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Faith Under The Microscope: My chat with artist Kat Cardy

In this edition of Faith Under the Microscope, we speak with artist Kat Cardy. Kat specialises in comics and animal art, which is why I am thrilled to have her working on The Reverend Vet Comics! Join us as we discuss faith, where Kat's passion for art came from and much more.

Getting the faith question out of the way early: does faith or spirituality of any kind play any part in your day-to-day life?

Sure, I wouldn't say I'm religious, per se, but I'm very interested in spirituality more generally. I meditate every day (I actually have my own meditation circle over on the Insight Timer app!) and like to learn from different religions... Buddhism has been of particular interest to me recently, but I think there's a world of wisdom to be found in all the world's faith traditions.

Your Twitter profile lists describe you as a “Rainbow Shepherd” and a “Plant & Mushroom Momma”… I’ll bite: tell me more?!

Haha! Well... I guess "Rainbow Shepherd" has a couple of reasons to me, firstly I'm kind of obsessed with rainbows and bright colours generally... the way I like to paint sometimes it's almost like I'm herding up colours, or letting them run loose across the canvas.

Secondly, where I live in Pontypridd, South Wales is a VERY good spot for rainbow spotting! I'm always snapping pictures of them to share with my followers when I see them about.. they really brighten my day!

"Plant and Mushroom Momma" reflects a recent obsession I've had for growing things in general but particularly edibles, without much of a garden. I got bitten by the Permaculture bug and suddenly decided I had to try to grow as much food as I could (despite having no space!). Between pea-shoots & other micro-greens on my window-sills, strawberries and kale in hanging planters from my downpipe and various types of mushrooms in my kitchen and landing, I was doing pretty well! I'm on to a new obsession now though, as I am currently adopting a dog and will have to adjust my profile to reflect as soon as it's official!

Rainbow spotting is South Wales
Katsuko Afalon

You're called Kat. You’ve worked on Thundercat’s comics. And you’re the artist behind Poppy the Cat on The Reverend Vet Comic…. so, cats or dogs?

Both! Absolutely. Every time, without question.. they're both so wonderful in their own ways that I really couldn't pick. - I may be a in a more "doggy" zone currently on account of the new rescue pup, but I had a cat in my family growing up who I loved like a brother and I'm a huge fan of cats generally (especially lions and tigers!).

I've included a picture of my Lion avatar "Afalon", who I think illustrates the Rainbow & Cat obsession nicely!

As an environmentalist, do you think we’re heading in the right direction yet? Or does humanity still need to make a shift?

While I think we've made some progress and raised awareness levels massively in recent years I personally think we have a huge way to go. Learning about Permaculture recently really opened my eyes to how we really need to shift our thinking at almost every level in society to a more wholistic management / and local economy framework based on more circular production cycles etc, which is amazing to read about but it's tricky to visualise just how that can happen when our society and economy is so locked into "business as usual" / "growth at all costs" thinking. I think sadly, a lot of folks are still holding out for some wonder technology to save us at the last minute, which I really don't think is the best way to tackle the dire situation we all face.

When did you first start drawing? Do you still have any of your really early artwork?

I've always drawn, for as long as I can remember! My Mum loves to tell folks how she would often find little mushrooms drawn on the walls or butterflies and such inside the draws... one bedroom I totally covered in art all over the walls (some in permanent pen which had to be wall-papered over!) ..oops! I guess I've just always been called to capture the creatures and faces and such I see in the world which most people seem to miss. I was pretty much always drawing or writing stories about strange critters, and yes I do still have some of the old stuff, I've included some choice examples below (from the early 90's at a guess, I would have been around 13 ish?)

When you’re not doing art, what do you do to unwind?

At the moment I'm mostly meditating, walking the dog, running (with the dog), listening or audiobooks or playing video games.

Tell us about your favourite artist…

Hmm, tough call, there are so many greats to choose from, but I don't think anyone has inspired me quite so much as Claire Wendling has over the years. She's a French Comic Author and an amazing artist, I picked up one of her art books in Annecy back in '05 and just fell in love with the diversity of style and subject matter she could render in a choice of ways which looked effortless... from cartoony to realistic and everything in between she seems to be able to do it all and she has an amazing imagination. I really admire her skill and her dedication to her craft.

Being married to another artist, do you and Jason find it hard to find your own creative spaces in your home?

Not really, we're both into quite different things, and fortunately we have a house with ample rooms for us to have our own work spaces. Jas is also a musician so I think he would probably like more room for keyboards and other instruments tho, so perhaps that'll be the next house-project; a music room!

Tell us about Patreon - does it work for you?

Patreon's an amazing platform which enables content creators of all sorts (including artists like me) to provide content to dedicated fans, and it gives fans a way to show their support for the creator's work. I have a small but wonderful team of supporters on there, many of whom have been supporting my work for many years and I'm incredibly grateful for the additional income that this affords, as without it it would be hard to justify spending time on personal work which otherwise wouldn't pay the bills. Both the platform of Patreon, and my beloved patrons have made a huge impact in my life and my creative journey.

What’s next for Kat Cardy? Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline?

I'm kind of in-between projects right now and working out what's next, I'd like to get back into painting, and I'd really like to put a book together.. perhaps an illustrated story or something, writing used to give me such joy in my youth that I feel it's time to dip my toe back into that world again... keep your eyes peeled!

Where to find Kat Cardy

Thanks again to Kat taking part in Faith Under the Microscope!

If you would like to find out more about her brilliant work, you can find her on PatreonTwitter, Instagram and Facebook!

You can also visit Kat's art and other projects on her website.

Posted on August 16th 2021

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