleries down there. Indianapolis is every bit as artsy if you want to call it that, I think. I’m only just beginning to discover what’s here. I think it’s exciting!
JB: What’s the process of making a new denim collage like?
KK: I’m pretty fast actually, and generally when I start working on a project I’m on it until it’s finished. I don’t drag it out for weeks because I don’t like that. I see if I can think of some kind of situation, or maybe a photo or a person that would be interesting and I start from there. It’s even hard for me to know where to start. I always just start in the background and move my way forward. And I sketch it out before I start laying the collage.
JB: I’ve noticed you’ve made a lot of portraits of people. What inspired this?
KK: When I’m thinking of something to make, I’m looking for a lot of shadow and a lot of variants in the color. Something that’s all just whites would not be as interesting. I have done a lot of people for this reason and because I think they’re interesting, but I’m getting ready to start a lot of landscape stuff. I’m interested in a lot of industrial and post-industrial old factories and things like that. I find that fascinating and I hope to make more pieces of art reflecting that.
JB: What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve made?
KK: I have a denim collage that I did of Ray Charles. I think that’s everybody’s favorite. It has so much character and personality and it just turned out so commercial, which is what I was kind of going for. And now that piece of art has been sold!
JB: What are your goals for the future?
KK: Right now I work in a hospital. My goal is to not work in the hospital and be a full time artist. A couple nights a week I work doing art therapy for an autistic young man. He’s 17 and he’s non verbal. We do art and painting, and we’ve tried to build an art career for him. Working with him has shown me, too, that there are just so many possibilities to have a job involving art. My goal for him is to help him find some ways to make a living. I’ve been working with him for three and a half years and we’ve had several gallery shows and have done pretty well.
JB: What’s your advice to young artists?
KK: Just keep going forward. I had a huge break where I didn’t really do any art. But I have a lot of talent and I just decided I wasn’t going to put it aside anymore. I have two jobs, I drive an hour each way, and I have five kids at home. You just have to make time.
You can follow Kathy’s work on Facebook.