Artistic expression runs deep in the marrow of her bones, her hips speak a language of fluid lines born from charcoal and ink, etched into the blank vastness of fibrous pulp. She is 34 year-old Australian Artist, Kat Bak – and with pencil in hand – her visual art is creating a narrative of its own.
Bak’s artworks are a dreamlike feast of tasty simplicity and minimalist lines. With a focus on abstract elements of the human body, in particular, the female form – her thought provoking drawings embody raw feminine beauty and abstract eroticism in its purest state of being. Through paper, pens and charcoal, the Melbourne born artist encapsulates her life journey as she navigates her way through womanhood.
“In today’s society we can be so focused on appearances and when we strip back we are all essentially made up of the same thing. I like to look beyond what we see, and draw the things we may not focus on. Beautiful shapes and lines, all the things that form our complex bodies” Says Bak.
Bak’s drawings speak of self-discovery through her own life experiences and the growth not only of herself as a woman, but the collective evolution of womankind.
“It has been really beautiful and at times wonderfully overwhelming connecting with other women through my art and I find it fascinating how we collectively experience similarities as we grow.”
From a young age, Bak loved drawing, and with a grandmother who was a painter herself, art was in her blood from birth. Her home life nurtured her artistic pull and allowed her to thrive.
“My Nonna always encouraged me to paint and draw, constantly saying ‘My Katerina, you are going to be a great artist.’ I remember always being deeply involved in her art history books as a child.”
Bak’s highschool art teacher had a strong belief in the young artist’s talents and allowed her the time and space to be creatively free. “I believe this encouragement and belief in me paved the way to my love of art and art history.”
Having studied in the fields of Visual Art, Graphic Design and Clothing and Textile Production, Bak’s next academic venture is to study Arts History in Europe.
“I personally love learning but I do not think it is essential to define how good you are at something. There is something really beautiful about teaching yourself what you are drawn to. My work naturally comes from a raw honest place. I have found that I have had to un-learn a lot in my art to get back to this place.”
Bak has spent years developing her works and learning to have acceptance in her style and creative process – learning to embrace all elements of her creativity. Her morning ritual usually involves a small meditation, coffee and drawing in bed.
“I wake up next to books and paper and pens sprawled out amongst my sheets as though they were a lover I share my bed with.”
Drawing things that ignite inspiration, Bak chooses certain shapes and lines that excite her. Sometimes nailing it the first go while other times drawing the same thing over and over with a slight point of difference.
“I really enjoy this journey as I can end up somewhere totally different and abstract to where I began. My concepts develop in response to something I feel or witness, I have learnt instead of reacting physically to certain things. I now invest that energy into my art, as though there is an undercurrent that I have to investigate and present the answers within my art.”
The artist describes her own personal style as ‘creative, colourful chaos’ and favours to wear the colour green for cool and calm, and red for strength and power.
In the coastal town of Byron Bay, where she now resides, Bak has started an initiative at The Byron Bay Service Denim Store called ‘Side Seam’ – a curated space that gives local, established and up-and-coming artists a platform to exhibit their works and gain exposure. Bak also runs a weekly life drawing session called ‘Drop in Life Drawing’ which features live music and allows artists to do just that, ‘drop in’ to themselves and their creativity.
With solo and group exhibitions in the works for later in the year, Bak continues her dance with artistic mediums. Her daily mantra being to “draw, listen to good tunes, be inspired, be present, be grateful and boogie.”