Artist Spotlight: Cat Coquillette
Sojourning through exotic lands to create her timeless artworks, Cat Coquillette presents a vivid burst of perfectly aligned colors in her work. With a fascinating tale to tell, Coquillette’s illustrations stand out as a dazzling addition to our online gallery. Our customers cherish her bright and bold nature-themed designs, which are incorporated into various wall art pieces.
In this interview, Coquillette takes us for a ride through her own unique artistic journey. She opens up about her travel experiences, her animal companions, and what it means to be a self-proclaimed “digital nomad”.
Travel seems to be the most important companion of your creative process. How do you capture your travel exploits in your art?
"I live as a 'digital nomad', meaning that I run my business remotely as I travel the world. Instead of one permanent home, I hop from country to country every few weeks or months. Travel has become my primary inspiration for the artwork I create. I carry my art supplies with me wherever I travel, so I can create whenever inspiration strikes. I snap photos of the interesting things I encounter around the globe, then use the photos as references for my paintings. Because of this, each of my paintings holds a special memory for me – my alpacas watercolor is more than just a set of six cute alpacas; to me, it’s a memory of my trip to Peru with my family when we hiked up to Machu Picchu."
Alpacas by Cat Coquillette
Traveling memories from Peru captured in frame.
How do you integrate your artwork into your own home or studio? What’s hanging on your walls?
"Because I’m always on the move, all my housing is temporary, so it’s a challenge to create an ideal studio for myself. However, if I’m staying in an AirBNB or apartment for a month or more, I’ll take the time to make my space feel more 'homey'. I string up twinkle lights, pin my recent paintings to the walls, and buy local art from nearby markets and galleries."
One of Cat's many studios.
Clearly not intimidated by bold hues, see her colorful collection here.
Your illustrations reflect a freshness in nature. Tell us how your paintbrush does that magic.
"A good chunk of my portfolio contains paintings of lush foliage, tropical plants, flowers, and leaves. I predominantly paint with watercolor, but I use it in a non-traditional method. Instead of painting on damp paper and allowing pigments to blend together, I keep my paper bone-dry and isolate areas of paint with borders of whitespace so that nothing bleeds together. I’ll dip different pigments into each area of paint to create a dynamic and interesting palette. A leaf isn’t just green – it’s also got shades of yellow, red, and blue swirling together."
Fern Leaf by Cat Coquillette
Click the link above to see the finished version!
What makes motifs and repetitions a recurrent theme in your illustrations?
"Painting by hand is only a small part of my artistic process. I scan all of my watercolor paintings into the computer to play with a variety of color palettes so that one painting can turn into a dozen color palette options. I also duplicate and rearrange elements within my paintings so I can turn them into patterns. This means that one watercolor painting of a hibiscus blossom suddenly expands into twenty or so different pieces with a range of color palettes, compositions, and patterns."
Tropical Gold by Cat Coquillette
Add a dash of elegance from this golden pattern.
Your work unleashes such a fun color pop. What’s your process for choosing a color palette?
"I do a lot of trend forecasting for selecting color palettes. Each year, Pantone chooses a Color of the Year, which influences just about every industry out there. New York Fashion Week publishes trend reports that determine the upcoming season’s most influential color trends. I also keep an eye on hues that my favorite brands are incorporating into their new products, whether they’re in the realm of fashion, home decor, art, products, and more."
Blooming Orchid by Cat Coquillette
Coquillette’s color play looks all the more exuberant when enlarged to a tapestry.
Do you want your work to evoke a particular emotion or message?
"When I share my artwork on social media (IG: @catcoq), I include detailed stories of my travels and the inspiration behind each piece. My aim is to capture and share the beauty and my reverence for the natural world to those who see my work on a daily basis. I’ve painted foliage from the jungles of Vietnam, exotic birds from Central America, endangered animals from Southeast Asia, and constellations from my hometown in Kansas. I want to inspire people to channel their natural curiosity by expanding their horizons in order to gain a deeper understanding of our world. "
Get The Look - Shop Cat Coquillette's collection here!